The Chicagoist will be launching later but in the meantime please enjoy our archives.

Chicagoist's Guide To July: 20 Fun Things To Do This Month

By Michelle Meywes Kopeny in Arts & Entertainment on Jul 3, 2017 3:18PM

Windy City Smokeout is July 14-15. Image via Windy City Smokeout's Facebook page.

The livin' is easy when there's this much fun stuff going on.

Image via Taste of Chicago's Facebook page.


July 5-9

The Taste. It’s legendary in Chicago. The downtown festival showcases the best eats that Chicago restaurants have to offer, but it's more than just food. There’s dance performances, cultural experiences, family programming and a live music lineup that rivals any music fest in town. This year has Alessia Cara, Ben Harper & The Innocent Criminals, Passion Pit and The O’Jays all performing at Petrillo Music Shell. Admission to Taste of Chicago is free, but tickets for the seating area at the Petrillo Music Shell start at $19.

Photo courtesy of West Fest


July 7-9

Could West Fest have the best street fest lineup this summer? We certainly think so, with bands like local rockers Local H, punk disco-funk group ESG, and “'90s-style indie guitar revivalists” Speedy Ortiz topping the bill. And that’s not even counting Cymbals Eat Guitars, Woods, Durand Jones & The Indications or Har Mar Superstar. Sounds like rock and roll fans in the city have their weekend plans set. Admission is a $5 gate donation benefitting The West Town Chamber of Commerce.


July 7-9

Ruido Fest is two years old and going strong as Pilsen’s Latin Alternative Music Festival. This year’s headliners at Adams/Medill Park include Cultura Profetica, Molotov and Intocable. The popular Bomba Estéreo also perform. Keep the party going after each day of the three-day fest with after-parties at Cobra Lounge. Tickets are $149 for a three-day pass. Single day tickets start at $94.

Image via Square Roots's Facebook page.


July 7-9

Square Roots has everything a street fest should: music, food and beer. The Craft Brew & Music Festival in Lincoln Square shows off some of the neighborhood’s culinary options plus brews from more than 30 regional craft brewers. The festival is also arm in arm with Old Town School of Folk Music, celebrating their 60th anniversary with performances and programming for the whole family. Entry is a $10 suggested donation supporting Old Town School of Folk Music and Lincoln Square Ravenswood Chamber programs.


July 7-9

It’s time again for the weekend-long Irish Fest benefitting the Irish American Heritage Center. The weekend festival is packed with Irish culture including Irish and American food and drink, cultural exhibits, children’s activities and artisans. They’ve also got a huge music lineup featuring Gaelic Storm, We Banjo 3, Michael McDermott and many more. Tickets are $10 until July 5 and $15 thereafter. Children 12 and under are free.

Burger Fest image courtesy of Special Events Management.


July 8-9

The 11th Annual Roscoe Village Burger Fest is here. More than a dozen vendors show off their patties, including Butcher & the Burger, D.S. Tequila, Hackney's and Kuma'sCorner. Oh, and there’s music, too! South African rockers Kongos headline on Saturday and alt-rock band Cracker headlines Sunday. Entry is a $10 gate donation benefitting the Roscoe Village Chamber of Commerce.


July 8-9

Navy Pier will be teeming with margs of all types this weekend at Margarita Fest. The theme is Latin Congo with live music and island vibes. They’ll also have gourmet eats available. Tickets are $20.


July 14-16

Fans with discerning musical taste flock to Union Pier year after year for Pitchfork Music Festival, and this lineup was made to please. James Murphy and crew are out of a brief retirement with LCD Soundsystem headlining the first night of the fest. A Tribe Called Quest and Solange round out the headliners. As usual, the festival also includes other experiences like CHIRP Record Fair, Renegade Craft Fair, Book Fort and the Flatstock poster festival. Tickets are $175 for a three-day pass. Single day tickets are $75.


