Chicago has plenty to offer by way of festivals, and even if you don't plan your visit around one, you're still likely to have the chance to catch one on the side. The festivals in Chicago run the gamut, from food festivals to an air and water show that is bound to mesmerize viewers, so finding one that fits nicely on your itinerary shouldn't be difficult. As one might imagine, the spring, summer, and fall months are the top times for Chicago festivals, as the cold that winter brings isn't as conducive to creating an ideal festival atmosphere.
From May to September, an excellent array of festivals in Chicago occur, and since most of them are free, you'll have good reason to check them out. Don't forget to watch for special events during some of the other months, however. In October, for example, the two-week long Chicago Film Festival is in full swing, and you might be surprised to know that it's one of the oldest film events in North America.
While the Chicago Film Festival will be ideal for those who love all things movie-related, those who enjoy good food will want to put the Taste of Chicago festival at the top of their list. For two weeks starting in the end of June, this wildly popular festival in Chicago sees millions of visitors who come to eat, drink, and enjoy the entertainment. While the food is the main attraction during the day, the movies and live music performances that begin once the sun sets steal the show at night. The Taste of Chicago is the largest festival in Chicago, so be prepared for at least a little mayhem.
The Taste of Chicago isn't your only option when it comes to food-related festivals in Chicago. There are many to choose from, and some others you might consider include the Taste of Lincoln Avenue, which is a weekend festival that takes place in July in Lincoln Park, and Ribfest Chicago, which occurs over two days in both June and July.
In addition to attending a festival that revolves around mouth-watering food in Chicago, you can also attend one that has music as the focus. The Chicago Blues Festival is a top Chicago music festival, and like the Taste of Chicago, it is held in Grant Park. This two-day event highlights some of the top blues artists of the day and takes place in mid-June. Another great Chicago music festival you might add to your agenda is the Grant Park Music Festival In Millennium Park. The Grant Park Orchestra and the Grant Park Chorus perform routinely during this summer-long festival series, and performances are held at the stunning new Jay Pritzker Pavilion. This pavilion was designed by renowned architect Frank Gehry, which has a lot to do with its becoming a top Chicago attraction in its own right. Also worth considering when it comes to Chicago festivals that revolve around music is Lollapalooza, which is a multi-day and multi-band event that is held in August.
For some, finding art festivals in Chicago will be the aim, and there are quite a few to choose from. Among them are the Magnificent Mile Art Festival, the Humboldt Park Art Fair, and the Old Town Art Fair. While the first takes place in mid-July, the latter two are held in mid-August. Other interesting festivals in Chicago that you might consider attending include Venetian Night and the 26th Street Mexican Independence Day Parade. Venetian Night sees more than 30 illuminated and decorated boats cruising in procession across the Lake Michigan waterfront on a warm night in the end of July. The 26th Street Mexican Independence Day Parade it takes place in September in Little Village, which is a neighborhood adjacent to Pilsen. This lively procession features folk dancers, mariachi bands, and numerous floats. The largest Hispanic parade in the city, the Little Village 26th Street Mexican Independence Day Parade attracts thousands of visitors every year.
These are just some of the Chicago festivals that you will want to keep in mind when looking for fun things to do on your next visit. Even if you don't get to enjoy a festival in Chicago during your trip, there are plenty of other fun things to do, as this Midwest metropolis is full of great attractions. Between the museums and the restaurants alone, you can fill hours. Start planning your Chicago vacation, and see why so many Chicago visitors return time and again.
Image: City of Chicago