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What to Do In Chicago In July

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July Specific Events

The month of July provides the city with various events and over 20 festivals, covering different neighborhoods, themes, cultures, and music genres.  Find a complete guide to Chicago’s July calendar here.

Windy City RibFest in Uptown

4800 N. Broadway St.

June 30- July 2

Explore the historic neighborhood of Uptown while local and national ribbers work to impress you with their saucy slabs of meat. This festival also includes eclectic music performances, arts, crafts, and family friendly events!

Lion’s Club International Convention Parade

State St. from Lake St. to Van Buren

July 1, Parade starts at 9am

This year, Lion’s Club international is turning 100! Each year, this organization hosts a convention with a parade on the second day.  This festive event hosts Lions representing over 130 countries, and often in traditional colors and attire.  Participants will hold their countries flag with pride and many can be found singing and dancing along the route. This has been a tradition since the 1920’s.

Fourth of July Festivities

Celebrate the 4th of July in Chicago as the city honors this country with a day full of American classics, including baseball, concerts, and fireworks.

Both of the city’s baseball teams host games on this holiday.  The Chicago Cubs take on the Tampa Bay Rays at Wrigley Field, and you will find the Chicago White Sox going up against the Oakland Athletics at Guaranteed Rate Field.

The annual tradition of a holiday concert continues as a part of the Grant Park Music Festival with Independence Day Salute, held in Jay Pritzker Pavilion in Millennium Park starting at 6:30.  After the concert you can catch one of Navy Pier’s best firework displays of the summer, with patriotic music in the background.  For a better view of the fireworks and the city as a whole, consider buying tickets ($39) for the Freedom Fest 2017 at Navy Pier, complete with BBQ, a DJ, and dancing.

Taste of Chicago

Grant Park: Jackson and Columbus

July 5-9

Join in the fun by attending the world’s largest food festival! Sample your way through Chicago’s food scene as you enjoy music and family friendly activities during this 5 day festival. A Chicago tradition since 1980, this isn't one you will want to miss!

Pitchfork Music Festival

Union Park: 1501 W. Randolph Street

July 14-16

With over 40 bands performing for crowds of 50,000 people during this three day festival, Pitchfork Music Festival promises to be an energizing event showcasing the best in new and rising music as it returns for the 12th year. Beyond the music, this festival hosts local vendors, supporting Chicago's arts and food culture.

Taste of River North

Ward Park: N. Kingsbury and W. Erie

July 21-23

For the 16th year, this festival will draw in crowds to experience one of Chicago’s most entertaining destination neighborhoods. Nestled in between the Chicago River and the glowing skyline, this festival highlights some of the best of River North, with dynamic chefs and restaurants providing the food, and local bands adding non stop music. Local vendors and family friendly activities enrich the festivities.

CrossTown Classic

July 24-27

Each year, Chicago’s two baseball teams, geographic rivals, match up in a four game mini series. Cheer on the Cubs, White Sox, or both, as these hometown teams face off once again.

Wicker Park Fest

Milwaukee Ave., from North Ave. to Paulina St

July 29-30

Called out as “Chicago’s Best Street Festival of the Summer” by the Chicago Tribune, this tradition continues to draw in crowds from across the city and country. This festival highlights the personality and culture of this neighborhood, with a prosperous music history, vintage shops, dynamic nightlife, and delectable restaurant scene. With over 40 bands performing during this three day festival, in addition to the arts and craft tents, this event is sure to leave you more than entertained.


Throughout the summer season, you will find many other Chicago summer traditions to occupy your time, such as free movies in the park, exercise classes, and some of the best farmers markets.  Check out our 10 Free Things to do in Chicago this Summer blog.


With summer festivals and activities in full swing, hotel prices reflect that everyone wants to be in Chicago! With the increase in trends such as Airbnb, hotel demand downtown has seen a decline in the past year. In the year 2017 the downtown area will have completed 7 new hotels, adding over 2,000 new rooms! While this extra supply could benefit those hoping to make a visit to Chicago, do be aware that historically the hotel demand and prices rise druring these summer months.

To save money during these peak weeks, be sure to plan ahead an book hotels as far out as possible, as their prices reflect the current demand. Many guests aim to stay in the heart of downtown to be near the summer festivals in Grant Park. Consider staying in a hotel in a neighborhood to experience the character outside of downtown, and to find better price tag. If you are willing to be adventurous and try a newer hotel you will find better rates, as the hotel does not yet have the credibility to charge as much as a more established hotel, and they will work harder to impress you.

Airbnb and hostels are great lodging choices, and often allow guests to stay in neighborhoods they would not have otherwise experienced. Chicago’s public transportation and ride share options allow guests to stay in other parts of the city while maintaining an easy commute to downtown.

About The Author


Mel loves to be a tourist in her own city. With a background in performing arts, tourism, and photography, giving tours and being a story-teller comes naturally to her. She loves traveling, food, and theatre. Mel splits her time between Chicago and Los Angeles (#theatrelife) and leads tours and manages both cities!
Updated: September 26th, 2021
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