Making the Most of Chicago's Fading Summer
Posted by Ri Prasad on Wednesday, August 10, 2022 at 1:33 PM By Ri Prasad / August 10, 2022 Comment
Grant Park Music Festival
For classical music lovers who enjoy taking in a show set beneath Chicago's skyline, the annual Grant Park Music Festival is perennial favorite summer event. This year's series of classical concerts runs from June 15–August 20 with performances ranging from world premiere works and performances of symphonies by Mozart, Haydn and Shostakovich to an evening of classic Broadway arrangements and the annual Independence Day salute. Take a look at the complete schedule of events below and find more information on the Grant Park Music Festival website: June 15: Mozart Symphony No. 35June 17, 18: Mendelssohn Reformation SymphonyJune 22: Schubert Unfinished SymphonyJune 24, 25: Shostakovich Symphony No. 11June 29, July 1: Britten Spring SymphonyJuly 2: Independence Day SaluteJuly 6: Cirque Goes to HollywoodJuly 8, 9: Lights on BroadwayJuly 13: Haydn Drum Roll SymphonyJuly 15, 16: Beethoven Eroica SymphonyJuly 20: Dvorak Symphony No. 8July 22, 23: Rachmaniov Piano Concerto No. 2July 27: A Gospel JubileeJuly 29, 30: Mahler Symphony No. 9 Aug 3: A Mariachi FiestaAug 4: 60th Anniversary Choral Spectacular Aug 5, 6: Berlioz Symphonie Fantastique Aug 10: Franck Symphony in D MinorAug 12, 13: Tetzlaff Plays ShostakovichAug 17: Tchaikovsky Sleeping Beauty Aug 19: Haydn Creation
Navy Pier Fireworks
During the summer, one of the best aerial displays you'll find in Chicago originates from Navy Pier. The Chicago attraction hosts twice-weekly fireworks shows (on Wednesdays and Saturdays) from Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day weekend, with stunning views available from across the pier's public spaces. Of course, you can also take in the show from nearby beaches or while cruising along the Lakefront Trail.
Movies in the Parks
From June through September this year, dozens of movies will screen in parks all over Chicago as part of the city's annual Movies in the Parks program. From recent blockbusters like Encanto and Sing 2 to classics like The Princess Bride and Space Jam, you're sure to find good something to watch (for free!) beneath the stars this summer. Screenings typically begin at 8:30pm each evening. Take a look at the full list of movies and participating parks.
Jazzin’ at the Shedd
The Shedd Aquarium's weekly summer concert series presents a rotating lineup of jazz bands on its scenic lakeside terrace, where attendees can dance, have a drink and get a great view of the Navy Pier fireworks. Guests also get access to the Shedd's exhibitions, meaning that you can gaze at the creatures that inhabit the Caribbean Reef, snap a picture of a cute sea otter or touch a sea star.
Millennium Park Summer Music Series
Head to Pritzker Pavilion every Monday and Thursday from June 20–August 18 for the 10-part Millennium Park Summer Music Series, which showcases a wide range of music from both emerging and well-established performers. The series kicks off on June 20 with performances from Afrobeat saxophonist Femi Kuti (son of iconic Nigerian musician Fela Kuti) and Moroccan-born electronic artist HAT; throughout the rest of the summer, catch acts like Ukrainian folk-fusion quartet DakhaBrakha (July 18), Afro-Cuban artist Cimafunk (August 11) and none other than Wilco frontman Jeff Tweedy (July 21), who will perform along with students from The People's Music School as opening act.
Art on theMART
Projecting a 25-story-tall video installation on the side of the Merchandise Mart, Art on theMart's summer program includes Ba Boom Boom Pa Pop Pop—an original video work by hometown artist Nick Cave featuring his iconic Soundsuits—as well as Billiken, which celebrates Chicago's annual Bud Billiken Parade depicting video and animated footage of the parade's youth dance groups and marching bands. Art on theMART's array of 34 digital projectors display the programs at 9pm every evening. The show is best viewed from the section of the Chicago Riverwalk between Wells Street and Franklin Street.
