15 epic summer concerts in Chicago for teens and tweens

What was your first big concert? Chances are you could answer really quickly. Attending a concert as a tween or teen can make memories that stay with you for a lifetime. As parents, however, we often cringe at the thought of thousands of screaming teens and crazy loud music. That’s how I felt when I took my daughter to her first concert at Soldier Field. Much to my surprise, that night was downright delightful. It was a stadium full of music and joy, and it warmed even my cold, middle-aged heart. Going with your kids to a concert can be a window into their world and a chance to bond. 

Here are some performers coming to the Chicago area this summer whose concerts could be fun for parents and kids alike. When I asked some fellow parents what their adolescents were excited to see, I was pretty amazed by the wide variety of answers and included them all here.

Taylor Swift

June 1, 2

Soldier Field

Shake off the cold of winter and get these highly anticipated tickets. I know a lot of parents who have enjoyed Taylor Swift (or Tay Tay, if you’re tight with her) as much as, if not more so than, their kids. And it’s always fun to see what guest(s) she will include in the show.

Post Malone

June 5

Huntingon Bank Pavilion at Northerly Island

Post Malone “has enjoyed a meteoric rise in hip-hop at just the youthful age of 22,” according to Billboard, and he is hugely popular both on Twitter and on the concert stage. His new album “Beerbongs & Bentleys” releases on April 27. (And from the title you probably don’t need me to tell you that his music is probably best for older teens.)

Harry Styles

June 30

United Center

This former member of One Direction has performed with Stevie Nicks and one of his songs made Obama’s playlist, so he has pretty broad appeal with adults as well as teens.

Pitbull

July 5

Naperville RibFest

Want to see Mr. Worldwide in your backyard? There will be some serious star power in the Western suburbs when Pitbull appears at Naperville’s Ribfest in Knoch Park. With hits like “It’s Going Down” and “Fireball,” the rapper and singer has charisma to spare. RibFest also features ribs, obviously, and a carnival.

Radiohead

July 6, 7

United Center

Radiohead will kick off their 16-date summer tour right here in Chicago. Snatch up tickets if you’d rather listen to “A Moon Shaped Pool” than swim in one.

Imagine Dragons

July 13

Hollywood Casino Amphitheatre

Want your kids to be on top of the world? Get tickets for Imagine Dragons, one of the most streamed artists on Spotify. 

Audra McDonald

July 15

Ravinia

Have Broadway babies in your house? Audra McDonald never fails to dazzle, and a picnic on the lawn at Ravinia listening to her is a great way to spend a summer night. Bonding time with your kiddo makes it even better.

Panic! at the Disco

July 17

United Center

Adults have said nothing but good things about Panic! concerts and the band’s new album, “Pray for the Wicked,” has generated a lot of buzz among both younger and older fans alike.

Niall Horan

July 26

Hollywood Casino Amphitheatre

Former Directioners unite! This singer may be known for “Slow Hands” but you better be quick if you want to snatch up the remaining tickets to see the Irish lad and former member of One Direction. He’s bringing along country music singer Maren Morris, who is pretty popular in her own right.

Lollapalooza

Aug. 2-5

Grant Park

For a musical rite of passage, devote a day or a whole weekend to Lolla. For many teens, this is THE event of the summer. This year’s lineup includes Arctic Monkeys, Bruno Mars, The Weeknd, Jack White, and dozens more bands. It’s not unusual for parents and teens to attend and see some bands on their own and then meet up for others.

Beyoncé and Jay-Z

Aug. 10

Soldier Field

The tickets are pricey, but it’s Beyoncé! Need we say more? No, we need not.

Luke Bryan, with Sam Hunt and Jon Pardi

Sept. 1

Wrigley Field

Concerts at Wrigley are fun, and ACM and CMA Entertainer of the Year Luke Bryan puts on a great show. His latest single “Most People Are Good” may even renew your faith in humanity.

(Kenny Chesney is also headed to Chicago this summer, just tell your kids not to get any ideas from his song “Keg in the Closet.” The Country LakeShake will take place at Huntington Bank Pavilion on Northerly Island June 22-24.)

50 Cent

Sept. 6

Ravinia

The rapper makes his debut at Ravinia this year. That combo may be a bit of a head scratcher, but it should also be lots of fun, just like raising tweens and teens!

Pentatonix

Sept. 16

Hollywood Casino Amphitheatre

This acappella group with more than one billion views on YouTube never fails to delight.

Chicago Symphony Orchestra

Multiple dates

Ravinia

There isn’t nearly as much screaming at these concerts, but the performance of the 1812 Overture does include cannon fire.

Ed Sheeran

Oct. 4

Soldier Field

This concert is technically in the fall, but is worth noting now as you are deciding how to spend your concert funds.


Good to know:

While tickets are still available for many, some of these concerts are already sold out. Check StubHub, where you can sometimes find reasonable resale tickets, especially close to the show date. And let friends on social media know you’re looking, too.

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