By Susan Fong
Editor’s note: Log on to event websites or call before attending to check for scheduling changes and updated health and safety requirements, as modifications are happening constantly due to changing coronavirus (COVID-19) guidelines. In order to manage capacity and maintain health and safety, organizers require pre-registration or, in some cases, proof of vaccinations and/or testing, for many events.
After the 2020 summer of online or canceled events due to the coronavirus (COVID-19), Chicagoans are ready to have fun again. A variety of summertime events are scheduled that will entertain both youngsters and adults. This Summer in the City guide features music, recreation, and other fun activities for individuals and families.
So get out there, Chicago, and enjoy the summer, but practice safe distancing and following the requirements set forth by the City of Chicago.
The 13th Annual Millennium Art Festival, Michigan Avenue and Lake Street, will be held Friday through Sunday, July 16 through 18. Hours are Friday, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Saturday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; and Sunday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Browse artwork, including paintings, ceramics, photography, and furniture, in this juried, city-centric festival showcasing more than 110 artists. Go to https://amdurproductions.com/event/2021-millennium-art-festival/ to reserve a time slot.
The Old Town Art Fair will take place on Saturday and Sunday, June 12 and 13, in the heart of the Old Town Triangle Historic District. More than 200 nationally acclaimed artists will be on hand, along with a garden walk, live music, food court, and children’s corner. Hours are Saturday, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., and Sunday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., rain or shine. Pre-registration is required. Go to www.oldtownartfair.org or call (312) 337-1938.
The Printer’s Row Art Festival, 701 S. Dearborn St. is scheduled for Saturday and Sunday, Aug. 7 and 8, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Held on Dearborn Street from Polk to Harrison Streets, the festival offers a buying opportunity for art lovers of all ages. See art in all price points by painters, street artists, jewelers, upcycling artists, artisans of all kinds, photographers, and mixed media artists. Area restaurants and bars will serve up their Chicago specialties. Go to https://amdurproductions.com/event/2021-printers-row-art-fest/ to make reservations.
The 46th annual Wells Street Art Festival will be held on Wells Street between North Avenue and Division Street Saturday and Sunday, August 14 and 15. Hours are Saturday, 10 a.m. to 10 p.m., and Sunday, 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. The juried festival offers a diverse mix of about 200 artists from across the nation. Enjoy a standalone Remix area on Scott Street featuring unique, eco-friendly work by 20 artisans who employing used and recycled materials. The fest also will offer tasty food from neighborhood restaurants, music, educational workshops, and kids’ art activities. Purchase tickets at https://chicagoevents.com/events/wells-street-art-festival/.
DOWNTOWN AND LAKEFRONT
The Chicago Cultural Center, 78 E. Washington St., reopened to the public with the exhibitions Jeremiah Hulsebos-Spofford: League of Nations and What Flies But Never Lands? Chicago: Where Comics Came to Life, 1880–1960 will open on Saturday, June 19. Visitors will be greeted with new amenities including a reimagined welcome center and learning lab plus Buddy, a new shop created with the Public Media Institute (currently online at hi-buddy.org) to give Chicago’s artists and small manufacturers a place to showcase and sell their goods and artwork. Visit www.chicagoculturalcenter.org for updated visitor information, including schedule.
The center’s Preston Bradley Hall offers the Dame Myra Hess Memorial Concerts, a free, virtual, weekly classical series, on the Wednesdays of June 9, 16, 23, and 30 from 12:15 to 1 p.m. The International Music Foundation presents the series, which highlights emerging solo and ensemble talent. Go to http://imfchicago.org/calendar/dame-myra-hess-memorial-concerts-calendar.
Chicago Greeter and Choose Chicago have resumed free guided architecture, landscape, and public art walks for Chicagoans and visitors. Visits will operate with the following safety precautions: guests and greeters must wear masks at all times during the visit; all participants must maintain six feet of social distance; groups must be four guests or fewer; and greeter visits will avoid heavily populated areas. To schedule a visit or longer tours, go to http://chicagogreeter.com.
Maggie Daley Park, 337 E. Randolph St., is a 20-acre lakefront park and recreation center offering multi-sensory experiences such as the play garden and bungee area. The center of the skating ribbon holds two rock-climbing structures that form a climbing park; these custom-designed sculptural rocks and boulders provide a unique outdoor recreational experience, supported with instruction and supervision by park staff. On the skating ribbon, participants may use their own equipment; nonmotorized scooters, rollerblades, and roller skates are permitted on the ribbon, and masks are required. Enjoy an 18-hole miniature golf course (limited tickets available, until last ticket sold) consisting of unique obstacles and challenging holes for family-friendly fun. The course features several replicas of iconic Chicago structures. For details about further offerings, go to http://maggiedaleypark.com.
