August is filled with iconic summer events, from the beloved Chicago Air and Water Show to Windy City Smokeout and beyond. Whether you’re looking to dip your toes in a pool full of sprinkles or simply enjoy many local neighborhood weekend festivals, there’s plenty to do throughout this month of August in Chicago. Please note that all events are subject to change. 

Top events this August

A musician interacts with the crowd at Windy City Smokeout

Party at Windy City Smokeout (Aug. 4 – 7): There’s not a better combination than barbecue and live music, and both come together at this summer favorite event featuring performances from Miranda Lambert, Tim McGraw, Willie Nelson & more.

Celebrate the 40th annual Northalstad Market Days (August 6 – 7): Two days, five stages of live music, and 200+ vendors. Come celebrate the 40th anniversary of this iconic festival in the Northalsted neighborhood. 

Bud Billiken Parade (Aug. 13): This long-standing Chicago tradition, which marches through Bronzeville and Washington Park, is the largest African American parade in the United States.

Pack a picnic and enjoy live music at Millennium Park (through Aug. 18): Millennium Park’s Summer Music Series is back every Monday and Thursday, so pack a blanket, food and drink, and settle in for a variety of musical performances at Jay Pritzker Pavillion. 

Marvel at the Air + Water Show(Aug. 20 – 21): The iconic U.S. Navy Blue Angels and the U.S. Army Parachute Golden Knights are the stars of the show at this annual aerial performance event. 

Enjoy house music at the My House Festival (Aug. 13 – 14): This year’s festival features two days of live house music, food, art performances, and much more in Pilsen.

Listen to Latin alternative at Ruido Festival (Aug. 19 – 21): Ruido Festival heads to Union Park this year, with headliners Cuco, Los Fabulosos Cadillacs, and Cypress Hill.

Chicago Men’s Challenger (Aug. 7 – 14): Grab your courtside seats for this exciting college tennis tournament, held at the 27-court XS Tennis and Education foundation.

Bud Billiken Parade (Aug. 13): This long-standing Chicago tradition, which marches through the historic Bronzeville and Washington Park neighborhoods, is the largest African American parade in the United States.

Embrace the ‘90s at Lincoln Park Zoo (Aug. 18): Lincoln Park Zoo is hosting Adults Night Out  with a fun ’90s theme and a block party atmosphere (minus the kids).

Check out the fireworks at Navy Pier (through August): Step up your summer evenings with a light-filled, fireworks show at Navy Pier. 

More things to do this month

Millennium Park Pritzker Pavilion
Abel Arciniega :: @tequilagraphics

Visit the Art Uncorked (Aug. 4): Lincoln Park is home to a night of local art vendors, including complimentary food and drink samples and free braids from The Braid Junkie. 

Enjoy some Back Alley Jazz (Aug. 6): Head to Hyde Park for live jazz performances inspired by the alley jam sessions that took place in Chicago in the ‘60s.

Brush up on reptile knowledge at the Field Museum(through August): Jurassic Ocean: Monsters of the Deep is the latest exhibit at the Field Museum highlighting marine reptiles, crocodiles, and sharks.

Get your groove on at Dancin’ in the Street (Aug. 5 – 7): The West Town neighborhood, also known as Chicago Brewing District, houses Dancin’ in the Street, a live music and beer festival including a variety of musical performances, and plenty of brews to wash down the fun. 

Shop during Bronzeville Summer Nights (Aug. 12): Now in its 10th year, Bronzeville Summer Nights is an evening dedicated to shopping local in this historic district. 

Chicago International Film Festival’s Summer Screenings (various dates): Enjoy a complimentary film screening from the Chicago International Film Festival at the Chicago Cultural Center every Wednesday. 

Enjoy Retro on Roscoe (Aug. 12 – 14): Head to Roscoe Village for a weekend of live throwback jams across three stages during the summer favorite festival, Retro on Roscoe.

Argyle Night Market (various dates): Sample delicious Asian street food, catch live cultural and musical performances, and hang out in the new alfresco beer garden every Thursday evening in Uptown.

Summer Float Party (Aug. 14): Grab an inner tube and float the Chicago River during this summer float party for a good cause.

Chow down at Ribfest (Aug. 19 – 21): More than 30 vendors and thousands of Chicagoans will be bringing their best meats to North Center’s annual Ribfest event. 

Celebrate the Latinx Music Fest at Navy Pier (Aug. 6): This year is the fifth annual celebration of modern Latin music and art at Navy Pier, highlighting a variety of music, artisan vendors, and more. 

Head to Sundays on State(through August): The iconic State Street in downtown Chicago will close between Lake and Monroe Streets for a family-friendly day of activities, from music, to games, dance, food and drink vendors, and lots more.

