Essential Chicago Summer Festivals: June 2015 Edition

It’s already June. Summer has arrived will, hopefully, arrive soon in Chicago, which means that festival season is in full swing. For Chicagoans and visitors to our fine metropolis, the following is a roundup of my favorite Chicago summer festivals for the month of June. (This is by no means an exhaustive listing of June fests.) Brace yourselves: it’s a busy month.

Lincoln Park Greek Fest

Greek Fest

Greek Fest

Who: Hellenes (Greeks) and Philhellenes (lovers of Greeks and Greek culture).

What: “Food, Fun & Opa!” Greek Food. Greek Sweets. Frappé and Ouzo Lemonade Slushies. Traditional Greek Music and Dancing. Vendors Featuring Greek Goods.

Where: St. George Greek Orthodox Church, 2701 N. Sheffield Avenue in Chicago’s Lincoln Park neighborhood.

When: Fri., June 5th {5:00p- 11:00p}; Sat., June 6th {noon- 11:00p}; Sun., June 7th  {noon- 10:00p}.

Why: Because no one eats, drinks, dances, and has fun like the Greeks. Come for the food, beverages, and music and stay to experience the filoxenia (Greek for “hospitality-” direct translation: a “love of strangers”).

How Much: Any donation is accepted.

Printers Row Lit Fest

Who: Bookworms. Literature geeks. Authors.

What: A Whole Lot of Books. Featured Authors. Over 200 Booksellers. Vendors. Performers. Literary Panels and Discussions.

Where: Around Dearborn Street between Congress Parkway & Polk Street in Chicago’s Printers Row neighborhood.

When: Sat., June 6th {10:00a- 10:00p} – Sun., June 7th  {10:00a- 6:00p}.

Why: Bookworms, rejoice: It’s the largest gathering of book enthusiasts in the Midwest!

How Much: Free.

Printer's Row Lit Fest, Chicago, IL

Printer’s Row Lit Fest [photo by Pete via ]

Pilsen Food Truck Social

Chicago Food Trucks

Chicago Food Trucks

Who: Foodies. Hipsters. Food truck scenesters.

What: More Than 25… wait for it… Food Trucks! Local Revolution Brewery Beer. Live Music Programmed by Empty Bottle & Thalia Hall.

Where: 18th Street & Allport Street in Chicago’s Pilsen neighborhood.

When: Sat., June 6th & Sun., June 7th  {11:00a- 10:00p}.

Why: This year, Pilsen plays host to this brand spanking new, inaugural food truck fest which is a prime opportunity to sample the best of what Chicago’s booming food truck scene has to offer.

How Much: $5 suggested donation. A $20 sampler ticket will get social goers 5 samples from any food truck as well as Revolution beer, wine or spirits.

Andersonville Midsommarfest

Iced Glögg, Simon's Tavern, Midsommarfest, Chicago

Iced Glögg, Simon’s Tavern, Midsommarfest, Chicago

Who: A friendly, highly diverse crowd- gay, straight, young, old, singles, groups. Plenty of dogs. Andersonville neighborhoodies. Aficionados of the Swedish culture. 

 What: Swedish culture. A Maypole. Myraid Vendors. An Abundance of Tasty, Local Street Food (from Mediterranean fare to fried twinkies and the ever popular cevapcici). Iced Glögg. Several Stages Hosting Live Music. Blocks of jammed Packed Stores, Bars, and Restaurants.

Where: Clark Street from Foster Ave to Catalpa Ave in Chicago’s Andersonville neighborhood.

When: Fri., June 12th {5:00p- 10:00p}; Sat., June 13th & Sun. June 14th {11:00a- 10:00p}.

Why: Because it’s one of my favorite summertime Chicago fests and is a reliably good time.

How Much: $10 donation.

Pro-tip: Be sure to stop into one of Chicago’s greatest taverns, IMHO, Simon’s, and order the iced glögg.

Ribfest Chicago

Ribfest, Chicago

Ribfest, Chicago [photo by Steve Stearns via ]

Who: Carnivores. Messy eaters.

What: BBQ. Ribs. Beer. Bands. Rib-Eating Contests.

Where: The intersection of Lincoln/ Damen/ Irving Park Avenues in Chicago’s North Center neighborhood.

When: Fri., June 12th {5:00p- 10:00p}; Sat., June 13th & Sun. June 14th {noon- 10:00p}.

Why: Because this meaty feeding frenzy has been crowned Chicago Reader’s #1 Food Fest for three years running and has been featured on the Food Network and in USA Today.

How Much: $5 suggested donation.