Millennium Park is bordered by Michigan Avenue to the west, Columbus Drive to the east, Randolph Street to the north, and Monroe Street to the south. It is open daily, 8 a.m. to 9 p.m., featuring Chase Promenade, with views of Cloud Gate (also known as “the Bean”); Promenade Central; Boeing Galleries and Exhibitions; the BP Bridge between Millennium Park and the Lurie Garden; Crown Fountain; Wrigley Square; and the McDonald’s Cycle Center, featuring rentals and reservation repairs. For more information about park offerings, go to www.choosechicago.com/search/?q=Millennium%20Park or www.chicago.gov/city/en/depts/dca/supp_info/mp_calendar.html.
This year’s Millennium Park Summer Music Series features free weekly concerts, showcasing a broad spectrum of musicians, both established and emerging. Concerts take place Mondays from Aug. 2 through Sept. 13 and Thursdays from Sept. 2 through 16. Shows will run from 6 to 8:20 p.m. Admission continues to be free, but advance reservations will be required for both the seating bowl and the great lawn to manage capacity. Reservation information will be announced closer to the concert dates. Go to www.choosechicago.com/articles/festivals-special-events/millennium-park-summer-music-series/.
Navy Pier at 600 E. Grand Ave. has expanded hours from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. through the beginning of Labor Day weekend. The pier will launch its annual slate of free arts and cultural programs over the summer with ample public health and safety measures in place. All events are subject to change. For a complete and detailed list of activities, programs, and schedules, including fireworks, visit https://navypier.com.
MUSIC AND DANCE
Chicago In Tune is a new citywide festival celebrating Chicago’s diverse and legendary music scene and the 2021 Year of Chicago Music. This month of music will bring iconic neighborhood venues, presenting organizations, and musicians from across the city together to celebrate all music genres and forms—with both free and ticketed events at clubs, concert halls, and beyond.
As part of the fest, the Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events will present four special evenings at Jay Pritzker Pavilion made possible by the Millennium Park Foundation to honor music born and innovated in Chicago. All four concerts run 5:30 to 8:30 p.m., and the schedule features gospel on Friday, Sept. 3, jazz on Saturday, Sept. 4, house music on Saturday, Sept. 11, and blues on Saturday, Sept. 18.
Admission continues to be free, but advance reservations will be required for both the seating bowl and the Great Lawn to manage capacity this year. Reservation information will be announced closer to the concert dates. Lineups will be announced soon. Venues, organizations, and artists may submit Chicago In Tune events by visiting Do312.com/Chicago Intune.
Chicago SummerDance returns at parks throughout the city during August and September, with the Depatment of Cultural Affairs and Special Events taking necessary social distancing precautions. Dancers of all ages and skill levels are invited to take part in introductory dance lessons by professional instructors, followed by live music and dancing. Take the free lessons from a pro, dance, or simply sit back and enjoy the music. Schedule, locations, and other details will be announced in the coming weeks. Dance styles include waltz, tango, kizomba, swing, salsa, cha-cha, and flamenco. Go to www.chicago.gov/city/en/depts/dca/supp_info/chicago_summerdance.html.
The Grant Park Music Festival is a free outdoor classical music series featuring ten weeks of concerts in Millennium Park. Concerts run from Friday, July 2, through Saturday, Aug. 21. The Grant Park Orchestra and Chorus return to Millennium Park with a thrilling lineup of festival favorites, including the Grieg Piano Concerto, New World Symphony, William Tell Overture, and Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun plus plenty of family fun with Carnival of the Animals, classic Broadway, and the annual Independence Day Salute. Reservations are needed for all seating and can be made online or by phone. All seats are free of charge.
For a complete schedule of performance dates, music, visiting artists, and updated health and safety requirements, log on to www.grantparkmusicfestival.com/music/2021-season.
The International Music Foundation returns with Rush Hour Concerts virtual chamber music performances. Each free half-hour concert features top musicians from Chicago ensembles every Tuesday through Aug. 17. Performances begin at 5:45 p.m. For a list of artists, check out http://imfchicago.org/programs/rush-hour-concerts.
Lollapalooza will be held in Hutchinson Field in Grant Park. The four-day music festival runs Thursday, July 29, through Sunday, Aug. 1, on eight stages with more than 170 American and international bands highlighting “alternative” rock, punk rock, heavy metal, hip hop, and electronica. Among the headliners are Foo Fighters, Post Malone, and Tyler. Lollapalooza will feature interactive areas with giveaways, merchandise, a food court, and the Kidzapalooza mini-fest for children running parallel to the main concerts and offering parents and youngsters the opportunity to catch family-friendly music. Go to www.lollapalooza.com/.
