We've got something for all to enjoy this weekend in Chicago. From ballet performances to the city's largest beer festival to building kites in Lincoln Park. You can also join Chicago in celebrating Buckingham Fountain's 90th birthday in Grant Park. Not only that, there's a bunch of Cinco de Mayo and Kentucky Derby specials that you can't miss, not to mention a new brunch offering kicks off. It's time to make weekend plans in Chicago.
Ballet Chicago's Platinum Anniversary
May 6 // $25+
Platinum Anniversary will celebrate the Ballet Chicago Studio Company's 20th Anniversary with a program featuring a World Premiere by renowned Chicago-based choreographer Frank Chaves set to original music composed by Josephine Lee, president and artistic director of Chicago Children's Choir, and performed live by Lee and cellist Meena Cho. Performances will be shown at 2 and 7:30 p.m. at the Harris Theater for Music and Dance (205 E. Randolph Drive).
See more May dance highlights on the calendar.
Switch on Summer at Buckingham Fountain
May 6 // FREE
All ages are encouraged to join ComEd and the Chicago Park District to Switch On Summer from 4-7 p.m. and celebrate the Buckingham Fountain's 90th birthday! Now in its third year, the annual event will feature more than a dozen of Chicagoland's most beloved organizations, including the Shedd Aquarium and Brookfield Zoo, to help the city spring into summer with the official season-changing signal — turning on of the Buckingham Fountain. The festivities will include free giveaways, family-friendly activities, and live entertainment from American English.
Chicago Beer Classic
May 6 // Starts at $55
Chicago Beer Classic is the city's largest beer festival, celebrating over 100 unique beers on the grass of Soldier Field. Draft your perfect lineup of beers and cheers to the huge variety, including upcoming and undiscovered Chicago favorites. It's the summer kick-off you don't need game-day tickets to enjoy.
Check the Chicago craft beer calendar for more upcoming beer festivals, tasting events and brews cruises.
Chicago Kids and Kites Festival
May 6 // FREE
Join the 19th annual Chicago Kids and Kites Festival held in Lincoln Park. All new this year, the Windjammers International Kite Team will thrill the crowd with their synchronized kite flying maneuvers, and once again, the City of Chicago will provide kite kits for children to build, decorate and fly, while supplies last. Also check out the Big Kite Candy Drop - a piñata-like kite filled with candies that drop from the sky and other activities such as face painting, balloon artists and crafts.
Find more freebie picks for the whole month of May.
Polish Constitution Day Parade
May 6 // FREE
This 126th Chicago parade is in honor of the first democratic constitution in Europe and second in the world only to the United States Constitution. Every year the parade gathers thousands of people devoted to Polonia and Poland. Polish values, history, traditions and culture will be presented by the participants of this biggest outside Poland parade.
Tallboy Taco launches their new Mexican-inspired spread right on the heels of Cinco de Mayo. The new weekly Saturday brunch (from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m) will offer breakfast tacos with countless filling options, a variety of unique brunch cocktails, old-fashioned churro donuts, banana french toast and more. And when the weather's right, you can also enjoy the brunch al fresco on their patio in the heart of River North.
Cinco de Mayo Roundup
Head to the Cinco de Mayo Piñata Parties at Lincoln Park Zoo from 1:30 to 3:30 p.m. on May 5 to build creative items for the zoo's animals! All ages are welcome to help create edible piñatas, willow balls, and other craft items for animal enrichment. Visitors can see similar enrichment masterpieces in action in various exhibits throughout the zoo. Cost: $5 per person or $18 family pack (admits 4-6 people).
Celebrate Cinco de Mayo in style with one of the best rooftop views in Chicago at Drumbar from 5:00pm to 2:00am and enjoy happy hour cocktail/drink specials and live music by local Mexican band, Karma Wears White Ties. Drink specials will include $8 classic margaritas, $8 featured cocktails (made with Cabrito Blanco tequila, jalapeño, blackberry and lemongrass) and $5 beer and shot combos (El Gose beer and Cabrito Blanco tequila).
Party it up indoors at Carnivale, where every day is a celebration of Latin food and culture, but the specials heat up for the holiday with $3 tacos at lunch, and drinks such as the Mayahuel ($16) with Avión Anejo tequila, Grand Marnier, fresh lime, agave nectar, orange bitters; the Hibiscus Margarita and Cucumber Margarita (both $12); and Avión Tequila Flights ($20).
Robert's Pizza Company is putting a unique twist on traditional Mexican flavors for Cinco de Mayo with $6 margaritas, carne asada pizzas ($25) and paloma cocktails ($12).
Or head to the home of Chicago-style deep dish where Gino's East will be serving up Deep Dish Nachos! Get two Margaritas and an order of Deep Dish Nachos for $20 at participating downtown locations.
Cinco de Mayo Parade
May 7 // FREE
The Cinco de Mayo Parade is held to remember the victory the Mexican forces had over the invading French army in the Battle of Puebla on May 5, 1862. The parade takes place at 12 noon in Little Village on Cermak Rd. & Damen Ave. to Marshall Blvd.
Kentucky Derby Parties
Tavern On Rush encourages guests to dress in their favorite southern apparel and don their best Derby Day hats. The restaurant will host a best hat contest with a $500 Tavern on Rush gift card for the 1st place winner and a bottle of Dom Perignon for the 2nd place winner. The prizes will be awarded immediately after the race, which will be shown in the bar with sound. Tavern will also offer daily food specials as well as $5 Mint Juleps all day long.
Catch all the derby action at LUXBAR with HD flatscreen televisions. Guests will enjoy festive cocktails including Jim Beam Bonded Mint Juleps and a best dressed contest. The first place winner will receive a bottle of Old Rip Can Winkle Bourbon. The 2nd runner up with wine a $100 LUXBAR Gift Card.
One more top pick: Beacon Tavern hosts the ‘Run for the Rosés' (May 1-6) where everyone wins! Sip your way from start to finish with a wine flight featuring three Rosés of differing style and varietals. Wines available by the glass for $10, and/or flight of (3) 3oz pours for $13.
Also this weekend, get your tickets! Taste of Chicago concert tickets go on sale Friday for the July music/food fest, and 50% off Flexi tickets for Exhibitionism—The Rolling Stones are on sale through May 14. Plan even further ahead with our Ultimate Guide to Chicago Festivals, which breaks down the biggest events of 2017 by month, or snag the NEW spring/summer Chicago Official Visitors Guide.