The Ultimate Guide to Chicago’s Best Summer Festivals and Events

In the vibrant city of Chicago, summer sets the stage for an array of captivating festivals and events. As the sun casts its warm glow upon the bustling streets, the Windy City transforms into a cultural hotspot. From the world-renowned Windy City Smokeout, where tantalizing flavors mingle with country music, to the mesmerizing beats of the Chicago Blues Festival, the city’s summer calendar is adorned with showcases and outdoor spectacles. With each event offering its own unique charm and allure, Chicago’s summer scene promises unforgettable experiences and cherished memories for all who partake in its festivities.

Millennium Park Summer Series – June - September

Millennium Park features free outdoor concerts, movies. Their Music series covers all genres, including R&B, Jazz, Classical and Blues. It will feature artists locally, nationally and internationally. The Movie series includes all of the big blockbusters to enjoy on the lawn. Movies include Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, Summer of Soul and Everywhere Everything At Once among others. Grab a blanket, pack a picnic and come down to Millennium Park and enjoy an unforgettable night under the stars in the heart of Chicago. 

For more details, visit the Millennium Park Summer Highlights for what will be featured for what day. 

Water Lantern Festival – July 15

Voted #1 Best Cultural Festival by USA Water Lantern Festival for two years in a row! This magical event combines the tranquility of water, the warm glow of lanterns, and the spirit of community, creating a breathtaking spectacle that evokes a sense of wonder and unity including food, games and activities.  This event is all over the United States, but of course, the best one is in Chicago!

Visit Water Lantern Festival for more details.

Windy City Smoke Out – July 13 - 16

Who doesn’t like a good BBQ? This three-day festival brings together an irresistible combination of mouthwatering barbecue, live music, and a lively atmosphere. Held annually in Chicago, this event has become a must-attend experience for foodies, music enthusiasts, and anyone looking to indulge in a weekend filled with smoky flavors and soulful melodies.

Visit Windy City Smokeout for more details.

Jazzin’ at the Shedd – Wednesdays, June 7 – August 30

If you’re a jazz enthusiast looking for a delightful evening of live music, there’s no better place to be than Jazzin’ at the Shedd. Experience a diverse line up of talented artists, showcasing a wide range of Jazz styles while having open access to the Aquarium after hours. It’s a chance to appreciate the wonders of the aquatic world while being serenaded by the captivating sounds of jazz. 

Visit Jazzin’ at the Shedd for more details.

Malibu Barbie Café Chicago – June – September

Calling all Barbie enthusiasts! Prepare to step into a vibrant world of pink, glamor, and endless possibilities as Barbie Malibu opens its doors in the heart of Chicago. This exciting new attraction brings the iconic Barbie dream house to life, offering visitors to indulge in a variety of delicious treats, ranging from beautifully crafted pastries and cupcakes to colorful and Instagram worthy milkshakes.

Visit Malibu Barbie Café Chicago for more details.

NASCAR - Chicago Street Race July 1 - 2

Get ready to rev your engines and experience the adrenaline-pumping NASCAR street race, which is the first of it’s kind that NASCAR has ever done. The sound of screeching tires echoes through the city as the cars race past iconic landmarks like Grant Park and the Magnificent Mile, creating an exciting and electrifying atmosphere. Though tickets to the event is pricey, it’s going to be a crazy good time experiencing NASCAR history in Chicago! 

For more information, Visit NASCAR Chicago for more details.



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