Skip to consent to cookiesSkip navigation
RP_RIVERWALK-184

Chicago styleYear round

StarStarStarStar

It’s always a great time to visit Chicago. Each season brings something new, from magical holiday markets 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.

Summer

Fall

Winter

Spring

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 Gospel Music Festival

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.

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

Chicago Friday Night Flights

Get a taste of nation's top craft beer city with this tasting series highlighting a dynamic lineup of local breweries from every corner of the city.

June

Grant Park Music Festival

The nation's only free, summer-long outdoor classical music series, featuring the acclaimed Grant Park Orchestra in parks throughout the city.

June

Chicago Dance Month

Chicago Dance Month

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

June

Millennium Park Summer Music Series

Millennium Park Summer Music Series

Grab a seat at the Jay Pritzker Pavilion for free weekly concerts under the stars all summer long

June

Pride Fest / Pride Parade

Pride Fest / Pride Parade

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

June

James Beard Awards

James Beard Awards

The best and brightest of the culinary industry gather in Chicago for these prestigious annual awards, along with a week of celebratory events.

June

Chicago SummerDance

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

June

Puerto Rican Fest

This colorful celebration of Puerto Rican heritage takes over the cultural corridor in the Humboldt Park neighborhood.

July

Jazzin’ at the Shedd

Jazzin’ at the Shedd

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

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

Chinatown Summer Fair

Chinatown Summer Fair

The streets of the historic Chinatown neighborhood fill with food vendors, live music, cultural demonstrations, and more.

July

Chosen Few Picnic and Festival

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.

Aug

Windy City Smokeout

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

Aug

Bud Billiken Parade

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

Aug

Chicago Air & Water Show

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

Lollapalooza

Lollapalooza

One of the country’s biggest music fests takes over Grant Park for four days with a star-studded lineup that includes 100+ bands across multiple stages.

Aug

Northalsted Market Days

Northalsted Market Days

Northalsted, 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.

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 Jazz Festival

Chicago Jazz Festival

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

Sept

Taste of Chicago

Taste of Chicago

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

Sept

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

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

Hyde Park Jazz Festival

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

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

Bike the Drive

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.

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

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

Day of the Dead

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

Thanksgiving Day Parade

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

Nov

Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony

Catch this century-old Chicago tradition, marking the beginning of the holiday season with the lighting of the city’s official Christmas Tree.

Nov

The Magnificent Mile Lights Festival

The Magnificent Mile Lights Festival

This annual parade illuminates more than one million twinkling lights along one of Chicago’s most iconic streets.

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

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.

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 with over 2.5 million twinkling lights, plus live ice-sculpting, photo ops with Santa, hot chocolate, and more.

Dec

Light Up the Lake

Light Up the Lake

Enjoy winter fun without the chill at this indoor festival featuring ice skating, light sculptures, holiday activities, and more at Navy Pier.

Dec

Lightscape

Be awed by a magical light show that takes over these sprawling outdoor gardens.

Dec

Winterland at Gallagher Way

Just outside Wrigley Field, Gallagher Way hosts this family-friendly winter wonderland with ice skating, events, a holiday market, and more.

Dec

New Year's Eve fireworks

New Year's Eve fireworks

Chicago goes all out for New Year's Eve with spectacular waterfront fireworks.

Jan

Chicago Restaurant Week

Chicago Restaurant Week

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

Jan

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

Winter Flower Show

Winter Flower Show

Discover a winter oasis at this colorful flower show inside Garfield Park Conservatory.

Feb

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

Lunar New Year

Ring in Lunar 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.

Mar

C2E2

C2E2

This epic fan convention is dedicated to comics, pop culture, graphic novels, anime, manga, and beyond.

April

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.

April

Baseball season begins

No matter what team you cheer for, there's nothing like baseball season in Chicago. See the Cubs play in Wrigleyville, or catch the White Sox in Bridgeport.

April

EXPO CHICAGO

EXPO CHICAGO

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

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.

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.

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

Sueños Music Festival

Chicago’s first-ever reggaeton fest takes over Grant Park with a can't-miss lineup of Latin hitmakers.

May

Chicago Cabaret Week

This multi-venue festival features a variety of blues, jazz, American songbook, and more at discounted prices.

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.

bean-night

Explore hotels, flights, deals, and more

Plan your trip

Expedia
Expedia
Expedia
Expedia

CTA Newsletter

Chicago Newsletter

Stay in the know

Sign up

visitors_guide_2024_cover

Visitors Guide

Start planning today

Get the guide

Voted

Best

Big

City

2023