Events in Chicago – Chicago Events Calendar
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December 2017

Chicago Architecture Biennial

September 16 – January 7 / Venues across Chicago

The largest international survey of contemporary architecture in North America, the Chicago Architecture Biennial draws more than half-a-million visitors who come to admire the cutting-edge ideas of 120 architects and firms from more than 30 countries.

Winter WonderFest

December 1 – January 7 / Millennium Park Plaza

This annual indoor winter carnival features a whole host of family-friendly, fun-packed activities including a toboggan tunnel, ice-skating rink, winter mini golf, 15-foot “snow tubing” hill and various carnival rides.

Caroling at Cloud Gate

December 1 – 15 / Commodore Barry Park

Large numbers of singers from choral groups across Chicago take part in this annual holiday tradition. After the singing of classic carols, visitors don their skates and hit the ice at the Millennium Park McCormick Tribune Ice Rink.

Music Box Christmas Show

December 9 – 24 / Music Box Theatre, Wrigleyville

Celebrate the festive cheer by catching some classic Xmas movies at the Music Box Christmas Show. Don’t miss the singing of Christmas carols with your fellow patrons during the intermission.

Renegade Craft Fair

December 2 – 3 / Bridgeport Art Center, Bridgeport

Arts and crafts lovers can pick up an eclectic mix of handmade trinkets at this mega annual fair. It’s the perfect place to find Christmas gifts and maybe a little something for your mantelpiece at home as well.

January 2017

The Chicago Sketch Comedy Festival

January 11 – 20 / Stage 773 , Lake View

Said to be the largest sketch comedy festival in the country, this mirth-filled event presents a packed line-up of hilarious performers that will make you forget about those icy temperatures outside.

Cubs Convention

January 12 – 14 / Sheraton Chicago Hotel & Towers, Streeterville

Dedicated fans off the Chicago Cubs baseball team can interact with players, coaches and alumni, while attending Q&A sessions and checking out interactive exhibits at this annual Convention.

Donut Fest

January 28 / The Chop Shop, Wicker Park

Fans of the humble, but oh-so-tasty donut will want to head to Chicago’s famous Chop Shop multi-purpose venue for a day of celebrating everyone’s favourite circular, sugar-coated pastry. Be sure to bring your appetite.

Handmade Market Chicago

November 11 – March 10 / Empty Bottle, Ukrainian Village

Held across five months, this much-loved market makes for a great, atmospheric New Year activity, featuring more than 30 venders selling their homemade wares in a celebration of the local and the artisanal.

Chicago Ale Fest

January 20 / Grand Ballroom, Navy Pier

Fans of craft beer can sample up to 150 variations at this fun-filled Ale Fest that takes place at Navy Pier’s Grand Ballroom. There’s also food trucks and DJ music among the entertainment.

February 2018

BeadQuest

February 17 / Wrigleyville

At this annual Mardi Gras pub crawl participants bounce between over 20 bars, partaking in a number of drink and food specials while collecting beads and posing for snaps along the way.

Chicago Restaurant Week

February 1 – 8 / Venues across Chicago

Chicago’s finest restaurants, delicatessens and cafes offer special deals and even more special dishes during this vibrant restaurant festival that celebrates the very best the city’s culinary scene has to offer.

Folk Music Festival

February 9 – 10 / Mandel Hall, University of Chicago

Music lovers come to celebrate traditional music from around the world with a wide programme of concerts and workshops staged at the prestigious venue of Mandel Hall, which forms part of the University of Chicago.

Cider Summit Chicago

February 17 / Naval Pier

Revellers can sample up to 150 artisanal ciders from throughout the world at this bustling cider summit held at Naval Pier. Fear not, there’s also plenty of food samples to line the stomach.

March 2018

St. Patrick’s Day

March 10 / Venues across Chicago

Chicago’s huge Irish-American population come out to celebrate the anniversary of Saint Patrick, the foremost patron saint of Ireland. Look out for bagpipers, Irish dancers and even the Chicago river being turned green.

One Earth Film Festival

March 2 – 11 / Venues across Chicago

The preservation of the planet is the noble focus of this well attended film festival which screens an array of movies exploring eco-themes such as climate change, sustainability and environmental activism.

Chicago Flower & Garden Show

March 14 – 18 / Navy Pier

Green-fingered types flock to this vast show each year, featuring 24 gardens, 90 vendors, cooking demonstrations, seminars, a kids’ activity garden, and plenty more.

Whisky Festival

March 23 / Hyatt Regency Chicago

Master distillers from Chicago and across the US gather at the luxurious Hyatt Regency hotel. Visitors can sample up to 300 whiskeys as well as learn about the craft behind this enduringly popular fine spirit.

Chicago Tattoo Arts Convention

March 23 – 25 / Donald E Stephens Convention Center

Fans of body ink can head to the Chicago Tattoo Arts Convention, featuring live tattooing, sideshows, and a whole range of other activities and events themed around the decorative art of tattoos.

May 2018

Chicago Critics Film Festival

4 – 10 May / Music Box Theatre, Wrigleyville

Now in its sixth year, this annual film fest offers the public a chance to view some of the hottest unreleased films. Check out this year’s most eagerly awaited flicks before anyone else.

