Plenty of fun for everyone as Chicago heads into summer
June 7, 2013

By Nada Shamah

Chicagoans know how to take advantage of our warm, sunny summer days. Enjoy the Gazette’s Summer in the City guide to discover all that our city offers this season and make the most of summertime fun. The guide provides a listing of fun things to do all summer long.

The 49th annual Chicago Air and Water Show will be held Saturday and Sunday, Aug. 17 and 18, along the lakefront.


The 55th annual Chicago Air and Water Show will be held Saturday and Sunday, Aug. 17 and 18, along the lakefront from Fullerton to the focal point at North Avenue Beach. Both shows run 10 a.m. until 3 p.m. For more information, log on to

The U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds, welcoming two female pilots, perform intricate Air Show maneuvers as close as 18 inches apart and often approaching the speed of sound. The U.S. Army Parachute Team Golden Knights will amaze as they jump out of their aircraft at 12,500 feet, racing to the waters at North Avenue at speeds exceeding 120 mph, landing with smiles, and ready to do it all over again.

For more information visit or call 311. If you miss seeing the show in person, a 30-minute highlight show will air on ABC 7 Chicago (WLS-TV) on Sunday, Aug. 20, recapping the weekend’s events.

Millennium Park, Chicago’s fun downtown attraction, is bordered by Michigan Ave. to the east, Columbus Dr. to the west, Randolph St. to the north, and Monroe St. to the south. An awardwinning center for art, music, architecture, and landscape design, it holds the Frank Gehry-designed Pritzker Pavilion, the interactive Crown Fountain, the Lurie Garden, and the hugely popular Cloud Gate sculpture (called “the bean” by locals).

What would summer be without fireworks? Navy Pier will offer Independence Day fireworks shows on Wednesday, July 3, and Saturday, July 6, at 10:15 p.m., and there will be fireworks displays many other nights as well. Log on to for a full list of dates. Navy Pier also offers rides, shops, restaurants, museums, boat tours, the Chicago Shakespeare Theatre, and other entertainment venues. Log on to

Taste of Chicago kicks off Wednesday, July 10, and runs through Sunday, July 14. Taste of Chicago opens each day at 11 a.m. and ends most nights at 9 p.m. Admission to the Taste is free, but tickets are required for concerts and can be purchased behind the Petrillo Music Shell at Jackson Boulevard and Columbus Drive. This year’s musical lineup includes Delta Spirit, Fun, Estelle, Robin Thicke, and The Lone Bellow. For more information see or call the City information number at 311.

Venetian Night, Saturday, July 27, returns in a new location — in 31st Street Harbor at 8:30 p.m. More than 35 boats will sail in a formal parade of brilliant lights and magical melodies. Call (312) 225-6464 or log on to

As you stroll along the lakefront for any downtown event, notice 80 globes, each five feet high, designed by noted artists and displayed from the Museum Campus to Burnham Harbor. The globes feature messages describing how to reduce global warming to stimulate thought and conversation about conserving resources and caring for earth.


The 30th annual Chicago Blues Festival will be held in Millennium Park on Thursday, June 6, and in Grant Park from Friday through Sunday, June 7 through 9. The world’s largest free blues festival, Blues Fest brings people together from all parts of the world in Grant Park with six stages of entertainment.

This year’s festival is jampacked with special treats, opening with headliner Shemekia Copeland, followed by Bobby Rush on Friday, Eddie Floyd on Saturday, and James Cotton on Sunday. For more information go to or call (312) 744-3315.

The Chicago Gospel Music Festival is scheduled for Thursday through Sunday, June 20 through 23, in Millennium Park. Gospel music fans can gear up for performances by Kiera Sheard, Ricky Dillard, and Donald Lawrence. Enjoy a gospel choir showcase on June 20. Also on tap are a health and wellness oasis, an art fair and marketplace, and historic church tours. For more information on the festival and a complete list of performers, visit or call 311.