Chicago Air and Water Show
Don't be surprised if you get a neck ache from looking up during this two-day event, which returns to city skies in full-fledged form for the first time since 2019 this August. Join throngs of people at North Beach and surrounding areas (you're best off sticking along the lakefront from Fullerton to Oak Street) to catch air and watercraft demonstrations, including the U.S. Navy Blue Angels, the U.S. Air Force Heritage Flight and the U.S. Army Parachute Team Golden Knights.
The Paper Machete
This weekly “live magazine” is a cavalcade of culture, politics and wit featuring journalists, actors, comedians and musicians offering idiosyncratic reports on the news of the day. Head to Uptown’s iconic Green Mill for drinks, hot takes and laughs; the longstanding Saturday afternoon edition tends to run about two and a half hours.
Bye Bye Liver: Chicago's Longest Running Drinking Play!
Bye Bye Liver combines two robust Chicago traditions: comedy and heavy drinking. The show opened a decade ago for a three-week run, then kept getting extended. A cast of four to six performers portray characters at the fictional "Franks Bar," telling stories that explore the city's robust drinking culture. Each show incorporates interactive audience drinking games, allowing you to sip a cocktail or beer while taking cues from the cast. And if you're up for a nightcap after the performance, you can stick around for the official after party and mingle with the cast.
Sundays on State
Last summer's inaugural Sundays on State program—which shuts down a strip of State Street spanning from Madison to Lake Streets for activations, performances, food and shopping—brought thousands of visitors downtown to check out everything from outdoor dining and browsing opportunities to pop-up karaoke and barre fitness classes. The event returns on select Sundays this year by popular demand, expanding its footprint to cover State from Lake to Monroe. For a full schedule of vendors and events, check out Chicago Loop Alliance's website.
The Art Institute of Chicago has teamed up with London's Tate Modern to mount the first major retrospective of Paul Cezanne's work in more than 25 years, exploring the post-Impressionist painter's legacy across a variety of mediums and genres. Visitors can explore some of Cezanne's most enduringly iconic works—including his lush still life paintings and landscapes—as well as rarely-seen compositions pulled from private collections, encompassing a total of 90 oil paintings, 40 watercolors and drawings and two complete sketchbooks. You'll need an additional ticket to gain access to the exhibit, but you'll rarely find such a comprehensive perspective on this seminal artist's life and work.
“The Art of the Brick”
Want to see recreations of Van Gogh's “Starry Night,” Da Vinci's “Mona Lisa” and Michaelangelo's “David”? constructed with Lego bricks? The Museum of Science and Industry's latest exhibition collects the work of Nathan?Sawaya, a former lawyer who turned his passion for tiny plastic bricks into contemporary art. “The Art of the Brick” include more than 100 of his creations, include a 20-foot-long T.rex skeleton and a life-sized sculpture of a man pulling his chest apart. The traveling show is the first major museum exhibition to use Lego bricks as its sole medium—and a testiment to the creativity that can be achieved with hundreds of thousands of tiny pieces of plastic. This Museum of Science and Industry exhibit rquires a seperate ticket for entry, in addition to regular museum admission.
See eight towering sculptures by South African artist Daniel Popper at the Morton Arboretum's new outdoor exhibition, which spreads the 15- to 26-foot-tall works throughout the natural area. Made of glass-reinforced concrete, wood, fiberglass and steel, the one-of-a-kind pieces in "Human+Nature" depict human figures that evoke the natural landscape they're set amid, including a pair of 36-foot-long hands reaching out from a grove of oak trees and a maternal figure that springs up amid magnolia trees. Access to "Human+Nature" is included as part of timed-entry admission to the Morton Arboretum, and there's a map that will allow you to easily plan your visit and spot all eight sculptures along the way.