Make Music Chicago, known internationally as Fete de la Musique, is a free, citywide, do-it-yourself celebration of the musician in us all to be held on Monday, June 21. The fest will celebrate the Summer Solstice across 800 cities in 120 countries. Unlike a typical music festival, Make Music Chicago is open to anyone who wants to take part. Every kind of musician—young and old, amateur and professional—takes to the streets, parks, plazas, and porches of Chicago to share music of all genres with friends, neighbors and strangers. The event is free and open to the public. To find out locations call (312) 265-0754 or go to http://makemusicchicago.org/.
Merit School of Music is offering a wide variety of summer music classes, camps, workshops, and ensembles for youngsters and adults. The school is at 38 S. Peoria St. Call (312) 786-9428 or log on to http://meritmusic.org.
This year the North Coast Music Festival moves to Seatgeek Stadium, 7000 S. Harlem Ave., Bridgeview, IL. An electronic music fest, the dates are Friday through Sunday, Sept. 3 through 5, beginning at noon. See https://northcoastfestival.com.
Pride in the Park will be held at 280 S. Columbus Dr. at the Petrillo Bandshell in Grant Park. The event returns for its second festive year on Saturday and Sunday, June 26 and 27, from 3 to 10 p.m., in conjunction with June’s Pride Month. The biggest draw will be a nonstop lineup of top national and local music headliners, plus an impressive deejay roster, to wow visitors and get everyone dancing. Pride in the Park features plenty of food and merchandise. Check health and safety requirements on the website. Any changes will be posted on social media, emailed to ticket holders, and updated on the website. Go to https://chicagoevents.com/events/pride-in-the-park-chicago/.
The Chicago Architecture Center (CAC), 111 W. Wacker Dr., formerly known as the Chicago Architecture Foundation, has opened new and updated exhibits in its 10,000 square feet of galleries presenting scale models of new building designs from Chicago and around the world. CAC overhauled its Chicago Gallery, home to the Chicago City Model Experience, to feature new exhibits such as Housing for a Changing Nation, which looks at home design.
CAC also offers new walking tours and Chicago’s First Lady river cruises. The 90-minute river cruise is the most in-depth architecture river cruise available in Chicago.
Celebrate biking during Chicago Bike Week, Friday, June 25, through Friday, July 2.
New to biking and need some tips for safe and convenient riding? Maybe you already consider yourself a seasoned rider and are looking for new ways to have fun on two wheels? Throughout the week, Active Transportation Alliance and other organizers will provide free tips and tricks for riders of all abilities and roll out other fun Bike Week activities. Log on to https://activetrans.org/bikeweek or call (312) 427-3325.
City of Chicago Farmers Markets are held throughout Chicago. Chicago City Markets sell fresh seasonal produce, flowers, prepared foods, unique Chicago-made products, and rare finds at Chicago’s longest running farmers market on Daley Plaza, the historic Maxwell Street Market, and a dozen more community markets in neighborhoods across Chicago. Enjoy a market for every day of the week; most run through the end of October. For locations, dates, and times, go to www.chicago.gov/city/en/depts/dca/supp_info/markets.html.
IN THE NEIGHBORHOODS
The Chicago Children’s Theatre will offer virtual performances of Maybe Something Beautiful, a bilingual story of how art can inspire transformation, even for the youngest artists. The show is geared toward youngsters ages five to ten, and runs through Wednesday, June 30. My Magic Breath also runs virtuallty through Wednesday, June 30, and helps children, parents, caregivers, and teachers harness calming and restorative powers through animated illustrations and performances. The theatre is at 100 S. Racine Ave. Call (773) 227-0180, or log on to chicagochildrenstheatre.org.
The Chicago Park District is offering its Summer of Possibilities summer day camp Monday, June 28, through Friday, Aug. 6 for youngsters. In addition, there will be late summer camps and sports camps for youngsters Monday, Aug. 9, through Sunday, Aug. 29. Register at www.ChicagoParkDistrict.com or call (312) 742-7529.
Chicago Women’s Park and Gardens, 1801 S. Indiana Ave., will offer a Journey Through South Asia on Thursday, July 8, at 6 p.m. featuring live music, poetry, and folktales. Bring a chair or blanket. The Kalapriya Center for Indian Performing Arts organized the event. Call (312) 436-2789 or log on to www.kalapriya.org/events.
