Instead of worrying about getting around downtown Chicago with the NASCAR Race July 1 and 2 in 2023, consider taking a fireworks cruise on Tall Ship Windy that Saturday before or Wednesday after July 4.
It goes from Navy Pier so you get the Pier’s Fireworks without the downtown hoopla and street closures. You can also come down a day early and stay in the Sable Hilton Hotel right on Navy Pier to enjoy fun rides, a beer garden, restaurants, art exhibits and a vacation with great views.
On the Fourth
Tune in to PBS at 8 p.m. CT July 4 for “A Capitol Fourth,” a really special annual concert from Washington D.C. that features international stars and patriotic music.
Among this year’s headliners are Renée Fleming, Boyz II Men, Belinda Carlisle, the Broadway cast of “A Beautiful Noise (Neil Diamond) the Muppets, the U.S. Army Herald Trumpets and the National Symphony Orchestra conducted by Jack Everly.
Then, stay tuned forWashington DC Fireworks shooting over the National Mall at 9 p.m. CT, co-sponsored by the National Park Service.
While it is still “Midsummer,” that sometimes mystical time of year around the Summer Solstice, go to the Grant Park Music Festival in Millenium Park to hear Mendelssohn’s “Midsummer Night’s Dream.”
The concert, with Principal Conductor Carlos Kalmar and the Grant Park Orchestra, is June 23 at 6:30 p.m. and June 24 at 7:30 p.m. in the Jay Pritzker Pavilion. The concert is free for lawn sitters and asks for donations for reserved seats.
The Grant Park Music Festival is presented by the Grant Park Orchestral Association with support from the Chicago Park District and Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events (DCASE). For programs and other information visit Grant Park Music Festival.
Back in Millennium Park, the Joffrey Ballet is holding a free, pre-perfomance dance class at 4:45 p.m. June 25. It is followed by a free program at 5:30 p.m. that features the Joffrey Company Artists, the Joffrey Academy and the Joffrey community Engagement Students. For more information visit Joffrey Ballet.
t is easy to miss events when September ends on a Friday and October starts on a weekend. Plus, a COVID break of events for two years changed when some events are re-appearing.
American Craft Expo
Sept. 30 through Oct. 2
Usually held earlier in the year, ACE, as the art exposition is known, will be at the Chicago Botanic Garden again but runs this weekend on the cusp of September/October. A top-notch show of works from100 juried-in artisans, ACE is sponsored by the Auxiliary of NorthShore University HealthSystem and is a fundraiser for NorthShore research and care.
Hours: Friday and Saturday 10 a.m.-6 p.m. and Sunday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. The Chicago Botanic Garden is at 1000 Lake Cook Rd., Glencoe. For more information visit Chicago Botanic Garden and American Craft Expo. Chicago Botanic Garden, CBG/ACE and American Craft Expo.
World Music Festival Chicago
Sept 30 through Oct. 9
The festival has free band concerts at the Chicago Cultural Center and locations across the city from restaurants and bars to the University of Chicago. Its artists and ensembles represent 22 countries and areas. A special feature is Ragamala, the largest all-night long presentation of live Indian classical music in the United States. For more information visit World Music Festival Chicago. For the bands and locations visit Schedule.
Fiddler on the Roof
Oct. 2 through Oct. 7
Opera director Berrie Kosky premiered his “Fiddler on the Roof” at Komische Oper Berlin in 2017. Now it has been adapted by the Lyric Opera of Chicago for its US premiere, but it leaves soon.
Both Grand, with the Lyric Opera Orchestra and Chorus and powerful with fine acting and exceptional dances, “Fiddler” visits the village of Anatevka in 1905 in what became Ukraine (and in 2022 is a war zone.) Lectures on operas and shows are one hour before curtain time.
The Lyric Opera of Chicago is at 20 N. Wacker Dr. For tickets and more information visi. Lyric Opera and call (312) 332-2244.
If you pass Madame ZuZu’s, a café/tearoom and music event space on First Street in Highland Park, IL, you will see a sign with an angel and a couple of cute animals that says “Together and Together Again” (7.27.22).
The sign is an invite to a virtual benefit concert put together by ZuZu’s owner, Billy Corgan and partner Chloé Mendel, for the Highland Park Community Foundation.
Yes, it’s the North Shore town that never expected its July 4th parade to be on the news for a mass shooting. And yes, Corgan, frontman of Smashing Pumpkins, is an HP resident.
