With some great events taking place, not to mention warm temperatures and the summer crowds not yet descending on the city, June is a prime time to visit Chicago.
Situated on the banks of Lake Michigan, the Windy City attracts huge numbers of visitors throughout the year, all drawn here by its imposing architecture, great sports and vibrant cultural and entertainment scenes. If you’re coming to Chicago next month and would like to attend an event or two during your stay, we’ve picked out 12 of the best taking place over the course of June.
Hyde Park Summer Fest
One of the most eagerly awaited events on Chicago’s busy social calendar, this fun-packed summer music festival features a stellar line-up of artists and DJs who take over Midway Plaisance public park for two full days each June. The festival is also renowned for its great food and craft beer, with over 50 different vendors and breweries in attendance ensuring that revellers don’t go hungry or dry for long.
Midway Plaisance / 11-12 June 2022
‘Morris and Company: The Business of Beauty’ exhibition
In 1861, William Morris founded Morris & Company, which quickly became renowned for the objects it designed and made for home interiors, including handmade wallpapers, textiles, and furniture. Beyond its aesthetic offerings, the brand was underpinned by a deep philosophical objective: to elevate handmade objects over mass-produced goods and to bring art into the everyday. Comprising around 40 works, this exhibition explores the enduring popularity of Morris’s vision, highlighting the brand’s design tenets and techniques as well as Chicago area sites where the work of Morris and his contemporaries appeared.
Art Institute of Chicago / Through 13 June 2022
Summer Smash Festival
Organised by local hip-hop blog and music video production house Lyrical Lemonade, this is one of the biggest independent music festivals anywhere in the US. Hosting a top-notch line-up of both established and rising rappers and hip hop artists in the vast green expanse of Douglass Park, as well as the array of live music across multiple stages there are also premium bars and a culinary village for revellers to enjoy.
Douglass Park Golf Course / 17 June 2022
‘Treasured Ten: Selections from the Costume Collection’ exhibition
The clothing we wear and the styles we embrace often reveal what we value and what we aspire to, ultimately helping us understand ourselves and examine the world in which we live. From the Chicago History Museum’s clothing collection of more than 50,000 pieces, ten never-been-exhibited ensembles were selected to tell the stories of five distinctive designers – Stephen Burrows, Scotty Piper, Patrick Kelly, Willi Smith, and Barbara Bates. Dating from the 1970s to the 1980s, the garments are expressions of their creators’ experiences and identities. Dressing celebrity clientele as well as everyday people, they produced engaging, conscientious, and stylish designs while contributing their own perspectives to fashion.
Chicago History Museum / Through 16 January 2023
Children of War: Moments of War Horrors through the lens of Photographers
The unimaginable terror Ukrainian children have faced since Russia’s invasion will be on display in this moving exhibit through late June. Whether in an urban apocalypse, on a landmine-laden road, or under a black smoke-filled sky, each image reflects a deeply personal story of loss, destruction, desperation, and the rawest of rage. Exhibit proceeds will go to support Ukrainian children who have been orphaned by the invasion and now reside in the “City of Kindness” orphanage, Chernivtsi, Ukraine.
Ukrainian National Museum of Chicago / Through 26 June 2022
Chicago Food Truck Festival
Chicago has a thriving street food scene and this festival sees the city’s most casual foodie vendors come together in the heart of the buzzing South Loop district to serve up every cuisine imaginable on earth. The family friendly event also features live music, games and other entertainment to complement the mobile eateries, as well as plenty of outdoor furniture where festival-goers can kick back and enjoy their culinary treats against a backdrop of top tunes.
South Loop / 25-26 June 2022
All-City Visual Arts Exhibitions 2022
From fundamentals like line, shape, and colour to intangibles like communication, creative problem-solving, and risk-taking, the cross-pollination of art and design is undeniable. This year the Design Museum of Chicago is partnering with the Chicago Public Schools Department of Arts Education to offer recognition to hundreds of student artists from across the city. The program provide an opportunity to showcase student achievement in visual and media arts and exhibit their work in highly-visible, public exhibition spaces. On display will be 2D, 3D, and digital artwork by students in grades 9–12 and the elementary exhibition features work by students from pre-K through 8th grade.
Galleries across Chicago / 22 June 2022
Grant Park Music Festival
Another of Chicago’s myriad of great music events, this acclaimed outdoor summer festival sees 10 weeks of concerts, artistic development initiatives, radio broadcasts, and community engagement and outreach programs, all in the scenic surroundings of the Jay Pritzker Pavilion in Chicago’s famous Grant Park. Free to enter, visitors can simply grab a spot on the lawn, set up a picnic, and listen to quality bands with the Chicago skyline as a backdrop. Seating is first-come, first-serve and no admission tickets are required.
Millennium Park / 15 June 20 August 2022
Twerk x Tequila Chicago
Billed as a women’s empowerment event – but with men welcome to attend too – this nationwide event stops off in Chicago this June for a day of letting loose and being yourself at The Promontory live music venue. As the name suggests, the indoor-outdoor event features plenty of twerking and plenty of tequila – with, as you may expect, the latter feeding the former. Artists, musicians and various brands pitch up for the occasion to help create a memorable day for all.
The Promontory / 11 June 2022
‘Life Behind the Wire: Prisoners of War’ exhibition
This riveting exhibition addresses what happens when a soldier, sailor, airman or marine is captured during war and provides insight into the drastic differences that exist between varying prisoner of war (POW) experiences. Through artifacts, archival materials, photographs, and oral histories, the exhibition shines a light on the struggles, challenges, and triumphs of life in captivity. It examines international laws pertaining to POWs, day-to-day life in a POW camp, and individual reflections of life as a POW, illustrating how the experience has changed throughout American military history as well as how POW perspectives fit into the larger narratives of war.
Pritzker Military Museum & Library / Through 1 April 2022
Chicago Blues Festival
A Chicago staple for more than four decades, the annual Chicago Blues Festival draws more than half-a-million blues fans to Millennium Park and venues across the city for multiple days of performances – all free to the public – featuring some of the genre’s most revered musicians, along with up-and-coming and local talent spanning soul, R&B, gospel, rock, hip-hop. Distinguished names to have appeared over the years include everyone from B.B. King and Buddy Guy to Etta James and Koko Taylor.
Venues across Chicago / 9-12 June 2022
Art on theMART
Said to be the largest permanent digital art projection in the world, Art on theMART returns to Chicago this spring, featuring a pair of art projections centred around climate change. The first, Floe, is a fluid, movement-centric work created by Chicago native and choreographer Carrie Hanson, while the second is, Choral, a colourful audiovisual project that juxtaposes images of a diverse variety of coral species with the sounds of a droning electronic choir, encouraging audiences to appreciate the beauty of these natural ecosystems – and examine the threat they face through warming oceans and other climate concerns.
Merchandise Mart / Through 29 June 2022
‘Alfredo Jaar: The Structure of Images’ exhibition
In our image-saturated and media-obsessed world, this exhibition asks us to consider the stories that remain untold. Employing images, lights, and mirrors, the exhibition by Chilian-born artist, architect, photographer and filmmaker Alfredo Jaar shines a light on subjects who are often under-recognised. The works on display range in scope and subject, from an Ethiopian refugee amid the Eastern Sudan crisis to overlooked women including human rights lawyer Shada Nasser, author and activist Nawal El Saadawi, and politician Camila Vallejo. Featuring a selection of works and installations that span three decades, the exhibition showcases Jaar’s critical approach to addressing injustice in our world.
Museum Of Contemporary Art Chicago / Through 3 July 2022
By Paul Joseph