Cheer during the Chicago Triathlon (Aug. 27 – 28): Triathlon weekend comes to Chicago for two days, when spectators line the streets to cheer on athletes from around the world.

Sip whiskey at the Summer Whiskey Festival(Aug. 27): Whiskey lovers will get the chance to sample local, international, and premium whiskey varieties at this summer festival. 

Listen to performances at Grant Park Music Fest(through Aug. 20): Classical musical performances take place throughout the month of August at Grant Park with unbeatable skyline views to boot. 

Catch a movie at Gallagher Way (through August): The iconic Music Box Theater and Gallagher Way at Wrigley Field are teaming up for free movie nights, plus food and drink vendors, and plenty of outdoor family fun.

Listen to Sinatra Under the Stars (Aug. 14 and 28): What better way to listen to the tunes of Frank Sinatra than with a classic jazz show on a rooftop in downtown Chicago?

Indulge at the Museum of Ice Cream(through August): Part whimsy, and part delicious, the Museum of Ice Cream features 14 magical installations and the option to sample various sweet treats throughout the museum. 

Check out Printer’s Row Art Fest(Aug. 12 — 14): Art lovers should head to the South Loop and browse everything from art, jewelry, sculptures, and more from a variety of local up-and-coming artists.  

Catch Movies in the Park(through August): The Chicago Park District is showcasing a variety of films, all shown for free is various parks across the city.

Listen to live jazz at the Shedd Aquarium (through August): Every Wednesday in August, catch a live jazz musical performance at the Shedd, with skyline views to boot.

Visit the ‘Art of the Brick’ at the Museum of Science + Industry (through August): You won’t want to miss the world’s largest display of LEGO art featuring works made from over one million lego pieces.

Celebrate summer at Edison Park Fest (Aug. 12 – 14): This year is the 50th anniversary of the Edison Park Fest, bringing together 200,000 Chicagoans to the North Side for a festival filled with kid-friendly activities, live music, food, drink, and more. 

Eat your heart out at the Fried Chicken Festival (Aug. 13 – 14): Is there anything better than sampling Chicago’s best fried chicken in the heart of Lincoln Park? 

Enjoy Taste of Greektown (Aug. 25 – 26): Live music, activities, and Greek food come together for the Taste of Greektown, which highlights various fan-favorite Greek restaurants throughout the neighborhood.

Check out Prince: The Immersive Experience (through August): Enjoy an immersive look and feel of the music and life of Prince, and particularly his Purple Rain album.

Play Pixar Putt at Navy Pier (through August): Enjoy a round (or two) of putt putt mini-golf at this Pixar-themed pop-up featuring 18 holes and plenty of Pixar fun. 

Head to Clark After Dark (Aug. 18): The River North food, drink, and music festival celebrates military service individuals and their families. 

Bask in the beauty of the Immersive Monet Exhibit (through August): Similar to the Immersive Van Gogh + Frida Kahlo exhibit, this new one features immersive pieces from the impressionist artist Monet and is sure to be a feast for the eyes. 

Catch a film at the Rooftop Cinema Club (through August): Fulton Market is home to this new rooftop movie series, complete with popcorn and personal headphones.

Check out chalk art at Chalk Howard Street (Aug. 27): Howard Street in Rogers Park will transform into a creative canvas featuring street artists that will create mind-boggling chalk drawings.

Head to Bucktown for its annual Arts Festival (Aug. 27 – 29): Local artists come together in the Bucktown neighborhood for the annual arts festival, featuring 100+ local artists showcasing their work. 

Watch Art on the Mart (through August): Every night, head to the Chicago Riverwalk for a mesmerizing light show across the exterior of theMART.

Listen to classical music at Thirsty Ears Festival (Aug. 13 –14): Fans of classical music won’t want to miss the seventh annual festival, showcasing seventeen ensembles and soloist performances. 

Sip a glass (or two) at Sangria Festival (Aug. 20 – 21): Sangria lovers will enjoy a festival all their own at Humboldt Park, also featuring live music, a Latin American food tour, paint and sip activities, and more.

Jam out at Sacred Rose Festival (Aug. 26 – 28): Phil Lesh + Friends headlines the Sacred Rose Festival, which celebrates the hippie spirit and Americana, jam, indie, soul, funk, and bluegrass music. 

Visit the Nick Cave Forothermore exhibit (through August): Lifelong Chicago artist Nick Cave’s first ever retrospective will take place at the Museum of Contemporary Art. 

Take a Brick of Chicago Walking Tour (through August): Explore some of Chicago’s most iconic neighborhoods with a specialty walking tour from Brick of Chicago.