Chicago is a bustling mainstream city with an active nightlife, five-star restaurants, and luxury hotels that cater to an active social scene as well as business and leisure travelers. With a city that is always on the go, it is no wonder that a variety of events in Chicago is scheduled throughout the year. Whether you're interested in spending your Chicago vacation trying new foods, viewing local artwork, or learning about the city's cultural heritage, you should have no trouble finding plenty of events to entertain you.
Chicago summer events kick off in April with the opening of baseball season for the White Sox and the Cubs, whose games continue into the fall, as well as the Greek Independence Day Parade. May activities include the Division Street Fest & Sidewalk Sale, Cinco de Mayo Parade, Memorial Day fireworks, and Marine Week, which honors the men and women of the military.
Chicago summer events in June are plentiful with the famous Chicago Blues Festival; the music, dancing, and food at the Scottish Festival & Highland Games; the Smooth Jazz Festival; and great food at the Taste of Randolph. There is also more fun, food, and music at St. Josaphat Summerfest, as well as water taxis and tour boats at the Taste of the Riverwalk.
During July, Chicago summer events are at their peak, beginning with Fourth of July fireworks celebrations, the Irish American Heritage Festival, and Old St Pat's World's Largest Block Party. Numerous food festivals include the Taste of Chicago Food Fest, Randolph Street Market Festival, and the Taste of Lincoln Avenue. Fairs abound throughout the month, so travelers who are interested in outdoor gatherings should consider visiting the Wicker Park Fair, Gold Coast Art Fair, Mag Mile Art Festival, Chinatown Summer Fair, and Lou Gehrig Day at Wrigley Field. For plant enthusiasts, Sheffield Garden Walk has self-guided tours and the Dearborn Garden Walk has tours of twenty private gardens.
Rounding out the Chicago summer events schedule in August are the Bud Billiken Parade & Picnic, Ginza Holiday, Lincoln Park Arts/Music Festival, Lollapalooza, Air & Water Show Preview Cruises, Ribs 'n' Soul Festival, Greek festival, Indian Cultural Festival, and Latin Music Festival.
September begins the fall season with events in Chicago that have a little something for everyone. The Chicago Farmers Market hosts 70 vendors selling flowers, vegetables, and fruit to multiple neighborhoods. One event in Chicago that has taken place annually for the past 30 years is the Chicago Jazz Festival, which is held over Labor Day weekend and features music from local and national talent along with international musicians. The Taste of Polonia, also occurring on Labor Day weekend, celebrates Polish food, music, and beer. Celtic Fest Chicago features Celtic instruments and music, as well as the opportunity to learn Celtic dancing, and takes place during the weekend following Labor Day.
During the fall, events in Chicago often coincide with the holidays. In October, one of the many Chicago events celebrated is Halloween. Businesses, streets, and parks are decorated throughout the city and a special event in Chicago takes place at Daley Plaza: the Halloween Franken Plaza and Halloween Parade. This event in Chicago is fun for the whole family as scary faces and pumpkin patches descend on the city. Two additional Chicago events, the Country Music Festival and the Chicago Marathon are held each year in October.
The month of November prepares Chicagoans and visitors to the city for two spectacular Chicago events. The first is the Lights Festival and Parade, and the second is the Thanksgiving Parade. At Daley Plaza, Santa's House opens in preparation for the Christmas holiday.
December has its own events in Chicago beginning with the Holiday Sports Fest, Chicago Theatre Tour, Midwest Film Festival, and Santa's House, which is open every day through December 24 and provides an opportunity for kids to visit Santa and see the beautiful Chicago Christmas tree on display.
Top image: swinfinfan (flickr), CC BY-SA 2.0