To be held July 27, 2022, 8 to 10 p.m., the concert will include, among others, Corgan, Smashing bandmate Jimmy Chamberlin, Frank Catalano (Jazz sax), the Bob Moses duo of Tom Howie and Timmy Vallance and the classical Lincoln Trio. Other entertainers will be named later.
Attendance and items to purchase are virtual through the Smashing Pumpkins YouTube site. For more info visit Zuzucafe.com event. Zuzu’s is at 1876 First St., Highland Park, IL.
J is for June. This is the month where North Halsted Street is a blaze with rainbow colors, Millenium Park has three entertainment stages and Jay Pritzker Pavilion resounds with the Blues and Grant Park’s Classics.
Sing the Blues
Or just be moved by its mood and rhythm when Chicago celebrates its hometown sound at the annual Blues Festival June 9-12.
The city has expanded the Festival to add blues bands to Chase’s Promenade North and South Stage to the Pritzker Pavilion stage . Check the Blues Band Schedule for Dates, Times and Stage.
In addition, Blues Festival bands will be at the Riverwalk June 9-10 and join with Taste of Chicago in Austin June 11 and Bronzeville June 12.
Pride Fest and Parade
Dress up if you want but join in the LGBTQ+ fun at Chicago Pride Fest June 18-19. .Come for the food, stage shows and entertainment. Return the next weekend for the city’s famed Pride Parade.
Pride Fest is on Halsted Street from Addison to Grace from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. both days. A $15 donation is suggested to cover costs. All Ages are welcome. Not welcome are backpacks, large bags and outside beverages. For more information visit Pride Fest About.
Then, dance,, hoot and howl with thousands of LGBTQ+ supporters June 26 for the 52 Annual Pride Parade along a four-mile route. The parade of floats, performers, bands and marchers starts off at noon from Montrose Avenue and Broadway in Uptown. Then winds through the city’s north side (map) including Northalsted and Lakeview to end near Diversey Parkway and Sheridan Road in Lincoln Park.
Pride in the Park
Pride celebrations continue June 25-26 in Grant Park (entrance on Monroe) with a ticketed ($60 Sat. $50 Sun. $105 two-day pass) music and food festival, Saturday 2 to 10 p.m. and Sunday 3 to 10 p.m. For tickets and other information visit Pride in the Park.
Go over to Millennium Park for its Music Series, Tuesdays and Thursdays, 6:30 to 9.m. for a variety of singers and instrumentalists. Held in the Jay Pritzker Pavilion, seating is free. The series opens June 20 with renowned Nigerian Afrobeat saxophonist, composer Femi Kuti.
For classical music in the Pritzker Pavilion, check out the Grant Park Music Festival. It opens June 15 with Mozart Symphony No. 35, 6:30 to 8 p.m.. Seats up front are ticketed and reserved. Further back and bring your own chair or blanket seating is free.
Don’t let April and early May’s bad weather stop you from thinking about enjoying music at Ravinia Festival in Highland Park, IL this summer.
Ravinia concert tickets went on sale to the public online May 4 at 8 a.m. at Ravinia .org The site has the summer schedule May 20 through Sept. 18, 2022 and ticket info. (Donors already had early access to concert tickets.)
To learn what ticket buyers need to know go to Are you prepared? It includes getting a Ravinia account (needed for tickets), a warning against secondary sellers and suggestions about where to sit. Seating on the lawn directly behind the Pavilion now has reserved spaces.
Along with the Pavilion and indoor theaters, Ravinia will hold a series on the Carousel stage that was new last year on the North Lawn. Seating there is general admission and casual.
The Ravinia Carousel concert series includes many local artists including: Ravinia Festival’s Reach Teach Play Jazz Mentors & Scholars, June 19, Chicago band Summer Drive, June 23, Son Little, June 25, Chicago band Rookie, July 8, Chicago-based Licensed to Sail DJs present Club MTV, August 26, Chicago-based band Tobacco City, September 2, Chicago singer KAINA, September 11 and Flor de Toloache, September 18.
In addition, some opening acts for the Pavilion headliners will appear on the Carousel stage. They include: Southern Avenue opening for Sheryl Crow with special guest Keb’ Mo’, July 7, Mac Saturn opening for The Black Crowes, July 12, Lindsey Ellopening for Little Big Town, July 20, SiriusXM Globalization DJs opening for Pitbull with special guest Iggy Azalea, August 25, Naturally 7opening for Diana Ross, September 4 and Ravyn Lenae opening for Erykah Badu, September 11.
