5 Festivals in Chicago Where You’ll Get Funky

By Auston Matta,

Chicago may be known for its long and snowy winters, but the city certainly comes alive each summer as locals take to the streets to enjoy the precious few months of sunshine and warmth. Starting in May, you will find multiple festivals every weekend across the city including these five must-attend events. Thinking about making it a trip? See some more cool places to rest your head and some tips for other interesting stuff to see and do!

Three Million Hungry Americans

Taste of Chicago Food festival

Crowds swarming in for a Taste of Chicago. Photo by Sharan Mahandoss


The Taste of Chicago is one of the most famous festivals in the city and is the largest food festival in the US with more than 3 million people attending the five-day event every year. More than 70 restaurants are represented at the Taste and you can purchase tickets to buy small or large portions from the wide variety of local restaurants. Entrance to the event is free but be prepared to spend $10-$20 sampling some of Chicago’s finest foods.

A more intimate, musical taste of Chicago

Taste of Randolph festival Chicago

Mixing music and munchies. Photo by Charlie Ferreira CC BY

The Taste of Randolph is a more local event held in the West Loop neighborhood of Chicago, an up and coming area that is now famous for its food scene. This festival could not be more different than the Taste. While the focus centers on food – this festival is much smaller and has an intimate feeling, which is perfect if you prefer dodging crowds. Indie rock bands play music throughout the day and you can shop around for handcrafted jewelry, clothing and artwork from local craftspeople. The festival is technically free, but they suggest a $10 donation to enter. If you’re looking for a place to stay nearby, check out the Hotel La Quinta Inn & Suites to really get to experience this cool neighborhood.

 

Local bands & Local brews

Chicago Festival

The Belmont Sheffield street festival abuzz. Photo by Kanwar Sandhu CC BY

The Belmont Sheffield Music Festival is a small music festival is held in the Lakeview neighborhood in Chicago every June. The music is mostly rock from regional bands across the city and you’ll find a mix of food and drink vendors to meet your appetite or craving for the best local brew. Don’t miss a show by 16 Candles, a cover band that plays 80s and 90s music with subtly choreographed performances. Entrance is free with a suggested $5 donation.

Nothing to be Blue about here

Chicago Blues Fest

Chicago Blues Fest brings in big names in music. Photo by Dylan Stark 

The Chicago Blues Festival is the world’s largest, free Blues Festival and for the last 30-years has been hosted in Chicago’s Grant Park. It’s also the largest music festival in Chicago with nearly a half million people braving the crowds to attend. You’ll find free concerts across five stages from both local and well known artists. Performances are large and small here and there are also plenty of food, drinks and family activities so don’t leave the kids at home!

The Boystown showdown

Chicago Pride Parade

Showing some Pride love. Photo by Jamie Bernstein CC BY

Chicago Pride occurs every year at the end of June in the North Halsted neighborhood, more commonly referred to as Boystown. The event starts on Friday afternoon with a 2-day street festival of vendor booths, food and concerts. Entrance is technically free but a suggested donation is recommended. The festival wraps up Saturday night to prepare for the pride parade which starts at noon on Sunday. If the weather is warm and dry, the parade can attract a crowd of nearly a million people lining the streets of North Chicago to watch the fantastically decorated floats and marchers parade down the streets during this 3-hour event.

What festival would you most like to visit in Chicago?

*Feature Photo by gingerbydesign CC BY