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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.

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 ten not-to-miss summer fests.

It’s going to be smaller this year, but the city of Chicago isstill promising plenty of yummy eats for visitors.If you’dlike to expose your picky eater to a variety of foods, check out”taste portions.” Each booth has two choices of smaller-servingfood items that cost only two or three tickets, so you can get akid-size portion. But if you don’t think your picky toddler isgoing to eat anything you buy, go ahead and pack the food and drinkthey’ll eat-the entry-point guards will check bags, but they’relooking for alcohol, not juice boxes. Go early to beat thecrowds.

Taste of Chicago

The Taste returns for five days in Grant Park for a massive foodie fair complete with live music and activities for the entire family. Popular features include a three-course fine dining experience prepared by a notable Chicago Chef at Celebrity Chef du Jour, Pop-up Restaurants, food trucks and more.


Iconic annual celebration of Asian culture includes parade, artsand crafts and food, and while you’re there, we’ve got you coveredwith our Tour of Chinatown for LittleFeet.

Chinatown Summer Fair

Iconic annual celebration of Far East culture includes the Dragon & Lion Dance Procession, artisans, food vendors and 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.


One of the city’s best, Retro on Roscoe has all the usualtrappings of a neighborhood fest (live music, artisan tables, foodvendors) plus the famous Windy City Chili Cook-Off, a vintage carcorner and a great kids’ area, open noon to 6 p.m. both days, withballoon artists, inflatables and face-painting.

Retro on Roscoe

Festival features local restaurants, artisans, vendors, chili cookoff and a family area with crafts, balloon artists, face painting, music, rides and more.


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

Kidzapalooza

Three day interactive music experience features a lineup of family-friendly rock and activities including music and dance workshops. Part of the Lollapalooza Festival. Visit www.lollapalooza.com for tickets.


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

Eyes to the Skies Balloon Festival

This festival features hot air balloon shows and rides (weather permitting), as well as musical entertainment, a special kids’ area, an arts and crafts fair, fireworks, a large carnival and an assortment of daily events.


Enjoy Aztec dancing, local art exhibits, craft workshops, achildren’s area with read-out-loud sessions, free books, games andeducational activities,plus live entertainment, Pilsen SchoolExpo, indoor soccer tournaments, free health screenings andfood.

Fiesta del Sol

Includes Aztec dancing, local art exhibit, craft workshop, a children’s area with read-out-loud sessions, free books, games and educational activities, Civil Rights of Immigrants Booth, College Fair, live entertainment, Pilsen School Expo, indoor soccer tournaments, free health screenings and food vendor.


This Chicago classic has something for everyone–from screechingfighter 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 ofwater and sunscreen.

Chicago Air and Water Show

One of Chicago’s longest-running events, the show includes a wide variety of civilian acts with daredevil pilots performing their aerial stunts in the skies above Lake Michigan.


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 isa picnic with entertainment, food and music.

Bud Billiken Parade, Picnic & Festival

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


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

Bristol Renaissance Faire

More than 1,200 performers, artisans and merchants will take visitors on a trip through Elizabethan England with 16th Century games, rides, arts, crafts, food, music, and special entertainment. Kids Kingdom is an enclosed play area filled with oversized sand boxes, a climb-aboard pirate ship, interactive games, crafts and other child-friendly diversions.


A fest filled with Greek food? Enough said!

Taste of Greektown

Food, music and entertainment, including Greek bands, artisans and games for both kids and families.


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

Lincolnshire Art Festival

This festival features more than 100 juried artists, live music and fun art activities for kids. Art enthusiasts of all ages can get into the “art-filled action” by making their mark on a graffiti wall at the festival. Stroller friendly.


Wrigleyville Summerfest


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

Chicago SummerDance


Tall Ship’s Parade of Sail kicks-off the festivities onLake Michigan, showcasing numerous tall ship vessels from aroundthe world, including Norway and Canada.

Tall Ships Chicago


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