21 Events and Festivals in Chicago
#1 The Chicago Cultural Center
All year round the Chicago Cultural Center offers free visual art performances of music, theater, and dance. Not to mention it hosts some of the top art exhibitions available in Chicago. We have the Chicago department of Cultural Affairs & Special Events and their partners to thank for funding such an amazing Cultural Center.
#2 The Maxwell Street Market
Every Sunday from 7am to 3pm, the Maxwell Street Market offers its wide array of merchandise from rare collectibles, furniture, and tires to organic farm fresh produce. The Maxwell Street Market is a Chicago tradition where you are welcome to bargain your heart out! There are also several street food vendors on site - you can find some of the most delicious Latin/Mexican food in the city here. Location: 800 S Desplaines St.
#3 Under the Picasso
Free art programs are offered all year round by the Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events at the Daley Civic Center on 50 W. Washington Street! Each weekday at noon you will find a different program on the agenda.
#4 The Juicebox
Juicebox is a company that orchestrates free music and dance performances geared towards toddlers. However, these engaging programs are so fun that you will find the whole family joining in. Juicebox offers programs every first and third Friday of the month at the Chicago Cultural Center / every first and third Saturday of the month at the Garfield Park Conservatory. Programs begin at 11 am during Spring, Fall, and Winter.
#5 Eugene Eda’s Doors for Malcolm X College
From January 21st until June 25th, 2017 the Eugene Eda’s Doors for Malcolm X College exhibition will take place in the Chicago Cultural Center. This exhibition reunites each and every door of the 32 painted by Eugene Eda for the stairwell of the original Malcolm X College. Although the college is now demolished, the monumental 32 door collection lives on as a landmark for Chicago’s Black Arts movement. Eugene Eda, a key artist in the Wall of Respect, painted these doors in 1917 for the college and now they will be included among several other works of art in the MXC collection. The highlight of the exhibit will be an eye opening documentary focusing on the importance of this unsettling time in Chicago’s history.
#6 The Wall of Respect
From February 25th until July 30th, 2017 The Wall of Respect will be on display for all to see through curators Abdul Alkalimat, Rebecca Zorach, and Romi Crawford. The mural can be found on the front wall of the Chicago Cultural Center representing Chicago’s Black South Side Communities. Each painting chronicles the Black Culture and Arts. 14 painters, designer, and photographers have collaborated together to create the great Wall of Respect.
#7 Candida Alvarez
From April 29th through August 6th, 2017 at the Chicago Cultural Center artist Candida Alvarez will be on display by guest curator Terry Myers. Candida Alvarez is a Chicago-based painter since 1988. For over thirty years Alvarez has specialized in abstract representation! This exhibition is the first major survey of the artist's career and will primarily focus on the Alvarez’s work from 1975 to current.
#8 The Chicago Farmers Market
Country Financial opens the Chicago Farmers Market at the Daley Plaza on May 11, 2017! This market runs from May until October not only at the Daley Plaza but also at participating locations across downtown Chicago. The Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events aka DCASE manages a portion of the markets where they are set to sell only flowers, plants, fruits and vegetables. Other markets feature local artisan foods, pre-prepared meals, and music programming.
#9 The Millennium Park Summer Workouts
Each Wednesday and Saturday from June 3rd to September 2nd on the Great Lawn of the Millennium Park 9 free yoga, pilates, tai chi, and zumba workouts will be offered! Come get your sweat on with the rest of the city.
#10 The Millennium Park Summer Music Series
On select Mondays and Thursdays from June 12th until August 17th, 2017, free musical performances will take place at the Jay Pritzker Pavilion in Millennium Park. Bring a picnic and grab a seat! The free tunes will last all summer long.
#11 The Millennium Park Summer Film Series
Every Tuesday from June 13th until August 29th, 2017 popular feature films will be projected into the Jay Pritzker Pavilion at Millennium Park. Join us with a blanket & snacks and enjoy free movies throughout the entire summer!
#12 The 21st Annual Chicago Summer Dance
On select Fridays and Sundays from June 23rd until September 10th, 2017, on the Spirit of Music Garden at Grant Park & on select Saturdays and Thursdays from July 13th until September 14th, 2017, in participating Neighborhood Parks - the annual outdoor live music and dancing series will take place. Chicago Summer Dance is the United States largest series to date. Dancers of all ages, shapes, sizes, and skill levels are welcome to take part in the elementary, one hour dance lessons put on by several rotating professional dance instructors! After the free lesson, live music and dancing will commence.
#13 The 37th Annual Taste of Chicago
From July 5th until the 9th, 2017, Taste of Chicago will take place at Grant Park. Taste of Chicago is a foodie haven! This free outdoor food festival will feature each corner of Chicago’s delectable cuisine. Family friendly concerts as well as a various array of enjoyable activities will also take place at the festival.
#14 The 4th Annual Fifth Star Honors
On August 28th, 2017 at Millennium Park, Chicago will celebrate the fourth annual Fifth Star Honors. This free awards show honors the famous and highly regarded Chicago artists and cultural centers with video commendation as well as live performances.
#15 The 59th Annual Chicago Air and Water Show
On August 19th & 20th, 2017 Shell Oil Products U.S. brings us the 59th annual Chicago Air and Water Show! The show will take place on North Avenue Beach and feature civilian as well as military aerobatics, historical aircrafts, parachute teams, and simulated water rescues. Not to mention, the Chicago Air and Water Show is a no cost admission event!
#16 The 39th Annual Chicago Jazz Festival
From August 31st until September 3rd, 2017, the 39th annual Chicago Jazz Festival will be held in Millennium Park as well as the Chicago Cultural Center. This Labor Day Weekend tradition is a favorite among Chicago natives! The free festival features several live performances by some of Chicago’s very own highly talented Jazz enthusiasts, Jazz artists, and International Jazz Legends.
#17 The 19th Annual World of Music Festival Chicago
From September 8th until the 24th, 2017, the 19th annual World of Music Festival in Chicago will take place! Several award-winning artists will come from around the world to play in our city-wide, free, multi-venue festival. Over seven hundred & fifty artists and eighty ensembles have participated in the event since its birth nineteen years ago.
#18 The 2nd Chicago Architecture Biennial
From September 16th until December 31st, 2017, the 2nd Chicago Architecture Biennial will be held at the Chicago Cultural Center among other various locations throughout the city. The Chicago Architecture Biennial is North America’s biggest international showcase of contemporary architecture. The first Biennial was held in 2015 and over five hundred thousand visitors came to view the free exhibitions. This year we expect no less of a turnout with around one hundred & twenty architects attending from all over the world.
#19 The McCormick Tribune Ice Rink
The opening of the McCormick Tribune Ice Rink 9 in mid November kicks off Chicago’s winter season! Located in Millennium Park, the McCormick Tribune Ice Rink will remain open throughout the winter of 2-17 until March of 2018. Get ready to skate!
#20 The 104th Christmas Tree and Holiday Celebrations
Help celebrate Chicago’s holiday season beginning on November 17th with the official Christmas Tree Lighting! Throughout December 2017 you will be able to join in various activities such as singing holiday carols every friday evening at Cloud Gate Caroling or even visit Santa Claus’s House - available throughout the Christmas season.
#21 Caroling at Cloud Gate
Every Friday from November 24th until December 15th, 2017 at Millennium Park hundreds of people are lead in chorus caroling several holiday classics.