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Instagram_Newberry Library Bughouse History (1)
Aug27
Festivals, Fairs & Special Events

Bughouse Square: A History in Song and Story


Please note: This is an outdoor, in-person event taking place in Washington Square Park, across from the Newberry. Free and open to the public; tickets are not required, but you can register in advance here to receive event updates.

Celebrate the history of Chicago’s oldest public park with an afternoon of music, storytelling, games, food, and more.

Bughouse Square, as Washington Square Park is famously known, was once a cow path where farmers would bring their cattle for water. Over the years, it transformed into a dynamic gathering place that encouraged freedom of expression. For soapboxers, poets, artists, and activists of all stripes, the park became a stage where Chicagoans could discuss issues, perform, entertain, and enjoy warm summer days.

At this interactive and family-friendly event, we invite you to quench your thirst with cold drinks and chow down on tasty snacks from local food vendors as we revel in this park’s rich history. Get down to a DJ spinning music made in Chicago across the decades. Listen to stories of the most memorable moments in Bughouse Square history. And enjoy a variety of outdoor activities.

Our summer programs in the park are cosponsored with the Free for All Fund of the Chicago Community Trust and the Washington Square Park Advisory Council.


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