The 24th annual Chicago Blues Festival will be held Thursday, June 6, through Sunday, June 9.
The Chicago Human Rhythm Project (CHRP) presents the 23rd annual Rhythm World Monday, July 22, through Sunday, Aug. 4, in downtown Chicago. Rhythm World is the oldest, most comprehensive festival of American tap and contemporary percussive arts. Directed by founder Lane Alexander, the event features two weeks of residencies, courses, workshops, master classes, student showcases, tap jams, a cutting contest, and conferences at the American Rhythm Center in the historic Fine Arts Building, 410 S. Michigan Ave. The festival includes concerts at the Jazz Showcase, 806 S. Plymouth Ct., and the Edlis Neeson Theater at the Museum of Contemporary Art, 220 E. Chicago Ave. Visit or call (773) 281-1825.

The 35th annual Chicago Jazz Festival is scheduled for Thursday, Aug. 29, to Sunday, Sept. 1. A favorite Labor Day Weekend tradition, the Jazz Festival promotes awareness and appreciation for all forms of jazz through free live musical performance.

The festival opens Thursday at noon at the Chicago Cultural Center and moves to Roosevelt University’s Ganz Hall at 5 p.m. On Friday, the festival moves to Millennium Park with performances by the Ben Paterson Organ Quartet, the Mike Smith Quartet ,and the Charles Lloyd Quartet. Saturday’s performances include the Frank Russell Band, the Nick Mazzarella Trio, Jason Moran, and Rudresh Mahanthappa. The festival closes Sunday, Sept. 1, with performances by the Julie Wood Quintet, Papo Vazquez, and Donald Harrison. For more information see or call 311.

Chicago SummerDance, Thursday, June 27, through Sunday, Sept. 15, offers free dancing where the Spirit of Music Garden in Grant Park blossoms into an urban dance space. Move to the sounds of 44 different live bands and get into step with dance lessons beforehand.

Glide across the restored 4,900- square-foot open-air dance floor designed by Chicago artist Dan Peterman. Swing, waltz, cha-cha, or simply enjoy the music. Food and beverages are available for purchase at the SummerDance Grill. See or call 311 for times and days of the week.

The Grant Park Music Festival will be held Wednesday, June 12, through Saturday, Aug. 17 in the Jay Pritzker Pavilion in Millennium Park. Acclaimed by critics and beloved by audiences, the Grant Park Music Festival is the nation’s only remaining free, outdoor summer classical music series. Opening night will feature Carlos Kalmar conducting Tchaikovsky’s Fourth Symphony and violinist Stefan Jackiw making his festival debut performing Mozart’s Turkish Concerto.

Ten weeks of performances follow, featuring the Grant Park Orchestra and Chorus and guest soloists and conductors including returning favorites Hannu Lintu, Miguel Harth-Bedoya, Valentina Lisitsa, and Pink Martini. Check the web site at or call (312) 742-7638 for more information.

Made in Chicago: World Class Jazz will be featured Thursday, July 25, to Thursday, Aug. 29, at Millennium Park. All concerts begin at 6:30 p.m. with a short set by young, aspiring musicians from Chicago-area high schools as part of the Jazz Institute of Chicago’s Jazz Links Student Ensembles. The series of six concerts highlights Chicago’s own jazz musicians, who explore everything from the roots of blues and ragtime to big band swing and beyond.

This year’s performances include tributes to James Brown and Jimi Hendrix. See www.millenniumpark.
org or call (312) 742-1168. Rush Hour Concerts presents its 14th annual summer series of free concerts at River North’s historic St. James Cathedral, 65 E. Huron St., every Tuesday evening through Aug. 27. The classical music events begin with a free preconcert food and beverage reception with the artists at 5:15 pm in the cathedral foyer, followed by a 30-minute concert at 5:45 pm. See


Chicago Bike Week runs Monday through Friday, June 10 through 14. On Friday, June 14, enjoy the Bike to Work Rally in Daley Plaza with fellow cyclists, local media celebrities, and live bands; activities from 7:00 a.m. until 3 p.m. The rally features complimentary breakfast for bicyclists, a t-shirt, and complimentary bike valet. For more information see or call (312) 427-3325.

The Chicago Architecture Foundation River Cruisewill be offered through Sunday, Nov. 17. The cruise departs from the lower level at the southeast corner of Michigan Avenue and the Chicago River and highlights 53 historic and architecturally significant sites. Cruising yachts offer open-air upper deck viewing as well as climate-controlled main deck salons complete with full-service bars. CAF-certified volunteer docents lead all tours, offering a lively fact-filled and anecdotal commentary on Chicago’s architecture from the unique vantage point of the Chicago River. Tickets are available online at, at the dock, or the CAF Shop at 224 S. Michigan Ave. Call (312) 922-3432.

