11 Free Chicago Summer Festivals You Don't Want to Miss

11 Free Chicago Summer Festivals You Don't Want to Miss

Enjoy the best music, art and food Chicago has to offer!

The weather is warm, the sun is out (sorta), and summer has finally arrived. But what’s the best way to celebrate summer in Chicago? Neighborhood festivals of course! Just at the start of June all the way through the end of August, Chicago is home to a variety of vibrant neighborhood festivals celebrating the cultural diversity of the Windy City.

Mayfest (Maifest)

In Chicago’s Lincoln Square, the annual Mayfrest (or German “Maifest”) occurs June 1st- June 4th celebrating Lincoln Square’s vibrant German heritage. The festival takes places by Lincoln and Leland ave and features bands like Polkaholics, Mike Zabrin’s Funktastic, and Uncle Bob and the Bluzers. Attendees enjoy German food and music as well as the coronation of May Queen. For more information, visit their, website.

Andersonville Midsommarfest

The beautiful neighborhood of Andersonville is home to the Swedish Art Museum and one of the largest LGBT communities in Chicago. The neighborhood hosts the Andersonville Midsommarfest during June 9th-June 11th along Clark Street between Foster Avenue and Catalpa Street. This street festival features food, music, dancing, and even activities for the kids. Celebrate pride month with Andersonville and attend the Chicago Equality Rally on June 11th at the tail end of the festival. Midsommarfest asks for a $10 donation to help benefit future Midsommarfests. For more information, visit their website.

Chicago Pridefest

For those who don’t know, June is a celebration of pride for the LGBT community. In the neighborhood of Boystown located between Lakeview and Lincoln park just off of the scenic Lake Shore Drive, residents take part in a month long celebration of gender identity and sexual orientation. The heart of the celebrations take place during Chicago Pridefest on June 17th and 18th on Halsted and Addison featuring performances from Carlito Olivero to Abba Salute and will also feature a DJ for fun dancing on Halsted. Don’t miss the pride parade on June 25th! For more information, visit their website.

West Fest

source: chicago.brooklynvegan.com

Hosted by the West Town community, West Fest brings attendees a unique event featuring local artists and food vendors at their annual street festival. West Fest will take place on July 7th-9th along Chicago Avenue between Damen and Wood Street. The event also includes two additional sub-events: Pet Fest which will have a dog obstacle course and paw painting hosted by Canine Crews and Doggy Style Petshop as well as Kid Fest featuring a kid-friendly stage, pony rides, and local theatrical performances. For more information, visit their website.

Chinatown Summer Fair

On July 16th, Chicago’s own Chinatown will host their annual Chinatown Summer fair on Wentworth Ave. For thirty-nine years, Chinatown has hosted their iconic event featuring artisans, Chinese cuisine and the unforgettable Dragon and Lion Dance Procession. Visit the event's website for more information.

Taste of River North

For sixteen years, River North residents have celebrated their neighborhood with the Taste of River North music and art festival. On July 21-23rd, enjoy live entertainment from Boy Band Review, Funky Monks, and Hello Weekend. The event will also feature food from Da Lobsta, Farmhouse, and Starfruit. Come one and all to Ward Park at the corner of North Kingsbury and West Erie. For more information, visit website.

Fiesta Del Sol

The vibrant neighborhood of Pilsen known for it’s beautiful Mexican-American community and underground punk rock scene hosts their annual cultural festival Fiesta Del Sol. The festival will take place on July 27th-30th at 1400 W. Cermak Ave. The festival will feature food vendors that offer variety in taste from local restaurants including Amy’s Taco and El Campeon. For more information, please visit their website.

Jeff Fest

At the start of August, Jefferson Park hosts their popular music and art festival. The neighborhood festival takes place on August 4th-6th on 4822 N. Long ave. Artists at the event include The Buckinghams, Too White Crew, and Covergirl. Attendees can also enjoy food from local vendors and the Kids Zone, a family friendly spot with arts and crafts. For more information, visit website.

Ginza Festival

In the neighborhood of Oldtown on August 11th-13th, tourists and local residents can experience and enjoy the Japanese Cultural festival featuring taiko drummers, Japanese folk dance, and traditional dishes. This cultural festival is hosted by the Midwest Buddhist Temple and is located on west menomonee street. The event is free however they do sell food tickets to enjoy authentic Japanese cuisine including udon noodles, sushi, and chicken teriyaki. For more information, visit their website.

Edison Park fest

On August 18th-20th, the historic Edison Park hosts their annual neighborhood street festival featuring food from local vendors, live music, and activities for the kids. This festival takes place on the block of Northwest Highway and Oshkosh Avenue. Bands playing include the Corsairs, Prairie Station, and Ginger road. All proceeds for this event benefit beautification projects all across the neighborhood. For more information, please visit their website.

Logan Square Food Truck Social

Near the end of summer, on August 25th-27th local residents and tourists alike can enjoy a large array of local food trucks in the Logan Square neighborhood on Humboldt boulevard between Armitage and Bloomingdale. The event will feature live music and drinks from Revolution Brewery. A five dollar donation is requested and a sampler ticket will cost $20 however music is completely free. For more information, visit their website.


Cover Image Credit: http://www.chicago-d.com

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8 Reasons Why My Dad Is the Most Important Man In My Life

Forever my number one guy.

