Chicago Feminist Film Festival
With equal rights a hot-topic right now, this festival is very much on-trend. Across three days. visitors can see movie screenings tackling issues of gender, sexuality, race, and other forms of inequality.
Chicago Polar Plunge
Join thousands of brave and fearless souls as they wade into the cold waters of Lake Michigan, all in the name of charity. Or simply watch from shore and join the after party with lashings of music and food.
Chicago Beer Festival
Lovers of the amber nectar can come and enjoy a huge array of beer tastings, along with foodie offerings and pumping live music. The festival is open to people aged 21 and over.
Dyeing of the Chicago River
A tradition since 1962, representatives of the Journeymen Plumbers Local Union 130 pour dye into the Chicago River to mark St. Patrick’s Day, turning the water a bright shade of green. Snag a spot along the Riverwalk for the best views.
South Side Irish Parade
Unlike Chicago’s downtown parade, this annual St. Patrick’s Day celebration actually takes place on the holiday it honours. Visitors can come and marvel at a procession of floats, bagpipes and marching bands.
Chicago Flower & Garden Show
Mark the arrival of spring in Chicago at this popular show, featuring horticulture-themed seminars, manicured gardens, hands-on projects for kids, cooking demos, and an array of plant-related souvenirs to peruse and purchase.
Holi Festival of Colors
The Chicago edition of this annual globe-trotting festival features Indian music and performances Wear a white shirt that you’re happy to be permanently stained if you fancy joining the traditional throwing of coloured powder.
Shake off the winter cobwebs by embarking on an 8k run, or a 2-mile walk, along with thousands of participants dressed up in St Patrick’s Day green . Then join a post-race party, featuring live music and refreshments.
Chicago European Union Film Festival
Movie lovers will descend on the Gene Siskel Film Center for more than 60 new feature film screenings hailing from the 28 (soon to be 27?) nations of the European Union.
Latino Film Festival
See over 100 films from Latin America, Brazil, South America, Spain, Portugal, and the U.S. during this action-packed film festival that focuses on Latin-language movies.
With a vast number of Chicago restaurants and breweries taking part, each offering their own bacon-themed dish or drink for the occasion, this bacon extravaganza is heaven for lovers of delicious piggy treats.
Chicago Comedy Film Festival
Funny feature films, short films, and student films bring lovers of comedy together for this hugely popular annual mirth fest which celebrates humour on the silver screen.
International Game Night
Play traditional games and purchase ice cream sundaes, German beer, and international food on the fifth floor of the Dank Haus German American Cultural Center.
Industry leaders descend on this show, which features 400 vendors showcasing high-end audio equipment such as headphones, speakers, turntables, musical instruments and amps. There are also multiple listening rooms, live concerts, and lectures.
Heroes & Villains Fan Fest
For three full days, visitors can celebrate comics, sci-fi, TV, and movies with guest actors, panel discussions, costume contests, role-playing, and numerous vendors.
Malott Japanese Garden Spring Festival
Learn about children’s celebrations in Japan, listen to koto harps and shakuhachi flutes, hear folktales, and watch a tea ceremony at the Chicago Botanic Garden.
The Chicago Nerd Comedy Festival
If you love comedy about nerdy subjects like Star Trek, Dungeons and Dragons, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and Jane Austen, this festival will leave you begging for more.
Polish Constitution Day Parade
Celebrating the ratification of the Polish constitution way back in 1791, this fun-packed annual occasion is billed as the biggest Polish parade outside of Poland.
Chicago Beer Classic
Hundreds of mouth-watering beers, delicious food vendors, plus games and other activities can be found on the green grass of Soldier Field. For ages 21 and over.
Come and join this full day of student art, live performances, fashion shows, original game design, and literary readings in and around Columbia College. Admission is free.
Chicago Antiques + Art + Design Show
This action-packed show plays host to more than 100 vendors of fine antiques and decorative & fine arts on Floor 7 of the Chicago Merchandise Mart. Pick up gifts and souvenirs or simply admire the wares on display.
Lincoln Park Wine Festival
Taste more than 80 wines at this acclaimed festival, where you’ll find tented wine and food pavilions, live music, and an array of creative crafts.
