What to Do in Chicago Each Day of July 2019

This is WHERE we'll be all month.

July 1: Cirque du Soleil: Volta—Inspired by street sports such as parkour, Cirque du Soleil’s latest Chicago residency ends this week. This is your last chance to get the family together for a thrilling night of death-defying daredevils and daring acrobats under the circus’ iconic Big Top at Soldier Field. Runs through July 6.

July 2: T.I.—Often referred to as the “King of the South,” T.I. is an Atlanta-based rapper whose prolific work throughout the 2000s with the likes of Jay-Z and Justin Timberlake has directly influenced modern artists such as Migos and 2 Chainz. He returns to the Chicago-area for a show at Ravinia in suburban Highland Park for an evening of throwback jams.

July 3: Chicago Fire Vs. Atlanta United—The Women’s World Cup is underway in France and the U.S. soccer team is dominating at the moment. If you can’t make it overseas to watch those matches, you can watch two of the best soccer clubs in the country battle it out this afternoon. Make a quick road trip to nearby Bridgeview and watch the Chicago Fire take on the 2018 MLS champions, Atlanta United, at Seatgeek Arena.

July 4: Fireworks at Navy Pier—After grilling out with friends and family this July 4th, head downtown to Navy Pier and watch a colossal display of fireworks light up the city’s skyline with thousands of Chicagoians.

July 5: Summerfest—Much like Lollapalooza, hopping on the Amtrak and making a trip to Summerfest is a rite of passage of summertime in Chicago. Tonight, The Killers headline an eclectic night of music a little over an hour away in Milwaukee on the shores of Lake Michigan. Lil Wayne, Billie Eilish, Jennifer Lopez and more are also scheduled to perform throughout the festival’s run through July 7.

July 6: Ribfest—Make a quick road trip to the western suburb of Naperville for a jam-packed, extended 4th of July weekend full of great food and good music. In addition to incredible amounts of BBQ ribs and a spectacular fireworks show, we’re excited for performances from punk icon Billy Idol, and party rap purveyor Flo Rida. Also July 3-5.

July 7: Wicker Park Farmers Market // West Fest—The chic Wicker Park Farmers Market makes its summer debut today with over 32 vendors of organic locally produced food and free yoga classes. Afterwards, stroll over to the nearby West Fest for a fun afternoon of day drinking and watching indie rock bands.

July 8: “Avengers: Infinity War”—Tonight, Navy Pier hosts a free screening of “Avengers: Infinity War” on the lakefront so you can get caught up the adventures of your favorite Marvel superheroes before heading out to the theatre to see the newly released “Spider-Man: Far From Home.”

July 9: “Les Misérables”—Back by popular demand, this dazzlingly reimagined production of the definitive Broadway play returns for Chicago for a three-week run at the Cadillac Palace Theatre. Also July 10-27.

July 10: Diana Ross—The queen diva, Diana Ross, performs tonight at the Chicago Theatre for what is sure to be a supreme evening of R&B classics such as “I’m Coming Out” and “Stop! In the Name of Love.”

July 11: Taste of Chicago—The world’s largest free-admission outdoor food festival happens right here in Chicago. Featuring a diverse mix of foods from around the world, 17 food trucks and over 50 restaurants take over the lakefront in Grant Park for this annual event. Of course, you’ll find essentials such as deep dish pizza from Lou Malnati's or fried chicken from Harold’s, but also check out authentic Cuban food from 90 Miles and top it off with artisan desserts from Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams. The announced musical acts are just as impressive as the dining options, with De La Soul, Courtney Barnett, India.Arie and more scheduled to perform throughout the week. Also July 10 and 12-14.

July 12: Windy City Smokeout—Returning to Chicago for another year of Nashville hot country rock, the Windy City Smokeout takes over the parking lot of the United Center for a weekend of cool beer and cowboy hats. In addition to performances from up and coming artists such as Jimmi Allen and Devin Dawson, spend the afternoon trying out some of the best BBQ in the country from pitmasters from Texas, South Carolina and more! Also July 13-14.

July 13: Bastille Day—Organized in large part by the Consulate General of France in Chicago to celebrate the French Revolution, head to Navy Pier for a relaxing evening of crêpes, cheese and champagne. When you’re finished taking it easy, dance the night away with world-class DJs and watch a spectacular display of fireworks illuminate the Chicago skyline.

July 14: Jennifer Hudson—Backed by the mighty Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Jennifer Hudson returns home to Chicago for an evening of powerful soul at Ravinia. Take the Metra to Highland Park and watch selections from her Oscar award winning performance in “Dreamgirls” and “The Color Purple” taken to new heights by one of the finest orchestras in the world. A portion of ticket sales benefit Ravina’s music education outreach program.

July 15: “True West”—In the early ‘80s, the Steppenwolf Theatre became a player in the American theatre scene with their groundbreaking production of “True West.” Written by Sam Shepard, the play is a character study of two brothers with a turbulent relationship who find themselves trapped in their childhood home. Armed with a new generation of artists, “True West” makes its triumphant return with a two-month run at the Steppenwolf. Runs through August 25.

July 16: “Moonlight” // “Pan’s Labyrinth”—Millennium Park’s free summer cinema series continues tonight with a double feature of two award winning movies made by two prominent filmmakers of color. The winner of the Oscar for Best Picture in 2016, “Moonlight” is the tale of a young gay black man coming of age. Headlining the evening is Guillermo del Toro’s fantasy adventure, “Pan’s Labyrinth.”