Thirsty Ears Festival
Fed up with the cover bands and DJs that typically perform at Chicago's street festivals? Thirsty Ears Festival provides an alternative to the usual summer programming, with local organization Access Contemporary Music presenting a lineup of classical music performances ranging from Baroque to contemporary. Taking place in Ravenswood on Wilson Ave between Hermitage Ave and Ravenswood Ave, the festival features two days of performances and a miniature version of the Sound of Silent Film Festival (where ensembles accompany silent film screenings). You'll also find beer from Empirical Brewing, food trucks and a kids zone stocked with activites and performances for the little ones.
Sun Sets at Tony’s Rooftop
Craving a tropical vacation? Us, too. That’s why we’re transforming Tony’s Rooftop Bar at Time Out Market Chicago into a getaway-inspired destination on Friday evenings this summer, complete with island, reggae and Latin DJ sets and delicious frozen drink specials. Swing by from 6-7pm for $12 frozen cocktails and stick around to watch the sunset—it’ll almost be like taking a mini vacation. Check out the full lineup of DJs below: August 5: DJ JemAugust 12: DJ RheaAugust 19: DJ JemAugust 26: DJ Sye Young
Rockin’ in the Park
Looking for free concerts near Chicago? Hop on the Blue Line to Rosemont's Parkway Bank Park for Thursday night performances—with a few holiday and weekend dates sprinkled through the summer—from classic rock cover bands like Yachtley Crew ('70s and '80s hits), Ticket to the Moon (Electric Light Orchestra) and Rush Tribute Project (Rush, obviously), complete with a fireworks show at the end of the night. Beverage tents will be located on site, but we won't fault you if you prefer to pre-game with a fishbowl-sized spiked punch from nearby Sugar Factory. For a full schedule of shows, visit the Parkway Bank Park website.
My House Music Festival
Chicago is the city that built house music and this Pilsen festival carries on our city's tradition of talented DJs, great beats and dancing crowds. Organized by realtors Re/Max Loyalty, this two-day fest raises money for local charities and includes access to music, live art, food and beverages. Expect to find plenty of local producers and DJs on the lineup, including DJ Sneak, Ralphi Rosario, Farley "Jackmaster" Funk and more.
“Nick Cave: Forothermore”
The Museum of Contemporary Art hosts the first career-spanning retrospective of Chicago artist Nick Cave's work at Forothermore, a comprehensive dive into Cave's acclaimed body of visual art alongside his roles as an activist and community builder. Dedicated to those who exist as the "other" (whether through racism, homophobia or other modes of discrimination), Forothermore spans everything from installations and sculpture to fashion, performance and video work, with never-before-seen highlights like a continuation of Cave's lauded Soundsuits series.
Movies at Gallagher Way
Wrigley Field-adjacent plaza Gallagher Way is once again teaming up with the Music Box Theatre to program free outdoor movie screenings this summer. Admission is free and attendees are welcome to bring their own food, enjoy on-site concessions or snag a meal from nearby restaurants like Big Star and Smoke Daddy. VIP seating is also available for $30—check out the Gallagher Way website for more details. Gates open at 6pm for each screening and the movie starts at 7:30pm May 11: Bill and Ted's Excellent AdventureMay 25: RocketmanJune 8: Mamma Mia!June 22: Josie and the PussycatsJuly 6: Dirty DancingJuly 20: School of RockJuly 27: Pitch PerfectAugust 3: GreaseAugust 17: EncantoAugust 31: Almost FamousSeptember 14: SelenaSeptember 21: Bohemian Rhapsody
Head to North Center to dig into more than 50,000 pounds of ribs and BBQ across the streets of Lincoln, Damen and Irving Park. The annual celebration of saucy pork brings together more than 30 vendors, lounges where you can sit down to eat and live music to keep you entertained while you're digesting your second rack of ribs.
Taste of Greektown
Enjoy the feta, tzatziki, roasted chicken and more signature Mediterranean flavors at this three-day festival in Greektown, where you'll find lots of tasty dishes cooked by some of the neighborhood's most beloved restaurants, like Artopolis Bakery, Cafe and Agora, Athena Restaurant and more. Stick around for performances from Greek and American bands!
