photo credit: Sandy Noto

The Ultimate Chicago Summer Festival Guide image

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The Ultimate Chicago Summer Festival Guide

The best festivals where you can eat, drink, and party.

During the summer we have about 6,934 street festivals to choose from each weekend. And because nothing makes you feel like you took full advantage of Chicago's three months of decent weather like leaping over beer puddles while balancing a paper plate stacked with food in one hand, you'll want to use this guide. It's a running list of the festivals you need to prioritize for Summer 2023. These ones have the best food, vibe, and overall “feel-good factor.” 

Print this out, laminate it, and consult it every weekend.

All festivals are free or have suggested donations only unless otherwise noted. This is a running list so check back in for the latest details.

June 2023

The Ultimate Chicago Summer Festival Guide image

photo credit: Brant Cox

Do Division

Wicker Park, June 2-4

This isn’t a food festival, but the Wicker Park street fest has plenty of great vendors along with great bands, a fashion show, art, and kid’s activities. Check here for the full line-up of events.


Lincoln Park Greek Fest

Lincoln Park, June 2-4

Lincoln Park Greek Fest takes place on the grounds of St. George Greek Orthodox Church, and includes tons of food, music, dancing, and art. More info here.


Windy City Hot Dog Fest

Portage Park, June 3-4

As the name suggests, hot dogs are the focus of this brand new festival in Portage Park. Different hot dog spots will compete for who has the best dog, and you’ll get to judge. Plus there will be a mainstage for musical acts. Check here for the full lineup.


Fiestas Patronales Puertorriqueñas

Humboldt Park, June 8-11

If you’re in the mood for Puerto Rican food (trust us, you are) head to Humboldt Park for Fiestas Patronales Puertorriqueñas. Along with live music and art, there will be vendors selling things like pasteles, jibaritos, tostones, arroz gandules, and more. Check here for more info.


Lincoln Square Greekfest

Lincoln Square, June 9-11

This festival is hosted by St. Demetrios Greek Orthodox church, and will have Greek food (with pastries and treats like loukoumades) live performances, a Greek dance troupe, and a Hellenic marketplace. Check here for details.


Vegandale

The Loop, June 10

You can find this traveling vegan food festival all over North America—in NYC, Toronto, LA, Miami just to name a few. Vegandale Chicago takes place in the Loop, and has local vendors like I Can’t Believe It’s Not Meat, Mi Pi Pizza, Homegirl’s Hummus, and more. You can also expect cruelty-free shops, and plenty of pleather. Check here for more info.


Andersonville Midsommarfest

Andersonville, June 9-11

Midsommarfest in Andersonville is back and, as far as we know, is 100% pagan-cult free. But what it lacks in Florence Pugh it makes up in local bands, Swedish art, and local food. More details here.


Thai Festival Chicago

Lakeview, June 10-11

After a four-year hiatus, Thai festival is back. It will have food from a bunch of places (like Immm Rice & Beyond) along with Thai music, dancing, and arts and crafts. Check here for details.


Taste Of Chicago Pullman

Pullman, June 15

This is a neighborhood festival spinoff from the Taste Of Chicago series, highlighting food from Pullman.


Chicago Pride Fest

Lakeview, June 17-18

This LGBTQ festival in Lakeview is full of drinks, drag queens, dancing, rainbows, and plenty of food. This year’s Pride will have over 100 vendors and three stages for live music. Details here.


Hyde Park Summer Fest

Hyde Park, June 17-18

Hyde Park Summer Fest takes place at Midway Plaisance Park, and has big-name musical acts (like 2 Chainz and Lil' Kim) and tons of food. It's a ticketed event, and you can check here for details.


Juneteenth Village Fest

North Lawndale, June 18

This Juneteenth celebration in Douglas Park will have music, food, drinks, and speakers. Details here.


Taste Of Chicago Humboldt

Humboldt Park, June 24

This is a neighborhood festival spinoff from the Taste Of Chicago series, highlighting food from Humboldt. Along with food, they'll have live music and dance performances.


July 2023

The Ultimate Chicago Summer Festival Guide image

West Fest

West Town, July 7-9

West Fest has been around since 2004, and after going virtual in 2020, is back in full force. Located in West Town, you can see music acts organized by The Empty Bottle, and food trucks from neighborhood restaurants. They also have Pet Fest: a cute area dedicated to dogs and dog-friendly activities. More details here.


Roscoe Village Burger Fest

Roscoe Village, July 7-9

Another straightforward food festival. The Roscoe Village Burger Fest has around 10-15 burger vendors to choose from, including Fatso’s Last Stand, Tandoori Char House, and Byron’s, which we know is a hot dog spot, but also has tasty burgers. Stay tuned for the full lineup here.


The Ultimate Chicago Summer Festival Guide image

Windy City Smokeout

United Center, July 13-16

Windy City Smokeout is pricey (single-day tickets start at $45), but it’s always a lot of fun. There’s great BBQ from all over the United States, and musical performances from country singers like Tim McGraw—who we only just remembered because of Yellowstone. Tickets and the full lineup, here.


Windy City Smokeout

United Center, July 13-16

Windy City Smokeout is pricey (single-day tickets start at $45), but it’s always a lot of fun. There’s great BBQ from all over the United States, and musical performances from country singers like Tim McGraw—who we only just remembered because of Yellowstone. Tickets and the full lineup, here.