Chicago Water Sport Rentals, at the 31st Street Harbor, offers the Flyboard, which allows users to soar over Lake Michigan on a pillar of water, plus aquatic adventure equipment including banana boats, kayaks, paddleboards, and jet skis. Visit or call (312) 924-7979.

The Richard J. Daley Memorial Sport Fishing Derby runs through Monday, Sept. 30. Open to all ages, the derby has no fees, although participants age 16 and older must have a valid Illinois Department of Natural Resources fishing license before submitting a fish to the contest. Officials will award first, second, and third place prizes for various categories based on fish weight in pounds and ounces. Cash prizes go to adults, with fishing equipment prizes for kids age 15 and younger. For more information contact Henry’s Sports and Bait Shop, 3130 S. Canal St., (312) 225-3858, or see

L.A.T.E. Ride 2013 will be held Saturday night, June 29, and Sunday morning, June 30. The L.A.T.E. Ride is among the largest bicycling events in the United States and Chicago’s biggest nighttime bicycle ride. Cyclists meet at Buckingham Fountain and ride 25 miles under the moonlight through the city’s downtown, South Loop, Chinatown, and North Side neighborhoods and along the lakefront bicycle path. The ride benefits Friends of the Parks. For fees and information call (773) 918-7433 or email

Lincoln Park Zoo, 2001 N. Clark St., (312) 742-2000, will host the Blue Ribbon Super Zoo Picnic for zoo members on Friday, June 14, 6 to 8:30 p.m., at Cannon Drive and Fullerton Parkway. Enjoy family fun with a colorful state fair atmosphere including free carousel and train rides, pie-eating contests, bingo, midway games, dancing, and a DJ. Nature Boardwalk runs Wednesdays through September from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m., Saturdays from 9 to 10 a.m., and Sundays from 10 to 11 a.m. An adult must accompany any children who participate. Cost is $20, with discounts for Lincoln Park Zoo members and season, monthly, and unlimited passes.

Grant Park will be the site of a variety of summer music events.
At Twilight Safari, Wednesday, June 26, 6:30 to 7:30 p.m., a zoo horticulturist and an animal expert will lead participants on a leisurely stroll through the zoo at twilight, pointing out interesting behavior by pumas, red wolves, and other animals at this time of day as well as seasonal highlights in the zoo gardens. Participants must be 16 or older.

United Run for The Zoo, Saturday, June 2, offers 5K and 10K running courses and a 5K fun walk through and around zoo grounds. New for 2013 is the Safari Stampede, a mini obstacle course for kids to express their inner animal. Races begin at Cannon Drive and Fullerton Parkway at 8 a.m.; the Safari Stampede for Kids begins at 10 a.m. Yoga at the Zoo runs every Tuesday for adults or for parents with toddlers who will do fun animal yoga poses and engage in activities such as guided nature exploration and reading storybooks.

As part of the Zoo Gardens Series on the Saturdays of June 15, July 27, Aug. 24, and Sept. 21, 9 to 11 a.m., horticulturists will inspire visitors to enhance their home gardens by showcasing the zoo’s grounds. The series covers everything from Midwestern native plants to small space gardening. Each session is $18 and includes a short presentation and a walkabout on zoo grounds. Classes held rain or shine. For more information, visit


The African Festival of the Arts will be held in Washington Park, 51st Street at Cottage Grove Avenue, Friday, Aug. 30, through Monday, Sept. 2, from noon to 10 p.m. Friday and from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday through Monday. Enjoy education, entertainment including music and dance, a wellness area, a books and authors pavilion, a food court, and a quilting pavilion. Log on to

The Bastille Day 5K Run, Walk, and Block Party will be held Thursday, July 11, at 7:15 p.m. at the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum at Cannon Drive and Fullerton Avenue. Following the run/walk, participants will be treated to a free block party with food, refreshments, and entertainment at the museum. Proceeds benefit Mercy Home for Boys and Girls. For more information see or call (773) 755-5100.

The Chicago Arts District Second Fridays Gallery Night, a monthly walking tour of 30 art spaces, happens every second Friday of the month from 6 to 10 p.m. Admission is free; tour starts at 1821 S. Halsted St. For more information call (312) 738-8000, ext. 108.