Also, look and listen for performances at the Kohl Kaplan Fountain including a jazz quartet June 2 and 7, a jazz combo June 8, Nanny Nikki June 18, the saxophone quartet Nois Aug. 21 and the Mariachi son de Fuego Sept. 18.
In addition, the Chicago-based Adrian Dunn Singersspiritual and gospel choir joins the concert by the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and Marcus Roberts Trio on July 16, and Chicago-based vocalistsDevin DeSantis, Susan Moniz, and Bethany Thomas join Brian Stokes Mitchell, Heather Headley, and Alexandra Billingsfor Yours, Stephen Sondheim: His Letters, Mentorship, and Musicwith the Chicago Symphony Orchestra onAugust 7.
Canceled: June 25 performance by Why Don’t We with special guests The Aces and JVKE.
While in the park, visit the Ravinia Music Box. Free to park guests, it has a 65-seat, wraparound holographic theater and a museum gallery space. Figure half an hour if viewing before a concert.
COVID protocols are making it possible to hold events at the Lyric Opera, Symphony Center and North Shore Center for the Performing Arts. So, when winter needs a mood changer, try Verdi, jazz, Debussy or Music of the Baroque.
“Verdi Voices” brings joins soprano Tamara Wilson and tenor Russell Thomas with conductor Enrique Mazzola and the Lyric Opera Orchestra to perform favorites from La Traviata, Aida, Otello and some less familiar arias and duets on Feb. 6 at 2 p.m. at the Lyric Opera House, 20 N. Wacker Drive, Chicago. For tickets and more information visit Verdi Voices or 2021|22 Season | Lyric Opera of Chicago.
From jazz and the CSO At the Movies (Casablanca) and from Prokofiev to Rachmaninov, there is a lot going on in different musical genres at the CSO”s Orchestra Hall in February, 2022. Check out the calendar at Symphony Center concert listings.
Music of the Baroque
“The Chevalier,” a concert drama about the first major Black classical composer, Joseph Bologne, (Chevalier de Saint-Georges), will be at the North Shore Center for the Performing Arts, 9501 Skokie Blvd., Skokie, Feb. 19 at 7:30 p.m. Written and directed by Bill Barclasy with music by Joseph Bologne, the concert drama was commissioned by the Boston Symphony Orchestra in 2018. For tickets and mor information visit North Shore Center/event.
Chicago a cappella, a versatile, talented vocal ensemble of professional singers, is back doing concerts across the Chicago area. “Holidays a cappella,” a program of beautiful Christmas and Chanukah music, runs Dec. 3 through Dec. 12, 2021.
Founded in 1993, Chicago a cappella has a subscription series and does live and broadcast-media musical content plus educational outreach programming. The group gives performances on tour and in special engagements.
Check the following schedule for a concert near you:
Friday, December 3 (8 PM): St Josaphat Church, 2311 N. Southport Ave., Chicago
Saturday, December 4 (8 PM): Highland Park Community House, 1991 Sheridan Rd., Highland Park
Sunday, December 5 (4 PM): Community UMC, 20 Center St., Naperville
Friday, December 10 (8 PM): Fourth Presbyterian Church (Buchanan Chapel), 115 E. Delaware Pl., Chicago
Saturday, December 11 (8 PM): Nichols Concert Hall, 1490 Chicago Ave., Evanston
Sunday, December 12, (4 PM): Pilgrim Congregational, 460 Lake St., Oak Park
Fall is for Festivals from toasting fall beer at Octoberfests and enjoying the fruits of the season at an Applefest to browsing fine art and crafts at art fairs and swaying to the blues in Millennium Park .
Here is a quick rundown of some of the fun outdoor fests to still catch in September in and around Chicago
Sept. 17 Englewood Jazz Festival Sponsored by the Chicago Park District, the festival is at Hamilton (Alexander) Park, 513 W. 72nd St. from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m..
Sept 18, Blues at Millenium Park Part of Chicago in Tune, audiences can move to the music on the lawn or sit in in the Pritzker Pavilion (Fandolph Street east of Michigan Avenue.)
Sept. 16-26: Glendale Heights Oktoberfest in Camera Park, 101 E Fullerton Ave, Glendale will be all week. Hours are Mon-Thur 5 to 10 p.m., Fri, 5 to Midnight, Sat. Noon to Midnight and Sunday, Noon to 10 p.m. Admission $5 after 5 p.m., ages 16 and under free.
