Fall in Chicago

Chicago style Year round

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 It’s always a great time to visit Chicago. Each season brings something new, from a magical holiday market in the winter to massive music festivals in the summer, cool architecture events in the fall to the Chicago river dyeing in the spring. Explore things to do and see in Chicago all year long.

Fall

Winter

Spring

Summer

Fall

See Chicago in color

In Chicago, autumn brings gourmet food fests, major art fairs, spooky parades, and groundbreaking architecture exhibits that keep the city buzzing all season long.

Sept

Chicago World Music Festival

Chicago World Music Festival

Hear musical acts from around the world at the annual World Music Festival, the largest and longest-running international music festival in the country.

Sept

Chicago Gourmet

Chicago Gourmet

Mingle with celebrity chefs and try some of Chicago’s best bites at this fine-dining food festival put on by Bon Appétit.

Sept

Hyde Park Jazz Festival

This free, multi-venue fest celebrates the finest in local jazz, plus appearances by national and international acts.

Sept

EXPO Chicago

Check out the latest in contemporary and modern art presented by leading international galleries at Navy Pier.

Sept

Chicago Architecture Biennial

Chicago Architecture Biennial

Explore the largest architecture and design exhibition in North America, occurring every other year throughout Chicago.

Sept

Riot Fest

Riot Fest

This three-day fest is known as a music mecca for all things, alternative, punk, hip-hop, and rock, known for its reunions and full-album performances.

Sept

North Coast Music Festival

North Coast Music Festival

Dance the day (and night) away at this beachfront music festival featuring top electronic acts, DJs, and art installations.

Sept

Reeling Film Festival

Reeling Film Festival

This is the second longest-running film festival of its kind, bringing audiences 10 days of the LGBTQ+ films from around the world.

Oct

Bank of America Chicago Marathon

Get ready to race or cheer from the crowd. One of the six World Marathon Majors, the Chicago Marathon takes runners through 29 neighborhoods.

Oct

Open House Chicago

Get behind-the-scenes access to over 250 Chicago buildings, including many that aren’t typically open to the public, during this free, city-wide architecture fest.

Oct

Historic Pullman House Tour

Historic Pullman House Tour

Tour private homes in the historic Pullman neighborhood, including many century-old landmark buildings.

Oct

Arts in the Dark

Arts in the Dark

This surreal evening parade celebrates Halloween with a procession of fantastical floats, puppets, and performances by local artists from every field.

Oct

Chicago International Film Festival

Chicago International Film Festival

A can’t-miss for film buffs, this is the longest-running international film festival in America, with 12 days of film screenings and events.

Oct

Boo! at the Zoo

Boo! at the Zoo

Head to Brookfield Zoo for a fun-filled weekend of haunted hayrides, a pumpkin patch, a corn maze, pumpkin carving, a creepy carousel, and a costume parade.

Oct

Day of the Dead

Experience an authentic Día de los Muertos with this free celebration at the National Museum of Mexican Art, featuring live music, face painting, art activities, traditional foods, and more.

Nov

SOFA Chicago

This critically acclaimed art fair puts a spotlight on 3D art and sculpture, exploring the boundary between fine art and decorative objects.

Nov

Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony

Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony

Catch this century-old tradition light up Millennium Park, which marks the beginning of the holiday season with the lighting of the city’s official Christmas Tree.

Nov

BMO Harris Bank Magnificent Mile Lights Festival

BMO Harris Bank Magnificent Mile Lights Festival

Two days of free family fun leads up to the annual parade, which illuminates more than one million twinkling lights along one of Chicago’s most iconic streets.

Nov

Thanksgiving Day Parade

Thanksgiving Day Parade

This annual parade is a classic Chicago tradition, featuring marching bands, equestrian acts, ballerinas, giant helium balloons, and a visit from Santa Claus, all along Chicago’s State Street.

Nov

Ice skating at Millennium Park

Ice skating at Millennium Park

Hit the ice for free beneath Cloud Gate, aka “The Bean”, at Millennium Park or wind around the Skating Ribbon at neighboring Maggie Daley Park.

Nov

Christkindlmarket Chicago

Wander a charming German holiday market in Daley Plaza, where you can find mulled wine, baked goods, hand-blown ornaments, artisan woodwork, and more.

Nov

Wreathing of the Lions at the Art Institute of Chicago

Kick off the holidays with a beloved Chicago tradition — adorning the iconic Art Institute lions with giant evergreen wreaths.

Winter

A magical time to visit Chicago

Chicagoans never let a little cold cramp our style. When the temperature dips, the city stays warm with magical parades, holiday markets, culinary celebrations, and more. Check out things to see and do during winter in Chicago.