Chicago Festa Pasta Vino will be held Friday through Sunday, June 14 through 16, in the Heart of Chicago community on Oakley Avenue just south of Cermak Road. Festivities run from 5 to 11 p.m. Friday, noon to 11 p.m. Saturday, and noon to 10 p.m. Sunday. This annual festival transforms a generations-old Italian neighborhood into the streets of Italy with columns, fountains, and statues. Performers in authentic Venetian carnivale costumes will walk the streets and pose for pictures around a working scale replica of the Fountain of Trevi. Sample Italian food from La Fontanella, Bacchanalia, Ignotz’s, and Miceli’s Deli. For more information visit or call (630) 962-7000.

The Chicago Tribune Printers Row Lit Fest runs Saturday, June 8, 10 a.m. to 10 p.m., and Sunday, June 9, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. The largest free outdoor literary event in the Midwest, the fest happens in the Printers Row neighborhood between Dearborn and Polk Streets.

All events are free, but tickets must be reserved in advance for select programs. Celebrity authors will include Tribune Young Adult Literary Prize winner Judy Blume and young adult author Blue Balliett.

Among other noteworthy personalities are the teen sensation and author of Rookie Yearbook One Tavi Gevinson, cartoonist and graphic novelist Art Spiegelman, and Top Chef TV show’s Fabio Viviani. Visit or call (312) 222-3986.

A bocce ball tournament always is a highlight of Festa di Tutti I Santi, held in Victor Arrigo Park, and sponsored by the Shrine of Our Lady of Pompeii.
The Chinatown Summer Fair will be held Sunday, July 21, from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Wentworth Avenue at Cermak Road. The fair features a Lion Dance procession at 12:30 p.m., with Asian cultural entertainment and live music. Enjoy a taste of Chinatown’s many restaurants, items from gift shops, Chinese arts and crafts exhibits, street vendors, and a children’s area at 24th Place and Wentworth. See or call (312) 326-5320.

The Dragon Race for Literacy is scheduled for Saturday, July 13, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Ping Tom Memorial Park, 300 W. 19th St. Teams compete in a fast-paced race along the south branch of the Chicago River on beautifully decorated dragon boats. Enjoy music, food, crafts, and entertainment. Proceeds support literacy programs. See or call (312) 326-5320.

Festa di Tutti I Santi, sponsored by the Shrine of Our Lady of Pompeii, 1224 W. Lexington St., will be held Sunday, Aug. 25. Following the 11 a.m. at the Shrine of Our Lady of Pompeii, a procession featuring the Sicilian Band of Chicago and patron saint societies will lead the assemblage from the shrine to the festa. The price of $125 per table of ten includes $20 of food and activity tickets. There will be a picnic, music, a raffle, kids’ games, and a bocce ball tournament. Musical entertainment will be provided by Josie Falbo, Diva Montell, and Jeorge Holmes. Call (312) 421-3757.

Fiesta del Sol, Pilsen’s annual alcohol- and tobacco-free festival, draws more than one million people yearly. This year’s event runs Thursday through Sunday, July 25 through 28, at 1400 W. Cermak Rd. Festivities include live music by local up-and-coming talent, carnival rides, sports tournaments, an art pavilion for indigenous crafts, and authentic Mexican food and drinks. Fiesta del Sol has become Pilsen’s largest source of revenue to support immigrants’ civil rights and education reform. Representatives from universities throughout the city will attend to speak with families about their children attending college and about financial aid. See or call (312) 666-2663.

The Magnificent Mile Art Festival will be held Friday and Saturday, July 5 and 6, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sunday, July 7, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. The festival turns North Michigan Avenue into an outdoor art gallery with original photography, mixed media, acrylic paintings, woodwork, life size sculptures, 3-D metal creations, blown glass, and handcrafted jewelry. Call (561) 746-6615.

Union Park, 1501 W. Randolph St., will host the North Coast Music Festival from Friday, Aug. 30, through Sunday, Sept. 1, featuring electronic music and hiphop. Log on to

Notre Dame de Chicago parish’s August Fest will be held Saturday, Aug. 17, 1336 W. Flournoy St., and provide entertainment as well as games, raffles, and events for children. Call (312) 243-7400.