Billed as the largest Midwest anime, manga, and Japanese popular culture convention, this event draws a global crowd of Anime lovers, industry professionals and media.
Día del Niño Family Festival
Celebrate Mexican culture and family health at this fun-filled, one-day festival. Amble around Harrison Park with children in superhero costumes, followed by games, art, health screenings, and fitness activities.
Chicago Ale Fest
More than 80 craft breweries pitch up with 200 beers, much to the delight of all who attend. There’s also live music and restaurant food on offer.
A ticket to this event at Chicago’s at St. Michael’s Church includes 20 varieties of chicken wings, plus a beverage (beer, wine, or soda). There’s also live reggae music to enjoy.
Underground Film Festival
Independent, experimental, and documentary films from around the world are shown at this popular annual festival, with many screenings followed by buzzing after-parties.
Chicago Blues Festival
One of the world’s most renowned Blues Festivals, this acclaimed event brings top talent to Millennium Park, with the music continuing late into the night at city clubs. Admission is free.
Spring Awakening Music Festival
Drawing some 85,000 revellers each year, this pumping music festival plays host to the very best in electronic dance music (EDM), with some of the world’s top DJs appearing. There are also multiple food trucks.
Printers Row Lit Fest
Shop from hundreds of booksellers, attend a myriad of literary events and get books signed by their authors at this popular festival, said to be the largest free outdoor literary festival in the Midwest.
Brave the crowds, heat, and smoke to witness the crowning of Chicago’s best BBQ, a title contested by 13 Chicagoland restaurant. There are also numerous live bands and a weekend kids’ area.
This huge weekend street festival celebrates gay and lesbian pride with dance and pop music on three stages, plus vendors of food, drinks, and arts & crafts.
Taking place under two large tents, this fun-packed festival features a veritable feast of German food, music and dancing in honour of German culture and heritage.
The first edition of this beer festival centres around a Norwegian farmhouse ale yeast called kveik that recently became available to US brewers. Come and sample a line-up of local breweries who’ll all be showcasing their creations at the festival.
Chicago Bike Revolution
This beer and biking festival will feature a bike parade to kick off the day, plenty of cold beverages and stage music, plus an appearance from local marching band Mucca Pazza
Renegade Craft Fair
Craft makers from across the nation will be selling their handmade art and wares, including jewellery, pottery, prints, T-shirts and more, at this bustling two-day fair.
Riot Fest once again brings a superb line-up of rock, hip-hop and punk acts to Douglas Park for a three-day carnival of music. Headliners this year will include Blink-182, Slayer, Flaming Lips, and Patti Smith.
The International Exposition of Contemporary and Modern Art returns for 2019, hosting more than 100 of the world’s prominent contemporary galleries and their towering installations, sprawling canvases and intriguing sculptures.
312 Block Party
Goose Island’s annual end-of-the-summer soirée will once again feature a top notch line-up of performers, along with food truck fare and plenty of beer.
Cooking demos, tasting pavilions, wine sampling and local celebrity guest appearances are just small snippets of what you’ll discover at this 3-day foodie extravaganza.
One of Chicago’s biggest craft beer festivals sets up in a helicopter hanger this year, offering more than 150 different brews to taste over the course of an afternoon. There’s also a homebrew competition and plenty more.
Hyde Park Jazz Festival
With a strong focus on local performers, this acclaimed festival takes over venues throughout the South Side neighbourhood, welcoming two days of top class jazz shows from a diverse mix of names from Chicago’s vibrant jazz scene.
Pick up some delectable apple pie and cider, treat your ears to local music, and let the little’uns loose in the kids’ zone at this fun-filled 2-day festival.
Chicago Ultimate Women’s Expo
Women of all ages are invited to come and listen to celebrity speakers, observe chef demos, and browse beauty and health products from hundreds of vendors at Rosemont Convention Center.
ACE Comic Con Midwest
Every year comic fans flock to this two-day event featuring superheroes, comic creators, WWE wrestling superstars, panel programming, and 100+ vendors flogging their comic-themed wares.
Whether you want to participate or watch from the sidelines, this is one of the world’s most famous marathons, with spectators lining the route that starts and ends in Grant Park. There’s also a post-race party in Butler Field.
