Five Chicago Festivals Tourists Don’t Know About

Sure, Chicago’s winters are notoriously horrible. The wind blowing off of Lake Michigan is enough to make you want run back to bed. But there is a payoff- the summers are glorious. Chicagoans know how to make the most of it too, and fill the warm months with parties and festivals. Some of which people from all over the country and world descend upon the city, and mix with the locals. Some you may have heard of- Taste of Chicago, Lollapalooza, and Blues Fest- but there are so many more! No matter when you’re planning to visit Chicago during the summer months, you will almost certainly be in town for some sort of street celebration. Here are a few of the best that are little known outside of our fair city.

  • Wicker Park Fest. This has become one of the city’s premier neighborhood festivals. Wicker Park is a great place to be anyway. It’s filled with a variety of bars, cute cafes, locally owned boutiques, green space, hip music venues, and art galleries. What more could you want from a place? How about a highly anticipated weekend long festival filled with indie bands, DJs, local food and art vendors, and family activities. This is exactly the type of event that spreads FOMO like wild fire.
  • Sausage Fest. Yes, we went there. For meat lovers everywhere, this party showcases the city’s sausage makers from the well established historic vendors, to the new and upcoming stars. After being hosted in Old Town for a few seasons, the fest is back in Wrigleyville which is a great place to explore anyway. If you go you must stay for the crowning of the Sausage King of Chicago!
  • Riot Fest. Humboldt Park doesn’t get enough love. Crime has really been cleaning up in recent years, and the park at the heart of the neighborhood is huge! The area is now also home to Riot Fest- part rowdy music festival, part carnival. In the past we have seen bands such as Weezer, Offspring, and Elvis Costello. Besides, when is the last time you played Whack-A-Mole?
  • Chicago Ale Fest. Do you like beer? Perfect, you’re coming! This fest is located right downtown around Buckingham Fountain in Grant Park. You will have your choice of more than 200 all American craft brews, as well as food from some of Chicago’s most famous restaurants. Expect some live music to enjoy while sipping and enjoying the view of the skyline.
  • Fiesta Del Sol. When it comes to festivals celebrating the rich diversity of Chicago’s residents you have your pick, and this one’s the largest Latino festival in the Midwest. Hey, if you can indulge in your Irish side (whether real or imaginary) during St. Patrick’s Day there is no reason you can’t unleash your Latino side during Fiesta Del Sol! Pilsen, where it is located, has been on the up and up in the past couple of years. It has surprised the city with new ultra hip bars and restaurants, but still is one of the best places in the city for great traditional Mexican food. This mix of old and new Latino culture is certainly represented at the fest, so don’t miss it!

This short list only scratches the surface, there is a festival to suit all tastes in the Windy City. Be sure to include at least one into your summer Chicago visit!

What’s your favorite Chicago Festival? Comment it below!


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