Make a loud, joyful (outdoor!) noise

Has your family made the commitment to stay firmly out of doors until roughly Labor Day weekend? You’re not alone. While you’re enjoying all of that fresh air, check out a couple favorite picks for everything musical, for all things celebratory and for the best ways of getting down—while getting out.

Sing the blues

Chicago and the blues just seem to go together like peanut butter and jelly. Another thing Chicagoans love? Their outdoor festivals. The 34th incarnation of the Chicago Blues Festival—now in its new home in Millennium Park—perfects that trio with a blend of traditional blues, R&B, hip hop and soul on four stages. Among the headliners are John Primer and The Real Deal, as well as homegrown Che “Rhymefest” Smith (known for, among other things, his collaborations with Kanye West and John Legend). Whether you go for the Grammy Award-winning artists and crowd favorites or the harmonica lessons from the Blues Kids Foundation, this entirely free weekend is the perfect way to introduce your kids to the kind of music for which Chicago is famous the world over.

June 9-11, Millennium Park, 201 E. Randolph St., Chicago

Make Music Chicago

Since 2011, the longest day of the year has also been the most musical. Make Music Chicago, based on the French Fête de la Musique (and teamed up with 50 cities through the Make Music Alliance), has turned June 21 into a day of musical play. And, unlike other music festivals, everyone is invited to take part, regardless of age or musical ability. New to this year’s festival (and featuring members of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and the Chicago Philharmonic) is “Lift Every Voice: Musicians Rising For Racial Justice” which features nationwide simultaneous performances of George Walker’s Lyric for Strings and Samuel Barber’s Adagio for Strings. Between that, the returning Pianos in the Parks, and the many opportunities to pick up an instrument and jam, this free day of music-making will hit all the right notes.

June 21, multiple locations across Chicagoland

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