31 of the Best Things to Do in Chicago This July

Summer is in full swing around Chicago, but don’t let the season pass you by — make plans to attend these events, including Taste of Chicago, North Shore Taco Fest, “Les Misérables,” and more.


July 27: Chicago’s Finest Stand-Up

This show takes place on the last Saturday of every month at Ten Ninety Brewing Co. 1025 Waukegan Road, Glenview


Tuesdays: Game Night

This new event brings games like cornhole, giant Jenga, Connect Four, and more to the lawn at Parkway Bank Park Entertainment District. 5501 Park Place, Rosemont

July 5-6: Northbrook Sidewalk Sale

Shop amazing deals, take part in the raffle, and more. Kids can also enjoy family-friendly activities. Corner of Church Street and Cherry Lane, Northbrook

July 6: Wrigleyville Art Market

This new event brings 50 artists and artisans to the park outside Wrigley Field. Gallagher Way, 3635 N. Clark St., Chicago

July 10-14: Taste of Chicago

Taste of Chicago pizza
Photo courtesy of City of Chicago.

Dine on Chicago classics and outside-of-the-box fare as you listen to live music and take part in family-friendly activities. Grant Park, Jackson and Columbus, Chicago

July 12: Zoo Ball 2019

Support the Women’s Board of Lincoln Park Zoo’s pledge to the Pride of Chicago campaign during this evening of dining and dancing. Lincoln Park Zoo, 2001 N. Clark St., Chicago

July 12-14: Windy City Smokeout

Windy City Smokeout in Chicago
Photo by Jeff Marini.

Music from headliners Chris Young, Old Dominion and Cole Swindell, plus barbecue from Peg Leg Porker (Nashville, Tennessee), Smoque BBQ (Chicago), Bub City (Chicago), Buxton Hall (Asheville, North Carolina), and more.

July 12-14: Square Roots Festival

This Lincoln Square festival highlights local food and craft beer as well as more than 70 bands. Lincoln Avenue between Montrose and Wilson, Chicago

July 13-14: Roscoe Village Burger Fest

Chicago: Roscoe Village Burger Fest
Photo courtesy of Special Events Management.

Find your new favorite burger at this festival featuring live music, crafts, and a Kids Zone. Belmont and Damen, Chicago

July 14, 17: Summer Chalk Murals

11-13 year olds can create their own murals at Ice House Gallery this month. (This event will take place for 14-18 year olds in August.) 609 South Blvd., Evanston

July 18: Uncorked Wine Festival

Sample wine and food, shop, and meet Seth and Ryan from Nude Dude Food, all while supporting Fight2Feed, an organization working to fight hunger and reduce food waste. Westfield Old Orchard, 4905 Old Orchard Center, Skokie

July 18-21: Central Street Sidewalk Sale

Shop local during this annual summer sidewalk sale, which features deals from local businesses, food, and more. 1700-2200 blocks of Central Street, Evanston

July 20-21: North Shore Taco Fest

North Shore Taco Fest near Chicago
Photo courtesy of Ripple Public Relations.

Local restaurants, caterers, and food trucks will share their best tacos during this festival taking place alongside Highwood Days (July 18-21). Highwood Metra Station, 317 Green Bay Road, Highwood

July 21: Chicago Red Stars vs. North Carolina Courage

Julie Ertz, Alyssa Naeher, and more return to Chicago after the FIFA Women’s World Cup for this Red Stars matchup with the Courage. SeatGeek Stadium, 7000 S. Harlem Ave., Bridgeview

July 26: Moon Garden Plant Walk

Learn more about plants that bloom at night during this new event. Chicago Botanic Garden, 1000 Lake Cook Road, Glencoe

July 26: Summer Wine Fest

Lincoln Park Zoo in Chicago
Photo courtesy of Lincoln Park Zoo.