Chicago Beer Classic

5 May / Soldier Field, Museum Campus

Enjoy the finest beer the city has to offer while sampling brews from more than 80 participating breweries. Festival-goes receive 48 two-ounce samples, as well as access to exclusive beers, activities and interactive beer-making workshops.

Kids and Kites Festival

5 May / Montrose Harbor, Uptown

Celebrate the arrival of spring at this free, outdoor family-friendly festival where kids can fly a kite or watch expert demonstrations. Free paper kites are provided, but families can also purchase more intricate contractions on-site.

Chicago Zine Fest

18 – 19 May / Plumbers Hall

Makers of DIY publications gather for two days of sharing knowledge, stories and enthusiasm for handmade art. There are panels and talks, while participants can also show off their wares in a giant marketplace.

Mayfest

18 – 20 May / 3100 North Ashland Ave, Lake View

This German-inspired neighbourhood tradition kicks off the street festival season, featuring food and music under a giant tent. Get in the spirit by munching on pretzels, grabbing a brew from the outdoor beer garden and taking in the live music.

Food Truck Social at Lincoln Park Zoo

19 May / Lincoln Park Zoo

Tuck into tacos, grilled cheese, doughnuts, pierogis and plenty more at this annual foodie gathering. Guests can enjoy access to dozens of Chicago’s best food trucks as well as live DJs and admission to the zoo.

Lincoln Park Wine Fest

19 – 20 May / Jonquil Park, Sheffield & DePaul

Sample more than 100 wines from across the globe while listening to classical music at one of Chicago’s newest festivals, now in its second year after a successful inaugural event.

June 2018

Chicago Gospel Music Festival

1 – 2 June / Pritzker Pavilion, Millennium Park

The city’s annual celebration of gospel music welcomes a diverse line-up of national touring acts and up-and-coming local talent for two days of uplifting songs and hymns.

57th Street Art Fair

2 – 3 June / 57th Street between Kenwood and Kimbark Avenues

This juried craft fair features paintings, sculptures, jewellery and ceramics from more than 200 artists. There are pop-up artist talks as well as an artist-at-work area, where attendees can observe the process of creation.

CAKE: Chicago Alternative Comics Expo

2- 3 June / Center on Halsted, Lake View

Each year this hugely popular convention brings together creators and fans of independent comics and small press publications for two action-packed days of panels, workshops and shopping.

Spring Awakening Music Festival

8 – 10 June / Addams/Medill Park, Little Italy, UIC

Chicago’s largest EDM festival returns armed with some of the world’s best DJs and electronic acts for three days of bass drops, pyrotechnics and high-tech light shows.

Chicago Blues Festival

8 – 10 June / Millennium Park

The largest free blues festival in the world brings together a heady mix of living legends and local 12-bar players. As well as the headlining sets, local acts perform on side stages.

Ribfest Chicago

8 – 10 June, Venues across Chicago

Dig into more than 50,000 pounds of ribs and BBQ at this annual celebration of saucy pork. Among the highlights, amateur and professionals alike compete for a coveted rib-eating prize.

Chicago Tribune Printers Row Lit Fest

9 – 10 June / Printers Row, Downtown

Publishers, booksellers, literacy and cultural organisations advocate books and related merchandise across a variety of literary genres, while authors participate in panels and discussion.

Country LakeShake Festival

22 – 24 June / Huntington Bank Pavilion, Downtown

One of the region’s biggest country music events, this festival draws revellers from far and wide. Headliners for 2018 include The Voice judge Blake Shelton and singer-songwriter Dierks Bentley.

July 2018

African Caribbean International Festival of Life

6 – 8 July / Union Park, West Loop

Designed to promote cultural awareness, this festival offers a weekend full of reggae, dancing, soccer, art and mouth-watering Afro-Caribbean food.

West Fest

6 – 8 July, Chicago Ave between Wood Street and Damen Avenue, Evanston

This annual street festival focuses on local offerings and local talent, featuring neighbourhood retailers and restaurants, fine artists and crafters, plus live cutting-edge music.

Taste of Chicago

11 – 15 July, Millennium Park

This granddaddy of food festivals gives visitors the chance to sample some of the city’s best culinary offerings. You can also listen to live music as you tuck into your treats.

Windy City Smokeout

13 – 15 July / 560 W Grand Street, River West/West Town

Grilled meats and country music are the order of the day at this annual festival. Attendees can sample smokey culinary creations from local barbecue restaurants while tapping their feet to the tunes.

Roscoe Village Burger Fest

14 – 15 July / Belmont and Damen Avenues, North Center

If you love succulent, beef patties then loosen your belt and head to Roscoe Village, where you can taste grilled creations from local restaurants while enjoying live music.

Southport Art Festival

14 – 15 July / Southport Ave and Addison Street, Lake View

This two-day festival, brings together a variety of artists and local vendors. Guests can peruse pieces, shop at Southport Avenue stores or get up early on the Sunday to enjoy the annual Gospel Brunch.

Pitchfork Music Festival

20 – 22 July / Union Park, West Loop

This laid-back weekend of musical discovery showcases rising bands, underground legends and mainstream performers with strong independent roots, This year’s line-up includes Aussie psych-rockers Tame Impala and rapper/singer DRAM.