15 Can't-Miss Summertime Festivals


Ah, summer in Chicago. If it seems like there's a fair or festival every week somewhere in the city and suburbs, that's because there is. But you can't be everywhere, and little feet are good for only so many steps, so we've picked our fifteen not-to-miss summer fests.


Taste of Chicago

It's going to be smaller this year, but the city of Chicago is still promising plenty of yummy eats for visitors. If you'd like to expose your picky eater to a variety of foods, check out "taste portions." Each booth has two choices of smaller-serving food items that cost only two or three tickets, so you can get a kid-size portion. But if you don't think your picky toddler is going to eat anything you buy, go ahead and pack the food and drink they'll eat-the entry-point guards will check bags, but they're looking for alcohol, not juice boxes. Go early to beat the crowds.


Retro on Roscoe

One of the city's best, Retro on Roscoe has all the usual trappings of a neighborhood fest (live music, artisan tables, food vendors) plus the famous Windy City Chili Cook-Off, a vintage car corner and a great kids' area, open noon to 6 p.m. both days, with balloon artists, inflatables and face-painting.



The acts at the kid-friendly stage of Lollapalooza may be more PG in content than the main stage, but don't be fooled: This is a rock concert. This three-day interactive music experience features a lineup of family-friendly rock and activities including music and dance workshops.

Our Review

Liz DeCarlo says:
" If you're planning to visit Kidzapalooza in August, let your kids start growing their hair out now so there's something for the punk rock ... " Read more

Naperville Ribfest

Fest features a BBQ contest with several rib vendors, food ranging from ribs and hot dogs to salads, snacks, desserts and drinks, two live music stages, special events, and fireworks.  Family area features carnival rides, inflatables, circus tricks, magic show, face painting, petting zoo and live performances.


Eyes to the Skies Balloon Festival

There's nothing more beautiful than the glow of balloons taking off at dusk. Add in some carnival rides, entertainment and food, and you have the makings of a memorable family outing.


Chinatown Summer Fair

Iconic annual celebration of Asian culture includes parade, arts and crafts and food, and while you're there, we've got you covered with our Tour of Chinatown for Little Feet.


Fiesta del Sol

Enjoy Aztec dancing, local art exhibits, craft workshops, a children's area with read-out-loud sessions, free books, games and educational activities, plus live entertainment, Pilsen School Expo, indoor soccer tournaments, free health screenings and food.


Chicago Air and Water Show

This Chicago classic has something for everyone--from screeching fighter jets to the chance to cool off in the lake while you watch. Get there early to get a good seat, and don't forget plenty of water and sunscreen.


Bud Billiken Parade, Picnic & Festival

Parade kicks off at 10 a.m. and features bands, drill teams, dance teams and car clubs. At the end of the parade route, there is a picnic with entertainment, food and music.


Bristol Renaissance Faire

Take a trip through 16th Century England. Kids will love the kingdom just for them, with sandboxes, pirate ships and a kids quest all their own.


Chicago SummerDance

Put on those dancing shoes and head to Grant Park for an evening of music and laughs. The series offers free, introductory one-hour dance lessons by professional instructors followed by music and dancing. The diverse musical lineup showcases dance styles from all corners of the globe.


Taste of Greece

A fest filled with Greek food? Enough said!


Lincolnshire Art Festival

While moms and dads check out the artwork, there are plenty of activities just for the kids.


Tall Ships Chicago

Tall Ship's Parade of Sail kicks-off the festivities on Lake Michigan, showcasing numerous tall ship vessels from around the world, including Norway and Canada.


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