Summer is finally here, the beaches are open and snow-covered streets seem like a distant memory. There are many reasons we love Chicago, and June is one of the months that reinforces our civic pride. We’re ready to enjoy the beautiful weather and eat outside in patios and gardens. Music festival season is in full swing with Blues Fest and Spring Awakening. Street festivals take over the city every weekend, including Taste of Randolph and Ribfest Chicago. Plus, it’s Pride Month, which means Pride Fest is just around the corner, followed by the colorful Pride Parade. Start off summer with the help of our June events calendar for Chicago.
RECOMMENDED: Events calendar for Chicago in 2016
Featured events in June 2016
Get your lit fix as the city’s historic former bookmaking hub hosts the Midwest’s biggest free outdoor ode to literature. Publishers, booksellers, literacy and cultural organizations advocate books and related merchandise in different lanuages and genres, while authors participate in panels and discussion. The kiddies can enjoy special activities at the Lil’ Lit Park.
In its 10th year, Do Division, the street shindig booked by Empty Bottle and House Call Entertainment, holds down the last weekend in May, really kicking off the summer festival season. Shopping is merely one diversion. The vendors’ wares along Division Street are rivaled only by the excess of street-side eye candy—other pretty, young things who bring their sartorial A-game. This year’s music lineup is TBA, but last year’s included the likes of UK psych-rockers Temples, noisy weirdo Tobacco and soulful, dapper rocker Nick Waterhouse. Also on tap: The Dodos, Peanut Butter Wolf, Crocodiles and more.
Head to Northcenter to dig into over 50,000 pounds of ribs and BBQ and don’t forget to grab some napkins. The annual celebration of saucy pork will also play host to RibMania, the Midwest’s only sanctioned rib-eating contest, which invites amateur and professional competitive eaters to chow down for a cash prize.
Local promoter React Presents keeps making its mammoth EDM festival so more mammother, with bigger stages, acts and bass drops. This year, heavyweights like Zedd, Hardwell, Tiësto and Jack Ü headline. If you’re looking for mellow, run away. This is an orgy of neon, skin and low end frequencies. A couple of c-notes might seem steep for a concert, but that’s VIP bottle service to see just one of these A-listers.
In its 32st year, the Grant Park tradition brings in living legends and local 12-bar grinders. The theme this year is a tribute to Muddy Waters and Willie Dixon, with Billy Branch, Mud Morgenfield and more leading the charge. Those with a looser definition of the blues might want take note of hunky, bruised crooner Hozier, who hits Pritzker Pavilion on June 10.
The annual clothing-optional bike ride takes over the streets of Chicago, attracting hundreds of scantily clad riders who help raise awareness about cyclists and positive body image. The route and start time won’t be revealed until the day of the event, so make sure to check ChicagoNakedRide.org if you’re interested in participating in or observing the ride. Remember to wipe down your Divvy seat the day after.
Chicago gets another three-day summer music festival, though this new LiveNation endeavor fills a empty niche: country music. Dierks Bentley, Brad Paisley and Florida Georgia Line headline a Nashville-rich bill. Kip Moore, Thomas Rhett, Cassadee Pope and more have been announced for the hoedown on Northerly Island. (Note: Single day passes are not available.
This environmentally conscious Wicker Park festival takes over Damen Ave, bringing green vendors, food and biodiesel- and bicycle-powered (you can electrify a stage by pedaling a stationary bike) live music to the neighborhood for two nights. If you’re not digging the music, just head over to Big Star and order a couple tacos.