Colombian Fest

Humboldt Park, July 14-16

This festival will have all sorts of Columbian DJs, dancers, and food. It's a ticketed event, but Friday is free for first responders. Click here for more details.


Tacos Y Tamales Fest

Pilsen, July 21-23

This Mexican festival takes place in Pilsen on the stretch of 16th street with all the colorful murals. And the food here isn’t just from restaurants—you’ll find coolers and carts helmed by locals. There are tacos and tamales filled with chicken and green mole, steak and red mole, pork ground beef, kale, cheese, and just about anything else. There are also other dishes like enchiladas, tortas, elotes, churros, and piña coladas along with art and music. Check here for info.


Taste of Lincoln Avenue

Lincoln Square, July 21-23

The Taste Of Lincoln Avenue festival has been around for 40 years and is a consistently well-organized, fun time. Along with lots of neighborhood restaurants, there are arts and crafts, and one main music stage—which we’ve learned to appreciate after hearing battle-of-the-bands competing from different stages for our attention. More info here.


Fiesta Del Sol

Pilsen, July 27-30

Fiesta Del Sol is a free four-day family-friendly Mexican festival. This event spans an eight-block space down Cermak Road, has carnival rides, and over 100 booths with tacos, tamales, and tostadas. More info here.


Bantu Fest

Hyde Park, July 29-30

There are over 30 African countries represented in this year’s Bantu Fest, a multicultural family-friendly festival in Hyde Park. This means a ton of different music, performances, art, and of course, food. Check here for details.


Silver Room Sound System Block Party

Oakwood Beach, July 29-30

This Hyde Park music festival is finally back and is still on the beach. This means a ton of different musical performers and of course, food. Check here for the lineup and ticket prices.


Chicago Food Truck Fest

South Loop, July 29-30

Originally planned for June (but foiled by Nascar) this food truck festival is now in July. But there will still be drinks, live music, games, and yes, food trucks. Check here for details.


Chinatown Summer Fair

Chinatown, July 29-30

Chinatown Summer Fair, how we love you, let us count the ways. This iconic event has tons of food, art, and music. This year’s Chinatown Summer Fair will open with a lion dance procession, followed by performances, including kung fu demonstrations, K-pop dance competition, and more. Check here for more information.


August 2023

Lollapalooza

Grant Park, August 3-6

You know the deal, it’s Lollapalooza. Lineup and tickets here


Taste Of Chicago Marquette

Marquette, August 5

This is a neighborhood festival spinoff from the Taste Of Chicago series, highlighting food from Marquette.


Northalsted Market Days

Northalsted, August 12-13

Northalsted Market Days is a weekend-long live music street festival celebrating the LGBTQ community in Northalsted (a.k.a. the neighborhood formerly known as Boystown). The festival is huge, with five stages dedicated to live music, over 200 vendors, art, food, booze, plus DJs and dancing. Check here for more info.


Ribfest Chicago

North Center, August 18-20

The moment has arrived: Ribfest. This is one of the best festivals in the city, with tents full of smoky meat as far as the eye can see. Check here for the full lineup.


Chicago Caribbean Carnivale

Hyde Park, August 19

It’s a one-day-only Carnivale in Hyde Park. Expect dancing, music, and Caribbean food like roti, festival, jerk, and more. More info here.


Pilsen Fest

Pilsen, August 20-21

Pilsen Fest is a Mexican festival with bands, art, and food stands like tacos with handmade tortillas. Check here for info and updates.


Taste Of Greektown

West Loop, August 25-27

This festival has been in the West Loop for over 30 years, taking place on the strip of Halsted that’s been the center of Chicago’s Greek restaurant scene for decades. There will also be plenty of music and entertainment (including Greek bands) games for kids, and food from restaurants like Artopolis and Athena. More info and updates here.


September 2023

The Ultimate Chicago Summer Festival Guide image

photo credit: Christina Slaton

Taste of Polonia

Jefferson Park, Sept 1-4

This is the 40th Anniversary of the Taste of Polonia Festival. This Polish festival in Jefferson Park has live music, dance performances, Polish food and beer, exhibitions, a casino, beer garden, and a kid's area with activities like face painting. Local restaurants include Tata’s Pierogis, Alex bakery, and Babushka Polish Foods. Check here for more info.


German American Oktoberfest

Lincoln Square, Sept 8-10

Yep, we’re heading into Oktoberfest territory, which means the end of summer is almost here. Celebrate at this festival in Lincoln Square, which has German food, drinks, beer, and German bands. More info here.


Taste Of Chicago

Grant Park, Sept 8-10

We normally avoid the Taste of Chicago in Grant Park. It's expensive, crowded, and has boring food. But this year we're intrigued—in June they did spinoffs in different neighborhoods across the city, highlighting food from that community. This has renewed our hope. So if you find yourself with a hankering to visit Buckingham Fountain this weekend, here's the lineup.


Lakeview Taco Fest

Lakeview, Aug 26-27

This is the ninth year of Lakeview’s Taco Fest. Eight restaurants are participating in the annual taco contest, including Juanita’s Mexican Food, Taqueria La Ciudad, Tacos Nietos, and El Campeón. There will also be drinks and music. Check here for more details.


Pizza City Fest

Lincoln Yards, Aug 26-27

Pizza City Fest is a food festival focusing on, you guessed it, pizza. This year it's at the Salt Shed, and will feature a bunch of pizza spots from around the city. Tickets start at $95, and you can see the full lineup here.

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