Dec

ZooLights at Lincoln Park Zoo

ZooLights at Lincoln Park Zoo

Each winter, Chicago’s free zoo is transformed into a Winter Wonderland with over 2.5 million twinkling lights, live ice-sculpting, photo ops with Santa, hot chocolate, and more.

Dec

Caroling at Cloud Gate

Caroling at Cloud Gate

Join in local carolers for this annual holiday singalong under the stunning city skyline and holiday lights reflect by The Bean.

Dec

Fifth Third Bank Winter WonderFest at Navy Pier

Enjoy winter fun without the chill at Winter WonderFest, an indoor holiday carnival with rides, giant slides, ice skating, and more at family-friendly Navy Pier.

Dec

One of a Kind Show Chicago

It’s the winter edition of theMART’s shopping extravaganza, with over 300 artists and makers filling three days with unique shopping finds.

Dec

Polar Adventure Days at Northerly Island

Polar Adventure Days at Northerly Island

Beat your cabin fever on this snow-dusted island, where you can meet wolves and birds of prey, explore on snowshoes, make winter crafts, and sip hot cocoa.

Jan

Chicago Sketch Comedy Festival

Chicago Sketch Comedy Festival

Laugh out loud at the largest sketch comedy fest in the world, featuring more than 200 shows from the country’s best comedy troupes over eight days.

Jan

Chicago Restaurant Week

Chicago Restaurant Week

Get a taste for Chicago’s acclaimed dining scene with special prix fixe menus at over 300 restaurants throughout the city.

Jan

First Bites Bash

First Bites Bash

Kick off Chicago Restaurant Week with bites and sips from dozens of the city’s most-celebrated chefs and restaurants.

Jan

Cubs Convention

Celebrate all things Cubs at this three-day convention, where you can meet the team, collect autographs, take photos with your favorite players, and more.

Jan

SoxFest

Hit a homerun at the Chicago White Sox’s annual fan celebration. Meet your favorite baseball players, take part in Q&A sessions, try interactive exhibits, and more.

Feb

Chicago Theatre Week

Chicago Theatre Week

Experience fearless Chicago theatre for a discounted price. Choose from show-stopping musicals, drama, comedy, and more on stages across the city.

Feb

Chinese New Year

Chinese New Year

Ring in Chinese New Year with cultural, musical, and culinary events, including lantern processions and traditional parades.

Feb

Chicago Auto Show

Chicago Auto Show

It’s the largest auto show in North America, with the newest models, experimental concepts, antique and collector cars, and more.

Spring

Experience Chicago in bloom

Our city is bursting with life in the spring. River cruises set sail, baseball fans pack the bleachers, and thousands gather to watch the river turn green for St. Patrick's Day. Check out the best of spring in Chicago.

March

St. Patrick’s Day Parade & Dyeing of the Chicago River

St. Patrick’s Day Parade & Dyeing of the Chicago River

Chicago goes green (literally) for St. Patrick’s Day. The annual parade is one Chicago’s biggest events of the year, and the Chicago River dyeing is one of the world’s most famous holiday traditions.

March

Chicago Flower & Garden Show at Navy Pier

Chicago Flower & Garden Show at Navy Pier

Each spring, Chicago’s iconic Navy Pier transforms into a colorful showcase for all things floral, like landscape displays, interactive workshops, and a plant marketplace.

March

Art on theMART

Chicago is home to the world’s largest digital art projection, which takes place on theMART at dusk from March through December. Watch the breathtaking light display along the scenic Riverwalk.

March

C2E2: Chicago Comic & Entertainment Expo

Come celebrate with your fandom at the Midwest’s largest pop culture event. Nerd out over advanced screenings, autograph signings, and cosplay contests.

March

Chicago Beer Festival

Chicago Beer Festival

Sip on craft beers alongside dinosaur bones and ancient Egyptian tombs at the Chicago Beer Festival. This annual tasting event includes more than 70 local brewers at Chicago’s Field Museum.

April

Chicago Latino Film Festival

Chicago Latino Film Festival

This international film festival has been highlighting the best in Latino filmmaking for more than three decades, with 10 days of international movie screenings.

April

Chicago Dance Month

Chicago Dance Month

Join in the ultimate dance party. April brings an entire month of free and discounted dance events throughout the city.

April

Chicago’s First Lady Cruises

Chicago’s First Lady Cruises

Chicago Architecture Foundation Center River Cruise aboard Chicago’s First Lady sets sail from the Riverwalk, giving you a glimpse into the fascinating history behind over 50 iconic buildings.

April

Tuesdays on the Terrace at MCA

Get in the groove with live on the contemporary museum’s terrace. The show is free every Tuesdays throughout the summer.

May

James Beard Awards

The best and brightest of the culinary industry will gather in Chicago for the annual “Oscars of the food world” through 2027.

