Get your calendars ready for a summer full of fun and special events including city festivals, SummerDance, the Grant Park Music Festival, the summer film series and more taking place in Millennium Park.
The Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events (DCASE) and its partners are pleased to present a diverse lineup of Chicago artists as well as musical acts from across the U.S. and the globe. Lineups for the festivals, music series and film series will be released later this spring. Admission to all events and festivals is FREE.
2018 Summer Season Schedule: May-September
Chicago House Music Festival
Chicago House Music Festival kicks off the summer in Millennium Park on Saturday, May 26, from 1 to 9 p.m. at the Jay Pritzker Pavilion, the Great Lawn, the North Chase Promenade and the South Chase Promenade.
The festival will feature DJs and live performances on three stages will showcase the various sounds and styles of house music, the musical form born in Chicago that has gone on to revolutionize dance music internationally.
Chicago Gospel Music Festival
The 33rd Chicago Gospel Music Festival takes place in Millennium Park, as well as the Chicago Cultural Center, June 1–2. The two-day festival, features local and national artists, celebrates the music style’s deep Chicago roots with traditional choirs and contemporary urban gospel music.
Chicago Blues Festival
The 35th Annual Chicago Blues Festival comes to the park June 8–10. The Blues Festival shares the great Chicago-born music tradition with the world showcasing hip hop, R&B, rock, pop and more in the city’s premier outdoor music venue. Headliners performing at the Jay Pritzker Pavilion over the three days include: Corey Dennison Band; Mississippi Heat with Billy Flynn and Giles Corey; Special Tribute to Bob Koester and the 65th Anniversary of Delmark Records; Selwyn Birchwood; Willie Clayton; Little Walter Tribute; Fantastic Negrito, Kenny Neal and Mavis Staples.
Millennium Park Summer Music Series
The Millennium Park Summer Music Series features a lineup of outdoor concerts on most Mondays and Thursdays, June 18–August 16, at 6:30 p.m., and on Sunday, August 12 at 6:30 p.m. at the Jay Pritzker Pavilion. The music series features a wide variety of genre-defying music from top local, national and international artists—both established and emerging.
Millennium Park Summer Film Series
The popular Millennium Park Summer Film Series will take place on Tuesdays from June 5-August 21 at 6:30 p.m. Each film in the series will feature a festival, providing a season-long sampling of themes, ethnicities and genres to reflect the city’s rich passion for cinema in all its variety. Guest can view the films projected on a state-of-the-art, 40-foot LED screen from the Jay Pritzker Pavilion (first come, first served) or spread out a blanket and watch from the Great lawn. In addition, before each feature film, the ChicagoMade Shorts program will screen an original work by a locally-based filmmaker.
SummerDance Celebration, a day-long family-friendly festival of dance throughout the park ,will take place on Saturday, August 25, noon to 9 p.m. Highlights include a dance village, interactive dances from around the world, Chicago-based dance companies performing at the Jay Pritzker Pavilion, a House DJ Dance Party at Cloud Gate, and much more.
Chicago Jazz Festival
A favorite Labor Day weekend tradition, the 40th Annual Chicago Jazz Festival, August 29–September 2, showcases four stages of free live performances by Chicago’s vast jazz talent alongside national and international jazz legends and artists. NEW! The Chicago Jazz Festival will open at the Jay Pritzker Pavilion on Wednesday, August 29 at 6:30 p.m. with concert by the Chicago Jazz Philharmonic.
World Music Festival Chicago
The 20th Annual World Music Festival Chicago rounds out the city’s summer music festival season with performances taking place September 7–23 in various locations including Millennium Park. will serve as one of the many festival venues with a performance at the Jay Pritzker Pavilion on Saturday, September 15, 3–9 p.m.
Creative Youth Festival
2018 has been declared the Year of Creative Youth by Mayor Rahm Emanuel, and the Creative Youth Festival presented by AllState Insurance Company on Saturday, September 22, will showcase youth artists in dance, theatre, music, spoken word, the visual arts and more.
Grant Park Music Festival
For more than 80 years, the Grant Park Music Festival has been Chicago’s summer tradition. The 2018 GPMF will take place June 13–August 18. The fest will bring a summer of world and Midwest premieres, along with Festival favorites and renowned guest artists to the park. Most performances are Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays at the Jay Pritzker Pavilion, with free seats available for every concert.
Throughout the summer season, Millennium Park will also feature a series of one-night-only special performances showcasing classical music, dance, opera, Broadway hits and more, performed by some of Chicago’s best-loved cultural institutions. Highlights include:
- The Chicago Jazz Philharmonic on Thursday, June 14, Monday, July 16, Monday, July 30, and Wednesday, August 29, (opening night of the Chicago Jazz Festival in the park) at 6:30 p.m.;
- The Chicago Mariachi Festival on Sunday, June 24, at 2 p.m.;
- Wait, Wait Don’t Tell Me on Thursday, August 9, at 6:30 p.m.;
- Broadway In Chicago Summer Concert at Millennium Park on Monday, August 13, at 6:15 p.m.;
- Stars of Lyric on Friday, September 7, at 7:30 p.m. and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra:
- Concert for Chicago on Friday, September 20, at 6:30 p.m. For a complete schedule and updates, visit millenniumpark.org.
- Make Music Chicago, Wednesday, June 21 at 11 a.m.–4 p.m. Over 700 cities worldwide participate in this annual music-making celebration on the Summer Solstice. Enjoy free musical events in Millennium Park’s Wrigley Square.
- Pilates at 7 a.m.,
- Yoga at 8 a.m.,
- Strength Training at 9 a.m.
- Zumba® at 10 a.m.
- Weekday Yoga will also be offered on Tuesday and Thursday mornings, June 5–August 31, 7:30–8:15 a.m.
Family Fun Festival
Families are invited to join the fun all summer long with activities, including music and arts and crafts for kids of all ages at the Family Fun Festival, Mondays through Fridays, June 25–August 10, 10 a.m.–2p.m.
After School Matters
For teens and visitors of all ages, the After School Matters Summer Program, Mondays through Fridays, June 25–August 10, 9 a.m.–1 p.m., will showcase Chicago teens discovering their potential all summer long— including programs in furniture painting, hat design, mural creation and more (under the tent at Chase Promenade North)—and After School Matters Jazz Band rehearsals and performances (Wrigley Square).
Lurie Garden Plant Sale
Lurie Garden is an internationally-acclaimed 5-acre urban oasis for fun and enrichment in the Southeast corner of Millennium Park, open daily 6 a.m.–11 p.m. FREE summer event include the annual Lurie Garden Plant Sale on Saturday, June 2, 10 a.m.–2 p.m. (with hands-on gardening programs and tips).
Subscribe to Show Me Chicago by email
If you would like to keep in touch with what’s happening in Chicago, like us on Facebook or subscribe to Show Me Chicago by email. To subscribe, type your email address in the box below and click the “create subscription” button. Our list is completely spam free, and you can opt out at any time.