Bacon & Beer Classic
Come and savour a huge array of bacon-inspired treats rustled up by local restaurants, as well as lashings of locally produced craft beer, music, and interactive games.
A week dedicated to the power and potential of ideas, visitors will find a diverse selection of talks, labs, and dinners, all featuring inspirational thought leaders from across the world.
Columbus Day Parade
Chicago’s Columbus Day Parade sees some 150 floats, bands, and marching units celebrate the voyage of Christopher Columbus to America in front of lines of captivated crowds.
Chicago International Film Festival
One of the world’s most prestigious film festivals play host to over 150 short and full-length films from across the globe, plus free panel discussions, and an opening night party.
An event that sees flowers meet fashion, some of the day’s main highlights include a dazzling haute-couture runway show. Tickets include exotic cocktails and delicious hors d’oeuvres.
Open House Chicago
For two days only, visitors to Chicago can enjoy a free and privileged behind-the scenes peek at hundreds of Chicago’s most distinguished buildings, including historic edifices and modern day skyscrapers.
Sculpture Objects Functional Art & Design Fair
The premier gallery-presented art fair dedicated to three-dimensional art and design, culture vultures are sure to be captivated by this 3-day event that showcases an eclectic mix of design pieces and art works.
Chicago International Children’s Film Festival
The largest annual festival of films for children (aged 2–16) in the world, this event features 250 films and videos screenings from 40 countries, plus post-film discussions, panels, workshops, seminars, and receptions.
Chicago Humanities Festival
With a theme of “power” for 2019, this festival hosts a series of talks and events that explore the human condition, with participants including leading international thinkers, artists, and performers.
Whisky Live Chicago
Chicago has a vibrant whisky scene, never more exemplified than at this annual festival. Here, a ticket entitles you to a dinner buffet, entertainment, and your own glass for sampling almost 200 different scotches, bourbons, and whiskies.
Wine & Food Experience
Dedicated gastronomes can come and watch cooking demos by celebrity chefs, and sample food, wine, beer and spirits served up by local and national chefs and mixologists.
Magnificent Mile Lights Festival
A perennial family favourite, this fun-packed tree-lighting parade stretches all the way down Michigan Avenue, culminating with a spectacular early evening fireworks display.
Chicago Toy & Game Fair
Guaranteed to keep your little ones entertained for hours, this 2-day fair features an incredible selection of kids toys and games, as well as tournaments, costumed characters, and stage entertainment.
Muscle Car and Corvette Nationals
Petrol heads flock to this indoor showcase of some 500 high-horsepower motor cars that includes several debut unveilings. There are also plenty of kids’ activities to keep the little ones busy.
Free to enter for everyone, Chicago’s annual Thanksgiving Parade features a whole host of giant balloons, colourful and creative floats, and tub-thumping marching bands.
Made in Chicago
Held three times a year, the November edition of this free-to-enter fair returns once again in 2019, with 70 vendors showcasing their locally made wares, including clothing, housewares, jewellery, food, and drink.
Chicago Artisan Market
Peruse 100 independent vendors of food, fashion, art, and home goods at the December edition of this regular market. There’s also a dedicated kids’ zone to keep your little ones occupied.
Adults Night Out
Book a babysitter, leave the kids at home and buckle up for a truly unique zoo experience for adults. There’s animal chats, live entertainment and cash bars.
Chicago Wine Fest
Chicago has a vibrant wine scene and this event gives connoisseurs the chance to sample top class wines, while listening to live music performances and tucking into mouth-watering food.
Renegade Craft Fair
Another of Chicago’s regular arts and crafts events, the festive edition of the free-to-enter Renegade Craft Fair invites visitors to shop from a wide range of independent artisans and chefs.
Come and savour an atmospheric Christmas bazaar featuring authentic Scandinavian food and gift items, plus traditional entertainment, at this popular two-day event.
Bask in the glow of Lincoln Park Zoo’s annual Christmas light display during an evening among the twinkling bulbs while nursing a beer from one of Chicago’s acclaimed breweries. Admission includes zoo entrance and free carousel rides.