May

Summer fireworks at Navy Pier

Summer fireworks at Navy Pier

The night sky lights up with a spectacular fireworks display every Wednesday and Saturday from Memorial Day to Labor Day. Catch the show from Navy Pier, a boat cruise, or along the lakefront.

May

Chicago Riverwalk season opening

Chicago Riverwalk season opening

We love the Chicago Riverwalk any time of year, but it really comes to life in May. Boat tours, public art displays, and waterfront patios let you enjoy food, drink, and the view.

May

Chicago Friday Night Flights

Chicago Friday Night Flights

Get a taste of the top city for craft beer with this neighborhood tasting series featuring a dynamic lineup of local breweries in the areas they call home.

May

Chicago House Music Festival

Chicago House Music Festival

Experience house music in the city where it was born. This free, three-day fest features live bands and DJs in the heart of Millennium Park.

May

Chicago Gospel Music Festival

Gospel music has deep roots in Chicago. Come celebrate the genre’s past and present with free shows from both traditional and contemporary performers.

May

Illinois Craft Beer Week

This week-long celebration of all things craft beer brings events, drink specials, tap takeovers, tastings, and more to venues all over Chicago.

May

Fifth Third Bike the Drive

Fifth Third Bike the Drive

Take a ride down iconic Lake Shore Drive during this annual biking event. Pedal down 30 miles of scenic lakefront, completely car free.

Summer

Chicago heats up in the summer

Catch live music at a street fest, sip craft beer by the water, watch a movie under the stars, or dig your toes in the sand along our sun-soaked lakefront. Here’s a few things to do during summer in Chicago.

June

Chicago Blues Festival

Chicago Blues Festival

No one sings the blues quite like Chicago. Come celebrate over 35 years of performances by the world’s all-time greats and the city’s legacy as the birthplace of amplified blues.

June

Grant Park Music Festival

Grant Park Music Festival

The nation's only free, summer-long outdoor classical music series, with 10 weeks of shows by the acclaimed Grant Park Orchestra.

June

Millennium Park Summer Music Series

Grab a seat at the Jay Pritzker Pavilion or spread out on the Great Lawn from June through August for free weekly concerts across genres.

June

Pride Fest / Pride Parade

Pride is the biggest party of the year in Chicago. The annual fest is a massive LGBTQ+ celebration in historic Boystown, followed by one of the biggest Pride Parades in the country.

June

Chicago SummerDance

Chicago SummerDance

Bust a move at this outdoor summer dance party in Grant Park, where instructors offer free lessons and live bands provide the beat.

June

Beach season begins

Beach season begins

Soak up the sun at one of Chicago’s 25 beaches, which opens for the summer Memorial Day weekend. Lay in the sand, play volleyball, paddleboard, kayak, jet ski, and more.

June

Chicago Ale Fest

Chicago Ale Fest

Craft beer takes over Grant Park each summer with more than 175 brewers, live music, food trucks, and more.

July

Jazzin’ at the Shedd

Jazzin’ at the Shedd

Enjoy live jazz, cocktails, city views, and a fireworks show on the Shedd Aquarium’s lakefront terrace on Wednesday evenings throughout the summer.

July

Chosen Few Picnic and Festival

This laid-back festival celebrates house music, a genre created right here in Chicago, with live DJ performances in beautiful Jackson Park.

July

Taste of Chicago

Experience the world’s largest free-admission food festival, where you can sample the best bites from more than 80 local restaurants in lakefront Grant Park.

July

Windy City Smokeout

Windy City Smokeout

This annual outdoor fest brings country superstars to Chicago, along with some of the country’s best beer and barbecue.

July

Pitchfork Music Festival

Pitchfork Music Festival

Discover what’s cool on the music scene during Pitchfork, a three-day music festival showcasing taste-making acts from alternative rock to hip-hop to dance music.

July

Chicago Blackhawks Convention

Chicago Blackhawks Convention

Meet all your favorite players at this fan-favorite event.

Aug

Lollapalooza

Lollapalooza

One of the country’s biggest music fests takes over Grant Park for four days with a star-studded lineup that includes 170 bands across eight stages.

July

Chicago Jazz Festival

Hear jazz greats from Chicago and around the world during Chicago’s original free music festival in scenic Millennium Park.

Aug

Chicago Air & Water Show

Turn your eyes to the sky at the nation’s oldest and largest free-admission air and water exhibition, held at North Avenue Beach.

Aug

Bud Billiken Parade

Bud Billiken Parade

Celebrate black culture during the nation’s largest African American parade in historic Bronzeville and Washington Park.

Aug

Northalsted Market Days

Northalsted Market Days

Boystown, Chicago’s LGBTQ+ mecca, hosts the largest street festival in the Midwest, with a weekend lineup of live music, drag queens, food and drink, DJs, and dancing.

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