Jazz in the Court
Catch live outdoor jazz performances on the first Friday of every month this summer as part of Jazz in the Court, a free performance series hosted at Harper Court in Hyde Park. Performers this year include the Dee Alexander Quartet (June 3), Denise Thimes Quartet (July 1), Chuck Webb with Margaret Murphy-Webb and Tony Carpenter (August 5) and the Thaddeus Tukes Quartet (September 2).
Filling a notable void in the Chicago summer festival calendar, Ruido Fest is one of the only large-scale events in the city that champions the diverse sounds of Latin American pop, electro and rock en español. The fest is returning to Union Park this August and features performances from singer-songwriter Cuco, Argentine ska group Los Fabulosos Cadillacs and genre-defining West Coast hip-hop trio Cyprus Hill.
Lake House Vintage Markets
The Fairmont Chicago—which has transformed its lobby area into a lakehouse-themed pop-up —presents an outdoor vintage market on select evenings this summer, assembling more than 20 local vendors focused on vintage home goods, jewelry, paintings and more goods to browse after work.
Enjoy dinner and show on the 14th floor of the Cambria Hotel at Teatro ZinZanni, a 2.5-hour experience that combines circus acts, comedy, cabaret and a meal curated by Debbie Sharpe—the Goddess of The Goddess and Grocer. The show takes place in an ornate, circular theater (designed to resemble a Belgian mirror tent) where the audience surrounds the stage. Guests dig into a four course meal while watching as comedians, aerialists, acrobats, singers and dancers perform amazing feats and catchy tunes. It's somewhere between Cirque du Soleil and a traditional cabaret show, with restaurant-quality refreshments. Performances take place every evening, Wednesday through Saturday, with a special brunch matinee at noon on Sundays. You can find menus, wine and cocktail lists on the Teatro ZinZanni website.
“Prince: The Immersive Experience”
Dearly beloved, we are gathered here to say that a purple-hued world has opened up on Michigan Avenue, thanks to the arrival of a new Prince-themed immersive exhibition inside the sprawling Shops at North Bridge complex. Step inside to experience everything from a lilac-scented imitation of the bathroom in the “When Doves Cry” music video to a realistic version of Prince’s Paisley Park studio, painstakingly recreated with details like a shelf stocked with the 5-Hour Energy shots Prince kept on hand for recording sessions. And because this is an immersive experience, many of the rooms are equipped with some kind of interactive element, whether you prefer to experiment with sound mixing “Let’s Go Crazy” in the studio, take a personality quiz to get a custom playlist of Prince’s deep cuts or pose for photos atop a replica of the famous “Purple Rain” motorcycle.
“All That Glows in the Dark of Democracy”
The social justice-focused gallery Weinberg/Newton is partnering with the ACLU of Illinois to present this multi-modal exhibition, which showcases work pondering the idea of democracy. Explore interactive installations like a large-scale gabled roof structure outfitted with sound-dampening fabric meant to offer a space for dialogue, glow-in-the-dark voting polls, a sculpture shaped like a podium outfitted with a megaphone and more. Reservations encouraged via Tock.
Cinema/Chicago Summer Screenings Series
See an exciting slate of international films for free as part of Cinema/Chicago's annual summer screening series, which presents movies from across the world for in-person showings at the Chicago History Museum and Chicago Cultural Center. This year's theme, Adaptation, will focus on films that bring stories from a variety of art forms to the screen—from comic books and memoirs to stage plays—by established directors like Caroline Link (All About Me) and Fernando León de Aranoa (Mondays in the Sun) as well as up-and-coming filmmakers. Tickets can be reserved beginning 16 days ahead of each screening or in limited quantity in-person at the screening; for a full lineup of movies, visit the Cinema/Chicago website.