Sept. 18-19 Sam Adams Taco Fest Held in Lakeview on Southport Avenue between Addison and Roscoe, the hours are from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. For more info check Chicago events.
Sept. 19: Bloody Mary Fest Held in Everts Park, 111 North Ave. in Highwood a little city (just over a square mile) that is known for great restaurants, the drink (and food, and music) event goes from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Sept. 24-25: Chicago Gourmet takes over the Harris Theatre Rooftop on Randolph Street at Millennium Park. It’s not all fancy food, so go for really good tacos and burgers. For tickets and details visit Gourmet.
Sept. 24-26: Oktoberfest Chicago Held in Lakeview at 1429 W. Wellington, the event is Fri, 5 to 10 p.m., Sat. 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. and Sun. 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Cost: $10 Friday and Saturday and $5 Sunday.
Sept. 24-26: AppleFest is a popular Long Grove festival that is a chance to see the historic town while munching on apple cider donuts, chocolate and caramel dipped apples. Held downtown Long Grove at 308 Old McHenry Road and the Stemple Parking Lot, the hours are Fri noon to 11 p.m. Sat. 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. and Sun 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. cost is $5., ages 6 and under free.
Arts and crafts
Sept. 18-19: Riverwalk Fine Art Fair is held in Naperville at Main and Jackson and along the river from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Sept. 18-19: Artfest Michigan Avenue An Amdur Productions juried art fair, about 70 artists will fill the courtyard space at 401 N Michigan Avenue between the former Tribune Tower and the Apple store, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Sept. 18-19: West Loop Art Fest covers four blocks in the booming West Fulton Street, North Sangamon Street area from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Sept. 18-19:Renegade Craft Fair A popular Wicker Park neighborhood festival, the booths will be up along Division Street between Damen and Ashland Avenues from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Sept. 24-25:West Town Art Walk Art walks were once popular on Friday nights in towns across the country. A few have moved, reinvented themselves where art galleries still exist or have moved in such as in Chicago’s West Town neighborhood. This festival covers Division to Hubbard and Halsted to Kedzie but free Pedicabs are available to visit the galleries on Friday from 5 to 8 p.m. and Saturday from noon to 8 p.m. For more details visit West Town Art Walk | West Town Chamber
Chicago’s famed Gospel , Blues and Jazz festivals won’t happen until this fall (hey, it takes time to bring back their featured performers). To see who what and when visit Chicago festivals reimagined.
But the Chicago area will still be swinging, rocking and keyboarding the classics outdoors, this summer.
Check out Aurora for rock, the Grant Park Music Festival for classics and a 4th of July salute, the Windy City Smokeout bands and Ravinia Festival for all of that from rock to pop and classics.
Just west of Chicago, Aurora has a terrific rock concert line up this summer. There are a few tickets left for REO Speedwagon, July 1, 8 p.m. at the River Ridge Park. Then, on July 16 there is Tribute to Fleetwood Mac. For tickets and more concert schedule info visit Aurora Pop/Rock.
Windy City Smokeout
The popular eat, drink and good band festival takes over Parking Lot C at the United Center, 1901 W. Madison St., Chicago, July 8-11, 2021. Headliners include Dierks Bentley, Jon Pardi, Brett Eldredge and Darius Rucker. For more info visit Windy City Smokeout.
Grant Park Music Festival
Held in Millennium Park’s Pritzker Pavilion, the longtime Chicago summer concert series starts July 2-3 with a mix of crowd pleasers from John Williams’ Summon the Heroes, Scott Joplin’s Overture to Treemonisha and a Robert Lowden arrangement of the Armed Forces Salute to pieces from Leonard Bernstein’s West Side Story, Tchaikovsky’s1812 Overture and John Philip Sousa’sStars and Stripes Forever. The Festival continues with such classics as Rossini’s Overture to Willian Tell on July 7 and Brahms’ Symphony No. 3 on July 9-10. For complete schedule and other information visit Grant Park Music Festival
Located at the south east end of Highland Park, the historic music festival brings in world renown artists in classic, folk, pop and jazz genres, plus it is the summer home of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. The July schedule features pianist Jorge Frederico Osorio playing Mozart on July 9 with Marin Alsop conducting the CSO, jazz/pop singer Kurt Elling July 13 and Rock band Counting Crows, Aug. 19. For tickets, complete schedule and other information visit Ravinia.org.