Chicago Blues Festival

Blues Festival, Chicago

Blues Festival, Chicago

Who: Blues enthusiasts. Music lovers.

What: Headliners Including the Legendary Buddy Guy. Top Blues Performers. Three Stages of Music. Food and Drink Vendors.

Where: Chicago’s Grant Park a.k.a. Chicago’s front yard.

When: Fri., June 12th -Sun. June 14th {11:00a- 9:30p, daily}.

Why: Because why would you miss out on the largest free blues festival on earth hosted by the “Blues Capital of the World?”

How Much: FREE.

Old Town Art Fair

Who: Aesthetes. Artsy folk. Yuppie types.

What: Paintings. Photography. Print Making. Ceramics. Jewelry. Glass. Metal & Stone Work. Mixed Media Art. A Garden Walk. Live Music. A Food Court. Children’s Activities.

Where: Lincoln Ave and Wisconsin Street- Old Town Triangle Historic District in Chicago’s Lincoln Park neighborhood.

When: Sat., June 13th & Sun. June 14th {10:00a- 6:00p}.

Why: It’s one of the leading art fairs in the nation, ranked America’s #2 Best Juried Art Fair.

How Much: $7 donation requested.

Wells Street Art Festival

Wells Street Art Festival, Chicago

Wells Street Art Festival, Chicago [photo by discosour via ]

Who: Old Town neighborhoodies. Artsy folk. Art admirers.

What: A Wide Range of Eclectic Artwork From 200+ Exhibitors. Delicious Neighborhood Cuisine. A Live Music Stage Featuring the Usual Chicago Fest Suspects, 16 Candles & Tripping Billies. Kid-Friendly Activities.

Where: Wells Street between Division Ave & North Ave in Chicago’s Old Town Neighborhood.

When: Sat., June 13th {10:00a- 10:00p} & Sun., June 14th {10:00a- 9:00p}.

Why: Because you dig art. And eating and drinking in the street.

How Much: $7 suggested donation. Pre-purchased, online $60 tickets will cover two gate donations, two beverages, four $5 food tickets and two commemorative cups.

Taste of Randolph Street

Taste of Randolph Street Festival , Chicago

Taste of Randolph Street Festival [photo by ninniane via ]

Who: Gourmands. Music junkies.

What: Eats From Chicago’s Acclaimed “Restaurant Row.” Three Stages ft a Music Lineup Including The Dandy Warhols, Letttuce, and Best Coast. Artisans.

Where: 900- 1200 W. Randolph Street in Chicago’s West Loop neighborhood.

When: Fri., June 19th {5:00p- 10:00p}; Sat., June 20th – Sun., June 21st {noon- 10:00p}.

Why: Food, food, and more food alongside a respectable slate of bands.

How Much: $10 suggested donation.

Chicago Pride Festival 

Who: LGBT community and their friends.

What: Dancing. Drinking. Fabulous Performers including Estelle Big Freedia & Debbie Gibson. LGBT pride. Art & Crafts Vendors. A Pet Parade on Sunday.

Where: Halsted Street between Addison Street and Grace Street in Chicago’s Boystown neighborhood.

When: Sat., June 20th {10:00a- 10:00p} & Sun., June 21st {10:00a- 9:00p}.

Why: It’s the kickoff to one of the best Pride celebrations in the country and a fun way to support the Northalsted Business Alliance.

How Much: $8 donation.

Old St. Pat’s World’s Largest Block Party 

Who: Singles ready to mingle. About 20,000 Festival Attendees.

What: One HUGE Party. Popular Bands Including Headliner Young the Giant.

Where: The Block Party has moved from its former location at Old St. Pat’s to the University of Illinois- Chicago Festival Lot at 1145 S. Morgan Street between Taylor Street & Roosevelt Road in Chicago.

When: Sat., June 27th {5:30p- 11:00p}.

Why: Obviously, so you can say you attended the world’s largest block party in its 32nd year.

How Much: Tickets are $40 in advance, $45 at the door (includes two drink tickets).

Chicago Gay Pride Parade

Who: LGBT community from Chicago and beyond. Friends and supporters of the LGBT community. Around one million humans.

What: One of Largest Celebrations of Pride in the World. Dance Party. Debauchery. Glitter, Feathers, Scantily Clad Humans. An Excessive Number of Floats Featuring Politicians, Government Agencies, Community Groups, Businesses.

Where: The parade commences at Montrose Ave and Broadway Ave in Uptown and winds down Halsted Street and Broadway Ave before concluding at Diversey Parkway and Sheridan Road.

When: Sun. June 28th at noon.

Why: Because it’s the biggest party of the year and is a really, really, ridiculously fun time.

How Much: Free.

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