31 of the Best Things to Do in Chicago This August

31 of the Best Things to Do in Chicago This August: Chicago Air & Water Show

The end of summer is near (say it ain’t so!), but there’s still plenty of seasonal fun to be had. Start filling your calendar with these can’t-miss things to do in Chicago and the surrounding suburbs.


Aug. 11: “The Greatest Love of All: The Whitney Houston Show

Things to Do in Chicago: “The Greatest Love of All: The Whitney Houston Show”
Photo courtesy of Carol Fox and Associates.

This national tour makes its way to Rosemont and stars Belinda Davids. Rosemont Theatre, 5400 N. River Road, Rosemont, 847-671-5100

Aug. 13: Broadway in Chicago’s Free Summer Concert

This year’s gratis show will preview performances from “Dear Evan Hansen,” “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory,” “Miss Saigon,” and more. Jay Pritzker Pavilion at Millennium Park, 201 E. Randolph St., Chicago, 800-775-2000

Opens Aug. 15: “Vietgone

Things to Do in Chicago: "Vietgone" at Writers Theatre
Pictured: Matthew C. Yee and Aurora Adachi-Winter (Photo by Saverio Truglia.)

Described as “equal parts road-trip adventure, buddy film, romantic comedy and ‘Hamilton’-esque rap musical,” this play by Qui Nguyen opens Writers Theatre’s 2018/2019 season. Writers Theatre, 325 Tudor Court, Glencoe, 847-242-6000

Opens Aug. 16: “The God Committee

Things to Do in Chicago: "The God Committee" at Oil Lamp Theater
Photo courtesy of Oil Lamp Theater.

Oil Lamp Theater’s latest play goes inside a hospital and looks at the life-and-death decisions that need to be made by the Heart Transplant Selection Committee. Oil Lamp Theater, 1723 Glenview Road, Glenview, 847-834-0738

Aug. 18: Dance for Life

Chicago’s premiere dance companies perform for an evening benefiting the Dancers’ Fund, an initiative providing financial assistance to dance professionals experiencing critical health issues. The Auditorium Theatre, 50 E. Congress Parkway, Chicago, 312-341-2300


Aug. 3: Whoopi

Things to Do in Chicago: Whoopi Goldberg at Ravinia
Photo courtesy of Ravinia Festival.

Spend an evening with actor and comedian Whoopi Goldberg, who is set to perform her cutting-edge comedy show on a very limited-edition tour. Ravinia, 418 Sheridan Road, Highland Park, 847-266-5000

Aug. 12: Steve Martin and Martin Short

Laugh the night away with these two comedy veterans, who will be gracing the Ravinia stage for a series of spoofs and evocations of some of their most beloved characters. Ravinia, 418 Sheridan Road, Highland Park, 847-266-5000


Aug. 2-5: Lollapalooza

Things to Do in Chicago: Lollapalooza
Photo by Cambria Harkey/Lollapalooza 2017.

More than 170 performances (including Evanston-native iDA HAWK) will take Chicago by storm this August, when Lollapalooza celebrates its 14th year in Grant Park. Grant Park, 337 E. Randolph St., Chicago

Aug. 10-11: JAY-Z and BEYONCÉ: On the Run II

Dance the night away with powered-up performances by Beyoncé and Jay-Z and specialty “On the Run II” themed cocktails by VSOP Cognac D’USSE. Soldier Field, 1410 Museum Campus Drive, Chicago, 312-235-7000

Aug. 19: Jazz at Gallagher Way

Enjoy an evening featuring three ensembles that explore defining aspects of jazz, from blues to Middle Eastern-infused rhythms. Gallagher Way, 3637 N. Clark St., Chicago

Aug. 28: Ziggy Marley

Jam along to the reggae-inspired tunes of Ziggy Marley, a six-time Grammy winner, Emmy winner, and humanitarian. Thalia Hall, 1807 S. Allport St., Chicago, 312-526-3851


Aug. 18: Sensory Saturday

The Crown Family PlayLab at The Field Museum is hosting Sensory Saturdays, a sensory-friendly morning of hands-on exploration and discovery. The Field Museum, 1400 S. Lake Shore Drive, Chicago, 312-922-9410

Closes Aug. 19: Arte Diseño Xicágo

This exhibit examines the early artistic involvement and influence of Mexican immigrants and artists in Chicago through artwork, photographs, and artifacts. National Museum of Mexican Art, 1852 W. 19th St., Chicago, 312-738-1503

Opens Aug. 25: Vivian Suter: el bosque interior

Explore Vivian Suter’s large-scale abstract paintings, which are inspired by (and exposed to) the Guatemalan rainforest, during this exhibit. Art Institute of Chicago, 111 S. Michigan Ave., Chicago, 312-443-3600

Ongoing: Stories of Survival: Object, Image, Memory

Things to Do in Chicago: Stories of Survival: Object, Image, Memory at Illinois Holocaust Museum
Teddy bear that belonged to Ursula Meyer retrieved after surviving the Theresienstadt ghetto/concentration camp. The lender is Marianne Hesse, niece of Ursula, who lives in San Francisco. (Photo by Jim Lommasson, courtesy of Illinois Holocaust Museum & Education Center.)

