Chicago – Local Festivals

In addition to the main tourist attractions Chicago has to offer, the Windy City holds annual festivals to attract even more visitors. Below are eight popular festivals that span a wide range of interests.


Taste of Chicago

Foodies far and wide should be familiar with the city’s annual festival Taste of Chicago. This is not only the city’s largest food festival but one of the largest outdoor food festivals in the world.

This five-day culinary celebration consists of hundreds of vendors set up in Grant Park, offering samples of their specialties. More than three million people attend the festival, which is free to enter. In order to enjoy the samples, guests purchase rolls of tickets at the festival and trade them in for the samples of their choice.

In addition to food and drinks, Taste of Chicago features local artists, dance troupes, and live music. Attendees can enjoy the performances from Grant Park lawn or purchase seats in the pavilion for a closer experience. Taste of Chicago takes place every July and is not to be missed!


Chicago Blues Festival

The Chicago Blues Festival is a massive, three-day festival that takes over Millennium Park every June. The festival refers to Chicago as “the birthplace of the urban blues, gospel music, house music, jazz, and more,” which is why the festival takes place there each year.

The Chicago Blues Festival celebrates the past and present of blues music and highlights everything the genre has contributed to modern music. The festival does this by welcoming musical artists of various genres to perform. Every day, Millennium Park is packed with performances spanning six stages, allowing thousands of attendees to experience the best music around.



One of the most popular local breweries in Chicago, Metropolitan Brewing, holds a popular Oktoberfest celebration, called Metroberfest, each year. This company specializes in German-style lagers, making Oktoberfest the perfect holiday for them to celebrate.

This free festival is open to all guests and goes from noon to midnight. This provides the community an afternoon to sample Metropolitan’s delicious, seasonal beers. There are more than a dozen beers on tap, along with multiple food trucks and live music throughout the day. Attendees can also participate in a stein-hoisting contest, which tests how long they can hold a beer stein with their arm extended, parallel to the ground.

Metroberfest values the simple pleasure of spending time with friends while enjoying the crisp, fall weather. It’s this kind of casual fun that attracts so many attendees to Metroberfest every year. The festival is perfect for those who want to celebrate fall while trying new, seasonal beers.


World Music Festival Chicago

ChicagoFor more than two weeks, musicians from around the globe flock to Chicago to play their country’s native music at World Music Festival Chicago. India, Peru, France, South Africa, and China are just a few of the countries represented in this festival.

World Music Festival Chicago starts off in quite a unique way. On the first day of the festival, there’s an overnight, 14-hour performance of classical Indian music in the Chicago Cultural Center. Then, for the next 16 days, musicians from around the world perform their music in venues across the city. Those looking for a unique musical experience will find one at World Music Festival Chicago.


Sam Adams’ Lakeview Taco Fest

Tacos and beer make for a fantastic combination, and Sam Adams’ Lakeview Taco Fest is proof of that. This festival brings the best of both worlds to Southport Corridor, a beautiful lakefront neighborhood.


At Sam Adams’ Lakeview Taco Fest, more than a dozen restaurants create their own tacos for attendees to enjoy. There are traditional fillings like chicken, steak, and beef, but other eateries kick it up a notch and offer their own unique creations. These include tacos filled with coffee-rubbed steak, tequila shrimp, and even duck. Attendees vote for their favorite restaurant via text and can stick around for the awards ceremony at the end of the festival.

In addition to tacos and seasonal beers, there is plenty of entertainment to liven up the festival. There are two stages where local bands perform, artists with vendor booths, a kid-friendly play area, and Mexican wrestling shows.


Chicago Gourmet

If you missed Taste of Chicago, not to worry. Every September is Chicago Gourmet, another fantastic food festival in the Windy City. This weekend-long culinary celebration is put on by Bon Appétit and brings in celebrity chefs from all over the country.

The festival starts off with an event called the Hamburger Hop, which is sponsored by Buckhead Meat of Chicago and Blue Moon Brewing Company. There, chefs duke it out in an attempt to bring the best possible burger to Chicago. A panel of judges decides which one is the best in the city, while attendees choose the People’s Choice winner.

After the Hamburger Hop, Chicago Gourmet moves to Millennium Park and sets up more than 250 booths beside the iconic Jay Pritzker Pavilion. The area’s best restaurants, wineries, breweries, and distilleries fill these booths, giving attendees the opportunity to meet, speak to, and learn from them. Professional chefs and casual foodies alike will be in their glory at Chicago Gourmet.



ChicagoOne of the biggest music festivals in the world takes place right in Chicago. Lollapalooza, which started in 1991, is an incredibly popular event that attendees look forward to all year round. The three-day festival takes place in Grant Park the last weekend in July and is packed with a wide variety of performances.

At Lollapalooza, you’re as likely to see up-and-coming DJs as you are to see Lady Gaga, Metallica, or Kanye West. The biggest artists dominate the main stage, while other areas of the festival welcome up-and-coming artists. Meanwhile, there is even a miniature festival within Lollapalooza for children and families to enjoy.

In addition to unforgettable live music, Lollapalooza has food vendors, cabanas with premium beverages, spa treatments, merchandise stands, photo booths, and art installations. Attending Lollapalooza is an experience you won’t soon forget.


Chicago Kids and Kites Festival

Every spring, the city celebrates the change of seasons by holding the Chicago Kids and Kites Festival. The whole family can enjoy a day in Lincoln Park, watching professional kite performances and participating themselves.

The Kids and Kites Festival provides free kite-making kits for kids, and the most committed attendees can purchase their own.

While colorful kites fill the sky, festival attendees can enjoy face painting, arts and crafts, and balloon animals. The family-friendly Chicago Kids and Kites Festival is a fun way to welcome the warm weather.