The park is scheduled to host the Lakeside Bank Concert in the Park on Tuesday, July 20. Details have yet to be confirmed, so confirm with the Chinatown branch of Lakeside Bank closer to the date. A Night Out in the Park will feature a string quartet on Thursday, July 22. Toddlers, Tunes, & Turtles is scheduled for Thursday, Aug. 5. Call (312) 328-0821 for times and details.
The Chinatown Summer Fair, 2200 S. Wentworth Ave., will be held Saturday, July 17, noon to 10 p.m., and Sunday, July 18, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., on Wentworth Avenue at Cermak Road. This neighborhood street festival, sponsored by the Chicago Chinatown Community Foundation, will open with a lion dance procession at 12:30 p.m., followed by Asian performances (including kung fu demonstrations). The fair will offer a petting zoo and a children’s area at 24th Place and Wentworth. Log on to www.ccc-foundation.org/summer-fair/ or call (312) 326-5320.
The annual Dragon Boat Race for Literacy at Ping Tom Memorial Park, 300 W. 19th St., is scheduled for Saturday, Aug. 28. Dragon Boat Races date back more than 2,000 years to China and remain a popular sport among Chinese and Asian communities all over the world. Started in Chicago in 2000, the Dragon Boat Race for Literacy is a family activity run by Chicago’s Chinatown of Commerce to promote Asian culture and help neighborhood literacy programs. Log on to www.chicagochinatown.org or call (312) 326-5320.
Fiesta del Sol “En Casa” will take place Thursday through Sunday, July 29 through Aug. 1, at the steps of your home. The festival will take a unique approach this year by encouraging people to take part in the festivities while following social distancing guidelines. So Fiesta del Sol “En Casa” is a virtual Fiesta del Sol designed for people to enjoy summertime fun in their homes with family. Fiesta del Sol “En Casa” will consist of regularly planned events spread out through the Fiesta del Sol website (fiestadelsol.org/encasa) and Facebook page (facebook.com/fiestadelsolchi). See www.fiestadelsol.org or call (312) 666-2663.
Glessner House, 1800 S. Prairie Ave., has reopened for tours. Advance tickets are required and purchase constitutes acceptance of Glessner’s COVID-19 safety policies. Tour dates are Wednesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays at 11:30 a.m. and at 1 and 2:30 p.m. Tours by advance ticket only; ticket sales end at midnight the day before the tour. Due to COVID-19 safety procedures, Glessner limits guided tours to four people. All tours begin at the visitors center located inside the coach house facing 18th Street. Private tours for groups of up to eight people can be arranged with advance notice by submitting a request on Glessner’s Custom Tours page. Go to www.glessnerhouse.org for tour schedules, programming, and lectures.
The Printers Row Lit Fest is set for Saturday and Sunday, Sept. 11 and 12. Log on to www.printersrowlitfest.org/ for information.
Taste of Greektown, 300 block of south Halsted Street between Van Buren and Adams Streets. Dates are Friday through Sunday, Aug. 27 through 29. Times are Friday and Sunday, 4 to 10 p.m., and Saturday, noon to 10 p.m. Hellenic pride will take center stage when this acclaimed annual culinary fest on Halsted Street in the West Loop returns for its 31st year. Food and spirits from neighborhood eateries will again be the main attraction, complemented by plenty of music by Greek bands and entertainment such as games for both kids and families. Log on to https://chicagoevents.com/events/taste-of-greektown/.
The annual Little Italy Festa–Taylor Street, organized by the Little Italy Chicago Neighborhood Association (LICNA) and Onesti Entertainment, will be held Thursday through Sunday, Aug. 12 through 15, on Taylor Street east of Ashland Ave. Hours are Thursday, 5 to 10 p.m.; Friday., 5 to 11 p.m.; Saturday., noon to 11 p.m., and Sunday, noon to 9 p.m. Food from award-winning area restaurants, several stages of continuous family entertainment, quality merchandise from Italy, and colorful cultural attractions make this event one of the summer’s most popular. The festa is produced by Ron Onesti of Onesti Entertainment. Email firstname.lastname@example.org, log onto www.oshows.com, or call (630) 962-7000 for updates
Union Park, 1501 W. Randolph St., will host three music festivals.
The Ruido Music Festival is scheduled Friday through Sunday, Aug. 20 to 22, with Latin alternative music headlined by Café Tacuba. Log on to https://ruidofest.com/.
The ARC Music Festival will be held Labor Day weekend, Saturday and Sunday, Sept. 4 and 5, with house music and a new immersive dance music event. The lineup will welcome one of dance music’s most celebrated stars, Eric Prydz. Log onto http://arcmusicfestival.com for the artist lineup.
