10 Awesome Festivals to Check Out on Chicago’s Northside This Summer
Welcome to 2021, where Chicagoans are finally vaccinated and ready to party. One of the best parts of a Chicago summer is all the epic outdoor activities that pop up all over the city. You will hear residents say that living in Chicago during summer definitely makes up for a Chicago winter.
Now that it’s becoming safe, the best activities are already on the calendar for the upcoming months. The north side of the city is blossoming with festivals and other events that feature live music and the scariest thing of the past year – a crowd of people. So buy your expensive beer and squeeze through the crowd to the front; there’s a lot to see this summer.
Music Box Garden Movies
Something trending last summer in the midst of social distancing was drive-in movies and outdoor spaces where you can keep your distance and still have fun. Now that it’s safer, drive-in movies are back again and featuring even cooler events that still promote safety and having fun.
The Music Box is a historic Chicago landmark theatre that seats about 700 people, and it’s still standing today with its original architecture. Their Garden Movie series is running from Friday, May 7th, 2021 to July 1st, 2021, and will occur in their outdoor seating area. They plan to play various movies and noted that their space and equipment are enhanced for a better experience than ever. Check out their movie schedule here.
Wicker Park Fest
An accumulation of all the incredible things the neighborhood Wicker Park has to offer, Wicker Park Fest’s website truly says it best- “one of Chicago’s most anticipated summer festivals, and dubbed “Chicago’s Best Street Festival of the Summer ” by the Chicago Tribune.
Wicker Park Fest is one of Chicago’s top-drawing festivals, attracting visitors from across Chicagoland and the country with its fantastic music line-up. Wicker Park Fest reflects the neighborhood’s rich musical heritage, vibrant nightlife, and acclaimed restaurants.
Building on the area’s unique character, the weekend celebrates the neighborhood with eclectic music (over 50 bands on four stages), great local food, arts and crafts, a kids’ area, and retail vendors.” The festival will be held July 23rd -25th, make sure to check out their event list here.
Another fantastic neighborhood on Chicago’s northside celebrating its rich history and locals, Jeff Fest, is located in Jefferson Park out west and features “great tunes, tasty foods, family fun and more at the 20th annual summer happening”. With a 20 year long history, this is always a local favorite and is a nice place to hangout for a weekend of chill fun. Bring the kids, bring the whole family because this event has a little bit for everyone. Running July 30th through August 1st, you can check out how to get there and other information on their website here.
Bucktown Neighborhood Garden Walk
For those of us who are looking for a little more chill event to hangout at this summer, look no further than the Bucktown Garden Walk. If you’re looking to enjoy beautiful plants and local artists, you will not be disappointed in what the garden walk has to offer.
“Picture yourself meandering through Bucktown viewing urban gardens, hearing music, watching a visual artist create their art, and stopping off at your local store for a BNGW special… We will provide a guide of public art, landmarks, schools, churches, parks, and other notable places for Chicago residents and visitors to view at their leisure.” The garden walk will be on July 17th, 18th; all you need to know is available on their website.
A party that Chicago is known for, Market Days in North Halsted (previously known as Boystown) is one of the events at the center of pride month in June. Usually taking place there, it is currently pushed back just slightly to August to encourage everyone to get vaccinated over the summer and end it with a bang.
Market Days is a unique and historic event celebrating the LGBTQ+ community and bringing people together to have fun and spread kindness.
“Since the first Market Day in August, 1982, the LGBTQ+ positive event has grown from a handful of folding tables and chairs on the sidewalk, to a half-mile long, annual summer ritual on Chicago’s North Halsted Street from Belmont to Addison, featuring all-day lineups of live music on 5 stages, 300 vendors, arts, crafts, wares, summer food & drinks, hot international DJs, dancing in the street, sponsor activations and more.
A $15 recommended donation for entry supports the festival entertainment cost, local charities, programming, and maintenance in the community.” Check here for updates and more info, but as of right now Market Days is scheduled for August 6-8 2021!
Glenwood Arts Fest
All the way in the most north neighborhood of Chicago, the Glenwood arts fest is more than just a simple outdoor event, it has always been known for its incredible food pop up tents, and the art that people bring for you to peruse, look at and enjoy, and even purchase.
Their website invites you, saying that the event is a “ free, weekend-long arts festival featuring 120+ artists, open studios, and live entertainment on two outdoor stages. Attendees view and purchase handmade artworks directly from the creators. The Fest brings free live music, performances, and art demonstrations — along with street food and craft beer from local merchants on the cobblestone streets of the Glenwood Avenue Arts District in Chicago’s historic Rogers Park neighborhood.” Watch for updates here, but the event is currently scheduled for August 20-22nd this year.