July 17: Chicago Bonsai Club—Escape your calamity this evening while learning all about the old-world artform of growing bonsai trees at the Garfield Park Conservatory. An ancient craft that dates back to samurai-era feudal Japan, bonsai uses various cultivation methods to curate miniature trees that emulate full-sized trees. Don’t own a bonsai and just want to watch master gardeners practice their craft while you find your inner zen? All are welcome at this free event.

July 18: Valee—Signed to Kanye West’s boutique record label, Valee is a rising local rapper armed with silky rhymes about the pursuit of a bohemian hedonist lifestyle. Tonight, he takes over Thalia Hall for an intimate club show before performing on the main stage at Pitchfork later this weekend.

July 19: Pitchfork Music Festival—Curated by the tastemaker publication of the same name, Pitchfork Music Festival takes over Chicago’s Union Park for three days featuring some of the most daring names in contemporary music. This year’s lineup is as eclectic as ever, with splashes of downtempo electronica [Stereolab], psychedelic soul [Khruangbin], and rowdy party rap [Rico Nasty]. Other artists we’re excited to check out include performances by Swedish R&B sensation Robyn, and indie power-pop from Charli XCX. Don’t forget to take a moment to check out their market and record fair, full of new and used vinyl and stylish items from indie designers. Also, July 20-21.

July 20: Milk Bar Pop-Up—The acclaimed Manhattan bakery makes a rare Chicago appearance at Big Star in Wicker Park for a weekend of infectious confectionery treats such as compost cookies, cornflake crunch, and of course, their infamous Milk Bar Pie [fka Crack Pie]. Also July, 21.

July 21: Complexcon—Exploring the intersection between fashion and hip-hop, Complexcon takes over McCormick Place this weekend with limited edition offerings from tastemaker fashion labels such as Urban Outfitters, Converse, Fat Tiger Workshop and more. When you’re finished shopping, make sure to catch performances from the likes of British R&B singer Ella Mai and LA rapper Schoolboy Q. Also July 20.

July 22: Crash Landing—Tonight, the trendy Boystown nightclub Berlin hosts an extravagant all-inclusive competition hosted in part by local drag queen Lucy Stoole to find the best up-and-coming performers in Chicago’s thriving drag scene.

July 23: Sunset Yoga—Break away from ordinary yoga studios. Instead, stop by Navy Pier for a free and refreshingly atmospheric evening of yoga under the summertime Chicago sunset led by certified instructors that’ll strengthen your mind, body and soul.

July 24: Boxville—An outdoor shopping mall made out of reclaimed shipping containers, Boxville returns for another summer of showcasing small local businesses in the Bronzeville neighborhood of Chicago. Get your fill of organic vegetables and stylish clothes while supporting southside artists, farmers and chefs. Runs through October.

July 25: Anderson Paak—Finding artistic inspiration at the intersections of R&B and hip-hop, Anderson Paak is one of the most eclectic rappers currently in the game. His new album “Ventura” feels like an aural summer breeze with smooth production that seems destined to soundtrack cookouts throughout the season. Tonight, he returns to Chicago for a thrilling performance at House of Vans. Admission is FREE if you RSVP.

July 26: Wicker Park Fest—One of the biggest street festivals in the city, Wicker Park Fest takes over the trendy neighborhood for a weekend of exciting musical performances. We’re excited for LA Witch, an all-femme garage rock trio, as well as the rowdy surf punk antics of WAVVES. In addition, the festival has an expansive sidewalk sale full of bohemian artwork and selections from noteworthy Chicago restaurants. Also July 27-28.

July 27: Blackhawks Convention—The 2019-2020 NHL season is only a few months away and to prepare for another run at the Stanley Cup, the Chicago Blackhawks want to meet you. This weekend, go downtown to the Hilton Chicago and participate in photo sessions, Q&A panels, autograph opportunities, interactive games and more alongside the current team roster and celebrated former team members. Also July 26 and 28.

July 28: 29Rooms—Expell fear and and expand your reality at the Chicago Board of Trade Building. Curated by the feminst publication Refinery29, 29Rooms aims to create an inclusive, immersive and of course Instagrammable world of dance, activism, art and style for you to discover new passions and unleash your creativity. Also July 18-27.

July 29: International Wine Pairing Series—Tonight, American Airlines and City Winery team up to present a rare tasting session of Susana Balbo, an award winning portfolio of Argentine wines at the acclaimed West Loop winery. Pamper yourself with a luxurious four-course meal while sampling some of the best wines in the world. Afterwards, stimulate your mind with an illuminating conversation about Argentine wines led by sommeliers and possibly win a pair of roundtrip tickets to any international destination that American Airlines flies to.

July 30: Jazz at the MCA—As part of their Tuesday on the Terrace concert series, enjoy a cool evening of vibrant jazz tonight with a free show at the outdoor garden terrace at the Museum of Contemporary Art in downtown Chicago. Tonight, the stage is graced by Maggie Brown who has collaborated with heavyweights such as Stevie Wonder, Ramsey Lewis and the late Abbey Lincoln.

July 31: Beck—In support of his upcoming new album, “Hyperspace,” Beck is teaming up with Kentucky-based punk blues purveyors Cage the Elephant and is bringing his hip-hop laced indie rock to downtown Chicago tonight for a jam packed show at the Huntington Bank Pavilion as part of his massive The Night Running tour.

Selena Fragassi
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