Opens July 1: Hamill Family Wild Encounters
Brookfield Zoo 8400 W. 31st St., Brookfield
Get up close and personal with animals such as parakeets, wallabies, goats, red pandas, llamas, alpacas and reindeer at this new Brookfield Zoo exhibit.
July 1-5: Eyes to the Skies Festival
1825 Short St., Lisle
Look to the skies as hot air balloons take flight over Lisle. If you want the experience without actually flying, take a ride in a tethered balloon. You’ll also enjoy a carnival, children’s area, craft fair, fireworks and live music.
July 3-5: July 4th Fest
Six Flags Great America, 1 Great America Parkway, Gurnee
Celebrate Independence Day—and take advantage of some time off—at Six Flags. The park will be offering exclusive ride time, live music and a Coca-Cola® July 4th zone with a DJ, dance contest and games with prizes. There will also be fireworks all three nights.
July 6-8: Chicago Cubs vs. St. Louis Cardinals
Wrigley Field, 1060 W. Addison St., Chicago
There’s nothing better than a summer day at Wrigley, and it’s always fun when the rival Cardinals are in town. So buy a beer and a hot dog, check out that new video board and enjoy America’s favorite pastime.
July 8-12: Taste of Chicago
Grant Park, 337 E. Randolph St., Chicago
This was a big year for Chicago’s food scene, so slather on some sunscreen and get ready for a tasty day (or five!) trying the best that Chicago’s restaurants and food trucks have to offer.
July 13: The Marvel Experience (CANCELED)
McCormick Place, 2301 S. Martin Luther King Drive, Chicago
Become a S.H.I.E.L.D. recruit and join forces with Marvel heroes in this interactive experience in Chicago through Aug. 2.
July 14: “Disney’s The Little Mermaid”
Chicago Shakespeare Theater’s Courtyard Theater, 800 E. Grand Ave., Chicago
Go “Under the Sea” with everyone’s favorite mermaid in this 75-minute production that’s perfect for getting kids out of the heat and into theatrical fun. The show runs through Aug. 16.
July 15: Chicago Fire vs. Columbus Crew SC
Toyota Park, 7000 Harlem Ave., Bridgeview
Get fired up for the Fire soccer this summer on First Responders Appreciation Night. And stick around for fireworks after the game.
July 16-19: Vernon Hills Summer Celebration
Century Park, 1101 Lakeview Parkway, Vernon Hills
These four days will be packed with carnival rides, a bags tournament, fireworks, a car show and children’s activities, including crafts, face painting and magic. Bands will also perform throughout the weekend, including headliner Lonestar.
July 17: The Grove Craft Beer & Wine Festival
The Grove, 1421 Milwaukee Ave., Glenview
This brand-new event will offer 70 craft beer and wine options plus food from some of Glenview’s best restaurants and food trucks, and live music. Proceeds will benefit the Grove Heritage Association.
July 18: Chicago Red Stars vs. Boston Breakers
Village of Lisle Benedictine University Sports Complex, 5700 College Road, Lisle
Can’t make it to Canada for the FIFA Women’s World Cup this summer? Head out to Lisle for a Chicago Red Stars game instead. Tickets start at $10.
July 20: Nature Connects®: Art with LEGO® Bricks by Sean Kenney
The Morton Arboretum, 4100 Illinois Route 53, Lisle
This display of LEGO sculptures—which took roughly 4,170 hours (or 173 days) and nearly half a million LEGO bricks to complete—is visiting the Chicago area for the first time.
July 21: Kane County Cougars Bark in the Park Night #1
34W002 Cherry Lane, Geneva
Bring your furry friend to the ballpark and enjoy Throwback Tuesday ticket prices ($5 box seats, $4 reserved seats and $3 lawn seats). The promotion takes place for all Tuesday games from June to September.
July 22: Behind-the-Scenes Tour of Shedd
Shedd Aquarium, 1200 S. Lake Shore Drive, Chicago
The Shedd offers 50-minute, behind-the-scenes tours every day between the last week of June and Labor Day. You’ll visit the animal healthcare center, go behind the galleries, and see how meals are prepared for some of the 32,000 animals that call the aquarium home.
July 23: Sip & Shop: Uncorked
Westfield Old Orchard, 4999 Old Orchard Center, Skokie
Experience fine wines right here on the North Shore. Sample wines and treats while you discover trends in fashion and beauty, or purchase tickets for the VIP After Party on the rooftop. Sip & Shop: Uncorked will also take place June 25.
July 24: Spirit of Chicago Cocktail Cruise
Departing from Navy Pier, 600 E. Grand Ave., Chicago
The Spirit Cruises website calls this “your office rescue,” so leave work a little early and enjoy a cocktail on the water.
July 25-26: Randolph Street Market
Plumbers Hall, 1340 W. Washington, Chicago
Update your home this summer with vintage finds from this market, a favorite of celebrity designer Nate Berkus.
July 27: “The Last Supper: 600 Plates Illustrating Final Meals of U.S. Death Row Inmates”
Mary & Leigh Block Museum of Art, 40 Arts Circle Drive, Evanston
Capital punishment will always be a hot topic. Get a different perspective with this exhibit featuring Julie Green’s paintings of last meal requests, accompanied only by the meal request, date and state. Through Aug 9.
July 28: “Into the Woods”
Ethel M. Barber Theater, 30 Arts Circle Drive, Evanston
All of your favorite fairy tale characters (Cinderella, Little Red Riding Hood, Rapunzel) come together to break a witch’s curse in this Stephen Sondheim classic.
July 29: Shania Twain: Rock This Country Tour
Allstate Arena, 6920 N. Mannheim Road, Rosemont
Shania’s farewell tour is making a stop in Rosemont. Don’t miss out on seeing this country superstar while you still can.
July 30: Art Institute of Chicago’s Free Thursday Evenings
111 S. Michigan Ave., Chicago
We’re lucky to have the No. 1 museum in the world (according to TripAdvisor reviewers) in our own backyard, so don’t forget to visit this summer. Admission is free for all Illinois residents.
July 31: Brandi Carlile and Old Crow Medicine Show
Ravinia, 200 Ravinia Park Road, Highland Park
One of the area’s best summer traditions is Ravinia, because what’s better than enjoying a little food and wine on the grass as you kick off your shoes and listen to some of the best bands in the country?