Edison Park Fest
This far Northwest Side neighborhood gets in on street festival season fun with a three-day affair (its 50th anniversary!) packed with live music, activities for the kids and delicious food. Stop by to see country band Hillbilly Rockstarz, ’80s hair metal devotees Lounge Puppets or perennial rock favorites 7th Heaven before digging into grub served by local vendors.
Sangria Festival Chicago
Humboldt Park transforms into an outdoor tapas bar during this boozy bash, which pairs bites from local restaurants—like 5411, Tapas Valencia and Azul Mariscos—with pitchers of red wine and chopped fruit. Lay our a blanket to sip sangria on the lawn, put color on a canvas at the festival's painting station or watch live salsa and Brazilian dance music.
Explore the colors of the natural world in the Field Museum's latest exhibition, which examines the meaning and function of some of the brightest hues in the world. “Wild Color” explores how plants and animals use color to ward off predators or attract maters, and how the color of gems and minerals can offer clues about their formation. The 7,000-square-foot exhibition is filled with specimens from the Field Museum's extensive collection, including a platypus that fluoresces under UV light and birds in every color (including "super black").
Chalk Howard Street
Chicago's sole chalk festival returns to Rogers Park for the first time since 2019 this August, transforming Howard Street into a lovely, chalk art-covered canvas over the course of a single day. Head east of the Howard Red Line stop between Paulina and Ashland to tour 3-D chalk designs by artists like Amanda-lee Harris, Zach Herndon and Jessi Queen and try food from local vendors, or get in on the action yourself by purchasing a 4x4 square of sidewalk to design for $25—don't worry, chalk is included.
Millennium Park Summer Film Series
Hosted by the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events (DCASE), the annual Millennium Park Summer Film Series brings eight weeks of free movie showings to a 40-foot LED screen at the Jay Pritzker Pavilion in Millennium Park. While you’ll find a respectable amount of blockbusters on the lineup (hello, Encanto and Dirty Dancing), many of the films on this year’s schedule are inspired by the 2022 Year of Chicago Dance, including the Lin Manuel Miranda musical In the Heights and teen dance romance Save the Last Dance. Take a look through the full list of screenings below and start planning your weeknight movie dates. July 12: In the Heights July 19: Encanto July 26: Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone August 2: Dirty Dancing August 9: Knives Out August 16: Shang-Chi and the Legend of the 10 Rings August 23: Save the Last Dance August 30: Strictly Ballroom
Zorro: The Musical
Brace yourself for extraordinary aerial acrobatics, spectacular sword-fighting and incredible magic in the theater as Music Theater Works tells the tale of the legendary swordsman and defender of justice in Zorro: The Musical.
Glenwood Avenue Arts Fest
You'll find more than 120 artists selling paintings, drawings, sculptures, glass, ceramics, pottery, photography, jewelry and more at this popular arts festival in Rogers Park, which is celebrating its 21st year in 2022. Stroll through the art fair to take home your very own masterpiece and catch performances on two music stages from more than 30 live music acts, including Chicago rapper Psalm One, New Jersey rockers Screaming Females and Indo-African-Caribbean ensemble Funkadesi (headlining on Friday, Saturday and Sunday night, respectively). Plus, swing by the newly-opened Rhapsody Theater for free tours and drinks at the bar.
“Jurassic Oceans: Monsters of the Deep”
The Field Museum's latest exhibition takes you into the depth of prehistoric seas, where gigantic underwater creatures made their home more than 200 million years ago. Visitors will learn how these Jurassic giants evolved into familiar marine animals, like sea snakes, turtles, dolphins and whales. The interactive exhibition include real fossils and CGI projections of ancient creatures like the mosasaur—also known as the T.rex of the sea.
Pilot Project Fest
Sample beer, cider and hard seltzer from 13 of Pilot Project's brewery start-ups and partners—including Azadi Brewing Company, Luna Bay Hard Kombucha, Odious Cellars and Eris Brewery & Cider House—at this second annual tasting event. Each ticket comes with drink samplings from all of the fest's particpants and a custom festival glass, but you'll also be able to purchase food and coffee onsite.
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