Con Alt Delete
This three-day event celebrates Japanese animation and so-called “nerd culture” with a variety of fun-packed games, panels, vendors, dances, and more.
Join over 1,500 revellers for two hours of appetisers and exotic cocktails, plus DJ dance music, all spread across two floors of one of Chicago’s most popular nightspots.
Ballroom Blitz New Year’s Eve Party
See in the New Year in style at this magical party that includes an open bar, appetisers, desserts, all-night champagne, a cover band, and DJ music across multiple rooms.
New Year’s Eve Fireworks
Say hello to 2020 with some stunning New Year’s Eve pyrotechnics at Navy Pier overlooking scenic Lake Michigan. The event is free for all and attracts thousands of fun-seekers every year.
Holiday Flower Show
A large number of intricate model trains wind their way among 700 poinsettias and a Christmas tree during this popular festive flower show. The event is free to enter.
Chicago Boat, RV & Sail Show
Boating fans can come and peruse hundreds of boats, RVs and camping gear, as well as take part in a range of seminars. There’s also a trout pond for kids that will keep them entertained for hours.sta
Chicago Sketch Comedy Festival
Comedy fans are in for a real treat in January with a hugely diverse choice of some 125 mirthful comedy shows to watch at the multi-stage complex, Stage 773.
Fillet of Solo Festival
For over two weeks, literature is brought to life through a variety of solo performances and storytelling at Lifeline Theatre & Heartland Studio Theatre.
Chicago Ale Fest
Come and sample some 150 American craft beers at this one-day event where you’ll also find plenty of food trucks and DJ music. The festival is also repeated each June.
Tomorrow Never Knows
Providing a valuable platform for up-and-coming local indie artists as well as acclaimed national acts, this 5-day event draws visitors from far and wide.
Chicago Restaurant Week
Nearly 400 restaurants take part in this week-long foodie celebration, which sees the city’s eateries offer special dishes and deals for a conveyor belt of hungry patrons.
Featuring gaming, cinema, Asian culture, vendors, speakers, panels, and workshops, Uchi-Con is a veritable mecca for Asian pop culture fans in Chicago and beyond.
Intrepid types take the icy Polar Plunge into Lake Michigan for charity at Oak Street Beach, followed by a fun-filled after party. Spectators are free to watch from lakeside.
Mac & Cheese Crawl
A ticket to Mac & Cheese Crawl gets you seven mac & cheese servings, drink specials, giveaways, and more in River North. The crawl is for ages 21 and up.
Lunar New Year Parade
The free-to-watch Lunar New Year Parade features lion and dragon dances, marching bands, and floats all the way along S. Wentworth Avenue, from 24th Street to Cermak Road.
Billed as “the BEST of the WORST movies ever,” this quirky two-day festival screens a diverse mix of low-budget movies, complete with audience participation.
International Motorcycle Show
Come and discover sport bikes, dirt bikes, scooters, ATVs, expert advice, live entertainment, family activities, and plenty more at the this immersive annual motorcycle show.
Chicago Travel & Adventure Show
Travel enthusiasts can meet and engage with an assortment of industry experts and vendors at this two-day travel and adventure show. Children aged up to 16 go free.
Chicago Auto Show
Come and admire nearly 1,000 brand spanking new vehicles by global carmakers at one of the car industry’s most eagerly awaited annual events.
Chicago Theater Week
Theatre fans will be in their element for 10 days in February as they get to choose from more than 100 plays, with discount tickets available for the occasion.
Cider Summit Chicago
Taste 150 artisanal ciders hailing from across the world, along with delectable food samples in the Grand Ballroom at Navy Pier. The event is open for ages 21 and up.
Chicago Comic and Entertainment Expo
A major event on the comic industry’s annual calendar, this convention brings together fans of comics, graphic novels, anime, manga, video games, toys, movies, and pop culture.
Chicago Jewish Film Festival
Celebrating the contribution of Jewish-themed and produced movies to the silver screen cannon, this festival offers screenings of over 40 films, often followed by talkbacks.
Chicago Golf Show
Hit balls with the golf industry’s latest clubs, take one-on-one full swing and putting lessons from professionals, listen to presentations, and shop for golfing gear at this popular annual show.