Explore Lincoln Park Zoo after hours as you sample from more than 35 wines and listen to live music. 2001 N. Clark St., Chicago

July 27: Ice Cream Social

Enjoy live music, a magic show, frozen yogurt, and free admission to the Dawes House. Evanston History Center, 225 Greenwood St., Evanston

July 27-28: Glencoe Festival of Art

Glencoe Festival of Art
Photo courtesy of Amdur Productions.

Shop the wares of more than 110 juried artists as you enjoy live music, food, an art scavenger hunt for kids, and more at this free festival. Downtown Glencoe, Green Bay Road and Park Avenue, Glencoe

July 27-28: Chicago Margarita Festival

Sample a variety of margaritas, dance along with live music, and more. Navy Pier, 600 E. Grand Ave., Chicago


July 21: CSO and “Ghostbusters” 35th Anniversary

Watch this movie starring Harold Ramis, Dan Aykroyd, and Bill Murray as the Chicago Symphony Orchestra performs the score live. Ravinia Festival, 418 Sheridan Road, Highland Park


July 10: Lady Antebellum

Lady Antebellum to play Ravinia Festival near Chicago
Photo by Eric Ray Davidson.

This Grammy Award-winning group makes their Ravinia debut this summer. Ravinia Festival, 418 Sheridan Road, Highland Park

July 20: An Evening with Michael Bublé

Don’t miss your chance to see this crooner in the flesh. Allstate Arena, 6920 N. Mannheim Road, Rosemont


July 7: Family Workshop: Upcycled Art

Learn more about animals through activities, animal encounters, and/or by exploring exhibits before creating an upcycled work of art. Shedd Aquarium, 1200 S. Lake Shore Drive, Chicago

July 26: Doane at Dusk

View Jupiter and Saturn at Adler Planetarium’s Doane Observatory during this free after-hours event. 1300 S. Lake Shore Drive, Chicago

Closes July 28: Open Access: Behind-the-Scenes of the Permanent Collection

Find out what happens behind the “Staff Only” signs. National Museum of Mexican Art, 1852 W. 19th St., Chicago

Ongoing: Silver Screen to Mainstream: American Fashion in the 1930s and ’40s

Chicago History Museum: Silver Screen to Mainstream: American Fashion in the 1930s and ’40s
Photo by Sean Su.

Visit the Chicago History Museum to view gorgeous dresses from designers like ChanelVionnet, and Howard Greer. Chicago History Museum, 1601 N. Clark St., Chicago


July 5-14: “Hitler’s Tasters

This play about the women who became Hitler’s food tasters won the 2017 Women Playwrights Series (WPS) Susan Glaspell Award, and the original New York cast will perform the play here in Skokie before going to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in Scotland. North Shore Center for the Performing Arts, 9501 Skokie Blvd., Skokie

July 9-27: “Les Misérables

This production features new staging and reimagined scenery for the classic musical. Cadillac Palace Theatre, 151 W. Randolph St., Chicago

Opens July 25: “A Kind of Love Story

Mark and Ally are soulmates, but they just can’t seem to find each other. Oil Lamp Theater, 1723 Glenview Road, Glenview

Closes Aug. 4: “SIX

"SIX" at Chicago Shakespeare Theater
The Queens of Chicago Shakespeare Theater’s North American Premiere production of “SIX,” written by Toby Marlow and Lucy Moss and directed by Lucy Moss and Jamie Armitage, in The Yard at Chicago Shakespeare, May 14 to Aug. 4, 2019. Pictured: Jane Seymour (Abby Mueller), Katherine Howard (Samantha Pauly), Catherine of Aragon (Adrianna Hicks), Anne Boleyn (Andrea Macasaet), Anna of Cleves (Brittney Mack), and Catherine Parr (Anna Uzele). (Photo by Liz Lauren.)

Extended due to popular demand, this musical has been called “pure entertainment” by The New York Times and “one of the must-see shows of 2019” by Chicago Reader. Plus, the soundtrack has already been streamed more than 17 million times. Chicago Shakespeare Theater, 800 E. Grand Ave., Chicago

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Anna Carlson writes the weekly Weekend 101 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