The best part of summer for me has always been sitting outside at Ravinia enjoying great live music with friends and food. Kids don’t have to mean the end of your musical summers! Lake County is filled with outdoor summer concert series that are perfect for your little rockers, your musical preschoolers or your toe tapping tweens. Put these series on your list and make your own summer concert tour.
5:30-7:30 p.m. Wednesdays June 8-August 3., Chicago Botanic Garden, Glencoe
Children can sing, dance and run around at lively evenings in the garden created especially for them. Featuring the best in Chicago’s children’s music scene, you’re sure to find a favorite. Picnicking is allowed on the Esplanade and there are extended hours for the model railroad garden. Concerts are free and regular parking rates apply.
Don’t miss: On June 29 and August 10 Old Town School of Music will present The Exceptionals, a special sensory celebration created especially for children with special needs.
11:30 a.m.-1 p.m. Wednesdays July 6-August 3, Jewett Park, Deerfield
Pack a lunch and play at Jewett Park while dancing with your favorite performers. Performers will be under the pavilion and families can picnic at tables in the pavilion or surrounding it. You can hear it through the whole playground, which is worth a trip anyway!
6-7p.m. Every other Tuesdays June 14-July 26, Mallard Ridge Park, Lindenhurst
Free entertainment will allow children and their caregivers the opportunity to sing, dance and play together with some of the greatest children’s artists in the area.
Don’t miss: Our favorite Miss Jamie’s Farm on June 26.
Tuesdays July 12-August 2, Viking Park Bandshell, Gurnee
Kids can dance, rock, spin and play in the wide field in front of the bandshell. Performers almost always come into the audience and interact with the children. Concessions are available from the park district or pack a picnic lunch.
Don’t miss: Istvan & His Imaginary Band. Even my reluctant tween had a great time at his show last year and my daughter chose them as her first official “favorite band,” even buying their CD (with her own money!) on the spot.
10-10:45 a.m. Wednesdays June 8-July 20, Ela Area Library, Lake Zurich
Music program for children and families.
Don’t miss: Lake County local Dana McCarthy on June 22.
Of course it wouldn’t be a concert list without mentioning Ravinia! Ravinia not only hosts it’s own kids concert series but at select shows they host a KidsLawn. This family-friendly space on the north lawn is the perfect place to lay out a picnic and let the kids run between interactive exhibits, including large-scale percussion instruments, an “instrument petting zoo,” arts and crafts and other activities. See the website for list of shows featuring the KidsLawn.
So pack your picnic and get ready to rock the suburbs this summer.