This moving exhibit features photographs of personal artifacts owned by local survivors of the Holocaust and other genocides, including Armenia, Bosnia, Cambodia, Iraq, Rwanda, South Sudan, and Syria. Illinois Holocaust Museum and Education Center, 9603 Woods Drive, Skokie, 847-967-4800


Aug. 5: World Cup of Wine

Missing the World Cup? Just want to find a new favorite drink? Join City Winery for this tasting of wines from around the world, plus cheese and charcuterie. City Winery Chicago, 1200 W. Randolph St., Chicago, 312-733-9463

Aug. 8-26: Chicago Tribune FOOD BOWL

This three-week festival will enlist chefs and restaurants around Chicago to offer more than 100 events in various locations, featuring specialty classes, test kitchens, panels, pop-up bars, and neighborhood tours.

Aug. 9-11: Northwestern Summer Writers’ Conference

Join a community of writers at Northwestern University for a three-day celebration of fiction, nonfiction, and poetry. Now in its 14th year, the program includes a diverse array of workshops, panels, and literary readings. Northwestern University — Chicago Campus, 339 E. Chicago Ave., Chicago

Aug. 10: Grown-Up Play Date

Act like a kid again during this Morton Arboretum event, where adults can splash in the Wonder Pond, climb around the playground, get creative with sidewalk chalk, play giant Jenga, and more. The Morton Arboretum, 4100 Illinois Route 53, Lisle, 630-968-0074

Aug. 10-12: Chicago Hot Dog Fest

Things to Do in Chicago: Chicago Hot Dog Fest
Photo courtesy of Chicago History Museum.

Celebrate the not-so-humble hot dog — and 125 years of Vienna Beef — during this annual Chicago History Museum festival featuring a speakers’ stage, inflatables, crafts, and more. Stockton and LaSalle Drive, Chicago

Aug. 11: Movies in the Parks: “The Incredibles”

Watch “The Incredibles” under the stars right outside the Museum of Science and Industry. And before the movie begins, explore the museum’s “The Science Behind Pixar” exhibit. Museum of Science and Industry, 5700 S. Lake Shore Drive, Chicago, 773-684-1414

Aug. 11-12: Chicago Botanic Garden Kite Festival

Things to Do in Chicago: Chicago Botanic Garden Kite Festival
Photo courtesy of Chicago Botanic Garden.

Enjoy a festival dedicated to all things kite flying, complete with ice cream, beverages, and light fare. Chicago Botanic Garden, 1000 Lake Cook Road, Glencoe, 847-835-5440

Aug. 15-19: Venetian Festival in Lake Geneva

Highlights of this five-day festival include a carnival, water-ski show, lighted boat parade, and the area’s largest fireworks display over Geneva Lake.

Aug. 17-19: Evanston Art & Big Fork Festival

Part art fest, part food fest, this free event should not be missed. 800 Church St., Evanston

Aug. 18-19: 60th Annual Chicago Air and Water Show

Things to Do in Chicago: Chicago Air & Water Show
Photo courtesy of City of Chicago.

Featuring military and civilian flight aerobatics, historic aircraft, simulated water rescues, and parachute teams, the Chicago Air and Water Show is one of the largest and longest-running free-admission events of its kind. North Avenue Beach, 1600 N. Lake Shore Drive, Chicago

Aug. 18-19: Malott Japanese Garden Summer Festival

Learn about summer celebrations in Japan during this special weekend of activities. Listen to koto harp and taiko drum music, enjoy traditional folk tales, and watch a tea ceremony. Chicago Botanic Garden, 1000 Lake Cook Road, Glencoe, 847-835-5440

Aug. 19: Kultura Festival

This festival celebrates Filipino-American culture by highlighting the best in Filipino-American food and arts in Chicago and the Midwest. Emporium Arcade Bar, 2363 N. Milwaukee Ave., Chicago

Aug. 23: Women’s Empowerment Night at Wrigley Field

Cheer on the Cubs while also supporting YWCA Metropolitan Chicago and the Chicago Foundation for WomenWrigley Field, 1060 W. Addison St., Chicago

Aug. 24-26: Taste of Highland Park

Running in conjunction with the Port Clinton Art Festival, this foodie fest will feature favorites from local restaurants and live music. Port Clinton Square, 600 Central Ave., Highland Park

Aug. 26: Hofbräuhaus Chicago’s Back to School Kinderfest

Kids will love live music, face painting, a magic show, back-to-school arts and crafts, and more, and parents will love half-price Bloody Marys and Sunday food specials. Plus, the first 100 families will receive a free school supply gift bag. Hofbräuhaus Chicago, 5500 Park Place, Rosemont, 847-671-2739

Aug. 31 to Sept. 2: The Great American Lobster Fest

Things to Do in Chicago: The Great American Lobster Fest
Photo courtesy of The Great American Lobster Fest.

Dine on lobster flown in fresh from the East Coast during the Midwest’s largest lobster and seafood festival. Plus, enjoy live music, family-friendly games, shopping, and more. Navy Pier, 600 E. Grand Ave., Chicago


More from Make It Better: 

Nicole SchnitzlerNicole Schnitzler is a freelance writer who covers​ ​food, drink, ​travel, and ​lifestyle. When she is not planning her next adventure​​, she can be found​ ​commuting between bakeries, yoga classes,​ live music shows, and libraries ​in her hometown of ​​Chicago. She is most comfortable with a pen in one hand and a fork in the other. Nicole is also the founder of Doors Open Dishes, an initiative committed to keeping the doors open to the group homes and workshops of individuals with special needs by partnering with chefs and restaurants across the city. Follow her on Twitter (@Write_To_Eat) or on Instagram (@WriteToEat).



Anna Carlson writes the weekly 5 Things to Do column and monthly Recommended Events. A graduate of the University of Missouri, her work has been published in Chicago Parent, Inside Columbia Magazine and Central California Parent Magazine. She is a proud supporter of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital







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