July 14-16

It doesn’t get much better than BBQ and country music on a July weekend. Windy City Smokeout brings us hefty helpings of both on the river at Grand Avenue. Pitmasters from all over the country bring their menus to the event. The festival also ups the ante with special added events like a Whole Hog Brunch, Crawfish Boil, Oyster Roast and cooking lessons. On the music side they’ve got artists like Jake Owen, Kip Moore and Lee Brice hitting the stage. Tickets are $110 for a three-day pass. Single day passes start at $40.


July 14-16

Heavy metal fans put those rock hands in the air because Open Air is back for another year at Toyota Park. The three-day music festival lineup features all the names you’d expect to hear: Ozzy Osbourne, Slayer, Megadeath, Rob Zombie, Anthrax, Lamb of God, Korn, KISS...and so many more. They’ve also got “Gourmet Man Food” and a “Headbangers Bier Hall” on site. Tickets are $130 for a three-day pass. Single day tickets are $80.

Image via the City of Chicago's website.


July 16

Celebrate the beauty and culture of the Far East at the Chinatown Summer Fair from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. The ethnic neighborhood fest will include new and old world music acts, eats, artisans and the Dragon & Lion Dance Procession. Admission is free.


July 21-23

Sample cuisine of the hot downtown neighborhood at the Taste of River North. Big & Little’s, DaLobsta and Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse are just a few of the restaurants getting in on the action, plus they’ll have live music all day long with familiar tunes from some of the city’s hottest cover bands.


July 22-23

Sometimes Chicago street fests kill it with top musical acts, and Sheffield Music Festival & Garden Walk is one of them. Indie/pop act Foxygen headlines on Saturday night, and power pop band We The Kings headline on Sunday with local powerhouse Lucky Boys Confusion also playing. Of course there’s the official Garden Walk, too, with self and guided tours. Last but not least, don’t forget about the Chicago Craft Beer Festival taking place within the event. Tickets are $20 in advance ($25 at the gate) for the mainstage acts.


July 25-August 13

The Tony Award-winning musical from director/choreographer Christopher Wheeldon opens at Oriental Theatre on July 25. An American in Paris joins ballet and broadway as an American soldier and a mysterious French girl look for a new beginning in the aftermath of war. Tickets start at $27.


July 27-July 30

The Newberry Library Book Fair is like Christmas for bookworms. One of the largest used book sales in the country, the independent library has more than 120,000 used books, movies, records and more for sale, with many under $3. Admission is Free.

Wait, Wait...Don't Tell Me! image via DCASE.


July 27

The NPR show that quizzes contestants on the week’s news comes to Pritzker Pavilion for a special live show. Join host Peter Sagal and Judge and Scorekeeper Bill Kurtis from 7 to 9 p.m. with a panel of comedians, humorists and journalists, listener contestants and a special celebrity guest for Wait Wait...Don't Tell Me! Free.


July 27-30

Pilsen’s Fiesta del Sol is the largest Latino festival in the midwest, with family values at heart. The alcohol and tobacco-free festival still has plenty of fun, with live music, a carnival and civil rights and community activities.


July 29

Fat Tire’s Tour de Fat has really grown up, expanding this year to Huntington Bank Pavilion at Northerly Island from 4 to 9 p.m. Legendary hip hop group (and Tonight Show band) The Roots will headline the fest celebrating beer, bikes and bemusement. Tickets are $20.

Image via Taste of Lincoln's website.


July 29-30

More than 100 food vendors are coming out for Taste of Lincoln Avenue this weekend. Look out for “SausageFest” new to the fest featuring encased meats from local Lincoln Park restaurants and shops, plus a kids carnival area and 20 bands on two music stages. Entry is a $10 gate donation benefitting Wrightwood Neighbors Association.


July 29-30

Huge crowds gather each and every year for Wicker Park Fest. Check out the hip neighborhood’s offerings in food, shops and art while taking in an equally hot band lineup over two days. This year has Guided By Voices, Jeff the Brotherhood and Charly Bliss fronting the pack. Entry is a $10 suggested donation benefitting the Wicker Park Bucktown Chamber of Commerce.