Old St. Patrick’s Church World’s Largest Block Party is scheduled for Friday and Saturday, June 28 and 29, 5 to 10:30 p.m. in the West Loop. Enter at Madison and DesPlaines Streets. The block party benefits both church and outreach programs and attracts about 18,000 people annually for mingling and dancing to live music on two stages. Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeroes headline on Friday. For more information see or call (312) 648-1021.

The Pitchfork Music Festival will take place Friday through Sunday, July 19 through 21, at Union Park, 1501 W. Randolph St. Artists Bjork, R. Kelly, and many others will perform. A three-day pass costs $120; single day tickets $50. Log on to

The Prairie District Neighborhood Alliance (PDNA) is involved with several neighborhood events. Sunday, June 9, from 1 to 4 p.m., take a Walk Through Time with a tour of Prairie Avenue houses, starting at the Glessner House Museum, 1800 S. Prairie Ave.

PDNA and Glessner House host Campout in the Courtyard beginning at 4 p.m. on the Fridays of June 28, July 19, and Aug. 9 and ending the next morning. These overnight tent camping events for youngsters ages six through 13 cost $20 for families of two and $25 for families of three or more; registration required, as tent space is limited. The Lakeside Bank Concert in the Park will be held Tuesday, July 16, at 6:30 p.m. at the Women’s Park and Gardens in the 1800 block of south Prairie Ave.

Prairie Avenue walking tours are scheduled for the Sundays of July 21, and Aug. 18, 2 to 4 p.m., starting at Glessner House. Movies in the Park returns to the Women’s Park and Gardens at sundown (about 8 p.m.) on Thursday, Aug. 8. PDNA’s Festival on Prairie Avenue block party will be held noon to 6 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 7, at Prairie Avenue at 18th Street. Call (312) 401-2688 or log on to

The Randolph Street Market Festival at 1340 W. Washington St. is home to the Chicago Antique Market, Indie Designer Market, Modern Vintage Chicago, and the Holiday Market. Browse plentiful vintage items, with more than 200 dealers selling their favorite collectibles, and enjoy live music and food. Dates are the Saturdays and Sundays of June 29 and 30, July 27 and 28, Aug. 24 and 25, Sept. 28 and 29, Oct. 26 and 27, Nov. 23 and 24, and Dec. 14 and 15. Call (312) 666-1200.

Shedd Aquarium offers a new hands-on exhibit, Stingray Touch.
Ribfest Chicago will be held Friday through Sunday, June 7 through 9, from 5 to 10 p.m. on Friday and noon to 10 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. The fest takes place on Lincoln Avenue between Irving Park Road and Warner Avenue, featuring barbecue and music by live bands. The $5 donation benefits the North Center Chamber of Commerce. For more information call (773) 525-3609.

Greektown will host Taste of Greece on Saturday and Sunday, Aug. 24 and 25, noon to 11 p.m., on the blocks of 100 through 400 south Halsted St. Come enjoy fun, games, Greek dancing lessons, and entertainment including the Jessie White Tumblers and three Greek dance groups. Call (847) 509-8050.

Taste of Randolph Street will be held Friday through Sunday, June 14 through 16, at 900 W. Randolph St. and feature food from neighborhood restaurants and cooking demonstrations. Phone (312) 458-9401 for more information.

The seventh annual Taylor Street Festa Italiana, brought to the community by the University Village Association and Vasta & Associates, will be held on Taylor Street east of Ashland Avenue Thursday through Sunday, Aug. 22 through 25. Hear live musical performances, enjoy food, and browse handmade crafts, jewelry, clothing, and accessories. Call (312) 266-3300 or log on to


Located at Navy Pier, 700 E. Grand Ave., the Chicago Children’s Museum features Ready, Pet, Go!, an exhibit about pets and children’s connection to them. Call (312) 527-1000.

Shedd Aquarium invites guests to explore the world of stingrays in a new hands-on special exhibit, Stingray Touch. The outdoor seasonal exhibit allows guests to see and feel these gentle, gliding animals’ texture and movement. Ted A. Beattie, president and CEO, said, “Dipping your hand in the water and running your fingers across the slippery soft wing of a ray is an incredible experience. Stingray Touch creates the opportunity to learn about rays and gain an appreciation for our oceans and ecosystems.” The aquarium is located at 1200 S. Lake Shore Dr. Call (312) 939-2438.