For groups visiting during one of these summer music festivals, plan for a day of live music, local vendors, mouthwatering street fare and an only-in-Chicago experience. Some of these festivals offer free admission, and many offer family-friendly attractions.


Chicago Symphony Orchestra Spring Festival
May 3 – 24, 2015
Symphony Center
This three-week annual spring festival assumes a different theme each year. For the 2015 festival, dubbed Reveries and Passions, a distinctly French focus features 20th century operatic works influenced by themes of fantasy, nocturnal darkness and beauty.

Belmont-Sheffield Music Festival
May 23 – 24, 2015
N. Sheffield Ave. from Belmont to Roscoe, Chicago
As the unofficially kick-off event for Chicago's summer street festival season, this Memorial Day weekend fest features a lineup of local tribute bands, food and drinks, and arts and craft vendors. 

Chicago Gospel Music Festival
May 29 – 31, 2015
Millennium Park, Chicago
Celebrating its 30th year, this gospel music festival continues the tradition of celebrating Chicago’s musical roots with a lineup of renowned gospel musicians, traditional choir performances and contemporary urban gospel music. 

Downtown Sound
June 1 – July 23, 2015
Jay Pritzker Pavilion, Millennium Park, Chicago
This concert series takes place Monday and Thursday nights, featuring everything from electronic DJs and world music performers to pop bands and rock legends. Most concerts begin at 6:30 p.m.

Chicago Blues Festival
June 12 – 14, 2015
Grant Park, Chicago
Keeping up with its reputation as the Blues Capital of the World, this annual Chicago music event is the largest free blues festival in the world, drawing more than 500,000 fans to watch performances on five stages. This year, Chicago legend Buddy Guy will headline.

Spring Awakening
June 12 – 14, 2015
Soldier Field, Chicago
World-renowned DJs come together for this three-day electronic dance music festival, which transforms Soldier Field into a hotbed of music, costumed partiers and performers, light shows and pyrotechnics. Attendees must be 18 years of age. 

Grant Park Music Festival
June 17 – Aug. 22, 2015
Jay Pritzker Pavilion, Millennium Park, Chicago
This free series of classical music concerts takes place outdoors on the Chicago lakefront, and attendees are encouraged to bring a blanket and snacks to enjoy under the stars. The ten-week concert series features the Grant Park Orchestra & Chorus, as well as featured guest performers. Reserved seating options are available for groups.

Windy City LakeShake
June 19 – 21, 2015
FirstMerit Bank Pavilion, Chicago
Country music lovers won’t want to miss this three-day festival on the 91-acre Northerly Island peninsula, located on the waterfront of Lake Michigan.

Green Music Fest
June 20 – 21, 2015
Wicker Park, Chicago
Promoting environmental sustainability, this music festival features big-name musical acts, a stage powered by stationary bicycles, eco-conscious breweries and vendors showcasing green products. A family-friendly area offers arts and crafts, interactive activities, music and games.

Chosen Few Picnic
July 2 – 5, 2015
Jackson Park, Chicago
As the 25th anniversary of this house music festival, the Chosen Few Picnic will celebrate Chicago’s homegrown dance genre with a roundup of DJs. This annual event has grown into one of the largest house music festival events in the world, attracting more than 45,000 dance music fans every year.

Windy City Smokeout
July 10 – 12, 2015
W. Grand Ave., along the Chicago River, Chicago
Barbecue, country music and craft beer come together for this music and food festival. Attendees can listen to nearly 20 bands while indulging in flavorful barbecued specialties from renowned pitmasters.

Pitchfork Music Festival
July 17 – 19, 2015
Union Park, Chicago
As the 10th anniversary, this independently run music festival is known for being reasonably priced and a place to discover up-and-coming musicians. More than 50,000 attendees come to enjoy the music, concert poster art, the vinyl market and indie craft vendors.

Celebrate Clark Street World Music Festival
July 18 – 19, 2015
Clark St., between Morse and Estes, Chicago
This independent street festival in Rogers Park neighborhood draws more than 30,000 people annually with its eclectic lineup of world music, lively dance performances, local bands, live painting and art installations, family-friendly attractions and global cuisine.

July 31 – Aug. 2, 2015
Grant Park, Chicago
This three-day cultural experience is spread out across 115 acres between downtown Chicago and Lake Michigan, where attendees can enjoy everything from big-name headliners and indie bands to delicious festival food in Chow Town and one-of-a-kind wares and artwork for sale in the Green Street area.

Chicago Jazz Festival
September 3 – 6, 2015
Millennium Park, Chicago
A Labor Day weekend tradition, this free jazz festival attracts thousands of music lovers to hear national and international jazz musicians.