The Pitchfork Music Festival will run Friday through Sunday, Sept. 10 through 12, showcasing up-and-coming music from around the world along with special performances from touring legends. For more information, go to https://pitchforkmusicfestival.com.
MUSEUMS, GALLERIES, AND ZOOS
Adler Planetarium, 1300 S. Lake Shore Dr., offers virtual programs. Get to know the night sky with Skywatch Wednesday on select Wednesdays for a visual update on what to see in the night sky for the upcoming week. With Sky Observers Hangout, discover what it means to observe something in the sky—and how to see it for yourself—with the planetarium’s astronomy educators. For information and other online programs, go to www.adlerplanetarium.org.
The Chicago Artists Coalition, 2130 W. Fulton St., is presenting three new exhibitions, all open to the public from now through Wednesday, June 16, by appointment only from 3 to 8 p.m. For more information, call (312) 491-8888.
The Chicago History Museum, 1601 N. Clark St., is open Tuesday through Saturday, 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. A new photo exhibit runs through May 2023. Vivian Maier: In Color is a multimedia exhibition featuring 65 color images made during her time as a suburban Chicago nanny from the 1950s to 1970s. Maier took everyday moments and transformed them into something extraordinary. Purchase tickets online in advance. Tickets will be timed-entry, so plan your visit in advance. Visit www.chicagohistory.org for more information and details on permanent exhibits.
The Chicago Museum of Illusions, 25 E. Washington St., (312) 722-6780, is open Monday through Thursday, 10 a.m. to 9 p.m., and Friday through Sunday, 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. Enter the wonderful world of illusion where you can truly experience the impossible. Illusions challenge us to see things differently and reveal much about how our brains interpret reality. The museum’s design encourages visitors to have fun while learning the mechanics behind every illusion they experience. With more than 80 visual and educational exhibits, the museum features holograms, stereograms, optical illusions, and immersive rooms designed to tease the senses and trick the mind. For ticket information, go to www.museumofillusions.us.
The Field Museum, 1400 S. Lake Shore Dr., is open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Thursday through Monday. Enjoy the Griffin Halls of Evolving Planets and Sue the T. Rex and explore 4.5 billion years and 27,000 square feet of evolutionary exhibits. Get to know the many creatures that have roamed the earth throughout history, from single-celled organisms to our extended human family. Experience a variety of fossils, animated videos, and interactive displays that tell the story of evolution. To learn more about this and other temporary and permanent exhibits, call (312) 922-9410 or go to www.fieldmuseum.org.
The Hyde Park Art Center is presenting Metamorphosis by Gabriel Villa and a related virtual artist talk. This exhibition introduces the artist’s new direction in installation and clay sculpture and is available for in-person viewing from now through Saturday, July 17. Advance registration is required via Eventbrite at www.eventbrite.com/e/the-metamorphosis-of-gabriel-villa-artist-talk-tickets-150122730127. The Hyde Park Art Center is located at 5020 S. Cornell Ave. Call (773) 324-5520.
Lincoln Park Zoo, 2001 N. Clark St., (312) 742-2000, has some buildings open, but reservations are required. Learn about animal care, conservation, and community. Make reservations and obtain a complete schedule of events by calling (312) 742-2000 or logging on to www.lpzoo.org.
The Museum of Science and Industry, 5700 S. Lake Shore Dr., (773) 684-1414, is open Wednesday through Sunday, 9:30 a.m. through 5:30 p.m. View the new Marvel special exhibit (admission not included in general admission tickets), Universe of Super Heroes, which celebrates Marvel history with more than 300 artifacts including original comic book pages, sculptures, interactive displays, and costumes and props from Marvel’s blockbuster films. Examine the origins of iconic characters such as Spider-Man, Black Panther, Hulk, and Captain Marvel and see how they have evolved alongside society over the past 80 years, making these characters a pop culture mainstay. For information on available exhibits, go to www.msichicago.org.
At the Shedd Aquarium, 1200 S. Lake Shore Dr., (312) 939-2438, some areas are open and some closed. Stingray Touch and Stingray Feeding are open with social distancing precautions, and Sea Star Touch and Sturgeon Touch are view-only to allow for social distancing. The fish IDs have been adjusted to scroll automatically in order to convey information without touch. The museum also has developed a circulation path to guide visitors through the entire aquarium. Hours can change based on the day of week. For the most up-to-date schedule, log on to www.sheddacquarium.org.
The WNDR Museum has reopened and offers an immersive art and interactive technology experience with installations from artists, collectives, and studios. The museum is at 1130 W. Monroe St. Log onto wndrmuseum.com.