Growing up, there's been one consistent man I can always count on, my father. In any aspect of my life, my dad has always been there, showing me unconditional love and respect every day. No matter what, I know that my dad will always be the most important man in my life for many reasons.

1. He has always been there.

Literally. From the day I was born until today, I have never not been able to count on my dad to be there for me, uplift me and be the best dad he can be.

2. He learned to adapt and suffer through girly trends to make me happy.

I'm sure when my dad was younger and pictured his future, he didn't think about the Barbie pretend pageants, dressing up as a princess, perfecting my pigtails and enduring other countless girly events. My dad never turned me down when I wanted to play a game, no matter what and was always willing to help me pick out cute outfits and do my hair before preschool.

3. He sends the cutest texts.

Random text messages since I have gotten my own cell phone have always come my way from my dad. Those randoms "I love you so much" and "I am so proud of you" never fail to make me smile, and I can always count on my dad for an adorable text message when I'm feeling down.

4. He taught me how to be brave.

When I needed to learn how to swim, he threw me in the pool. When I needed to learn how to ride a bike, he went alongside me and made sure I didn't fall too badly. When I needed to learn how to drive, he was there next to me, making sure I didn't crash.

5. He encourages me to best the best I can be.

My dad sees the best in me, no matter how much I fail. He's always there to support me and turn my failures into successes. He can sit on the phone with me for hours, talking future career stuff and listening to me lay out my future plans and goals. He wants the absolute best for me, and no is never an option, he is always willing to do whatever it takes to get me where I need to be.

6. He gets sentimental way too often, but it's cute.

Whether you're sitting down at the kitchen table, reminiscing about your childhood, or that one song comes on that your dad insists you will dance to together on your wedding day, your dad's emotions often come out in the cutest possible way, forever reminding you how loved you are.

7. He supports you, emotionally and financially.

Need to vent about a guy in your life that isn't treating you well? My dad is there. Need some extra cash to help fund spring break? He's there for that, too.

8. He shows me how I should be treated.

Yes, my dad treats me like a princess, and I don't expect every guy I meet to wait on me hand and foot, but I do expect respect, and that's exactly what my dad showed I deserve. From the way he loves, admires, and respects me, he shows me that there are guys out there who will one day come along and treat me like that. My dad always advises me to not put up with less than I deserve and assures me that the right guy will come along one day.

For these reasons and more, my dad will forever be my No. 1 man. I love you!

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6 Ways To Start Pre-Gaming Your Summer Plans Today

A few ways to help you prepare for summer.


Summer is coming sooner rather than later and we all need to get ready for it.

1. Start making trip plans now.


If you are wanting to do a getaway over the summer, I would suggest starting to plan for the trip now. The closer you get to the time in which you want to go, the higher the prices of plane tickets and rooms go up. Also planning ahead gives you the chance to pinpoint exactly how you want to spend your trip and not waste your time. Nothing is worse than going on a trip and being stuck at the hotel the whole time because you have no idea what is our there for you to do.

2. Buy sunscreen.

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Do you really want to end up like her? I don't think so. Even if you are the type of person with the mentality that you will only be out in the sun for a short period of time, it doesn't matter. We all need sunscreen. Our skin is the largest organ of our body and we need to take care of it. Think of it this way, do you want to have sunspots when you're old? Or would you rather maintain your youthful appearance for as long as you can?

3. Find a new hobby.


Let's be honest here for a minute, the majority of us do absolutely nothing over summer break and feel no guilt for it. I have done this several times over the years, and I now look back and realize all the time I wasted not learning or doing something new. If you are working full-time, have summer school, or a summer internship this does not apply to you unless you have the time to do so.

For the rest of y'all, get up and learn something. Learn how to knit. Take a kickboxing class. Try out new hiking places. Start learning another language, or continue practicing the one you learned in school at places where the language is commonly used. Get outside of your comfort zone!

4. De-stress and dispose.

You are so close to summer sometimes it stresses you out trying to get everything done. You need to realize that summer isn't going anywhere and you will get there eventually. Take a deep breathe and keep going. What I like to do is start throwing out the paperwork from this semester that I know I will never use again, don't want, and papers that I don't plan on using for the upcoming final. Disposing of those papers helps me visualize that the semester is almost over.

5. Buy a new swimsuit.


Before you go out and buy a bunch of new swimsuits, try your old ones on first and see if they fit. Sometimes you just need a new top to match the bottoms that you already have or vice versa. Also, if you know that you are not going to buy a swimsuit for the pool or beach several times throughout the summer, don't waste your money on a new swimsuit. The one from last year that you never wore will do just fine.

Save Money

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The simplest way to understand it is no saving = no money to spend during summer. If you have all kinds of different trips and things you want to do that cost a fee, it would be wise to start saving up for all of your other expenses that you would normally have to pay per month like insurance, phone, or a car payment. I will be in the car payment category since I just bought a new one a few weeks ago.

That being said, my first car payment is due the week I am in New York. I don't want my New York money to be used for a car payment, so I've been taking extra shifts at work to compensate. I have also started going through my closet and selling the items I don't want anymore. There are several resale stores and places online for you to sell your unwanted clothes and other items to put some extra cash in your pocket.

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