Fairs & Festivals: July

Chicago’s July lineup has something for every type of fair and fest-goer: the hungry, the grungy, the wordsmiths and audiophiles. Read more to discover where you fit.

Hungry natives and visiting friends.

tasteTaste of Chicago; July 6-10; Grant Park

Eat your way through the city’s smorgasbord. Get lost among pop-up restaurants and food trucks from BRGRBELLY and Pastoral Artisan Cheese to Firecakes Donuts, The Happy Lobster Truck and La Jefa. Celebrity chefs will inspire while Elle King, The Decemberists, Shakey Graves, Billy Idol and more entertain.

Offbeat fest freaks looking for alternative diversion.

Tour-de-Fat-Chicago-2014Tour de FatJuly 9; Palmer Square Park

Sponsored by New Belgium Brewery, this year’s bike parade meets circus charade welcomes headliners Dr. Dog and Mucca Pazza. Quality beverages and a medley of pro-environment entertainment make this event a hipster’s dream day.


Burger fanatics scoping out paradise...and big kosher pickles. 

Screen Shot 2016-07-07 at 12.20.33 PMRoscoe Village Burger Fest; July 9-10; Clybourn Ave (Diversey to Wellington)

Devoted to arguably the best meat and bread combo ever, this fest is back to make you salivate for a tenth consecutive year. Kids’ crafts, rock climbing, mini golf, live tunes and awards round out the affair. All degrees of famished are welcome.

Medieval wannabes seeking a riddle or joust, perchance. 

mask-shopBristol Renaissance Faire; July 9-September 5 (Saturdays, Sundays and Labor Day); 12550 120th Ave, Kenosha, WI

Just a quick(ish) jaunt north will take you back in time—to succulent dishes, the original pub crawls, strange talk and acts of splendor. Beware dragons, and begin your quest.

Those who secretly want to bust out a jig. 


Irish American Heritage Festival; July 10-12; Irish American Heritage Center (4626 N Knox Ave)

Celebrate like the Irish with a step, a song, a drink and a morsel. The Shannon Rovers, Flatfoot 56, Eileen Ivers and a slew of Irish dancers will help you pace. Indulge in cultural displays, family activities and souvenir opportunities.

Cool kids and cooler parents that can sway to Beach House AND Brian Wilson.


Pitchfork; July 15 – 17; Union Park; Tickets start at $65

Meticulously crafted lineup meshes indie darlings, rising acts and Miguel? Pitchfork knows how to play the wild card. Local vendors accompany the music, obviously. Stalk full lineup here.


Culture lovers whose chopsticks are collecting dust.

hqdefaultChinatown Summer Fair; July 17; Wentworth Ave from Cermak Rd to 24th Pl

Wander into Chicago’s beloved district for Eastern music, dance, art, fare and forms. Merging Old and New World arrays, this Sunday tradition should curb your cravings for Asian travel or at least the daily urge to order Chinese food.

Wicker Park enthusiasts or passersby…or passersbike. 

Veruca-Salt-Wicker-Park-Fest-7-26-15-401Wicker Park Fest; July 23-24; 1600 N Milwaukee Ave (Milwaukee Ave and North Ave)

Do Wicker Park in two days with a fusion of food, music, art, and shopping—somewhat neatly packaged, festival style. If indie, punk, rock and folk make you move, then check out a blend of acts you may have only heard on a coworker’s record player. Alvvays, Rocket From The Crypt, The Mountain Goats and more represent, as do favorite neighborhood vendors.

Those who crave outdoor music and have stamina to spare. 

2010-Lollapalooza-festival-in-Grant-Park-billboard-650Lollapalooza; July 28-31; Grant Park

The legendary festival just cranked it to 11. To mark 25 years of shaking Grant Park grounds, Lolla coordinators have added an extra day, asking Thursday to get involved. While Radiohead, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Lana Del Rey and LCD Soundsystem headline, the full lineup involves too many bands to name, so check the expansive schedule here. Too late to grab tickets, but you can still plan for next year or bribe a less enthused ticket holder.

Anyone who prefers pages to sonic stimulation. 

Book Fair shelvingNewberry Library Book Fair; July 28-31; 60 W Walton St

Immerse yourself in a sea of 200,000 used books. The selection spans genres but hovers on the cheaper side. Whether you’re searching for a gluten-free cookbook, desperately need to fill the void in your political bio library or would rather stick with kids’ lit and collectibles, throw on your readers and browse.

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