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2016 Festival & Event Dates

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(event highlights only, subject to change)


Chicago Cultural Center Music, Theater & Dance, Exhibitions and More


Discover the free visual art and performance programs presented at the Cultural Center by the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events and its partners.

Maxwell Street Market

Sundays, Year Round, 7am–3pm
800 S. Desplaines St.

A Chicago tradition of bargains and bargaining with an international flavor, the Maxwell Street Market offers an eclectic mix of merchandise – from tools to tires, plus fresh produce, furniture, clothing, rare find and collectibles – plus some of the best Mexican and Latin street food in the city.

Under the Picasso

Daley Center, 50 W. Washington St.

The Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events presents FREE cultural programs year round weekdays at Noon at the Daley Civic Center. 


1st & 3rd Fridays (Chicago Cultural Center)
1st & 3rd Saturdays (Garfield Park Conservatory)
11am Fall, Winter, Spring

With engaging music and dance performances in a kid-friendly setting, the free Juicebox programs are geared for toddlers, but enjoyable for the whole family.

Wired Fridays

1st & 3rd Fridays, noon
Winter (Chicago Cultural Center), Spring (Millennium Park) & Fall (Chicago Cultural Center)

Wired Fridays feature original Chicago House music along with various other electronic dance music (EDM) genres from local, world-¬famous DJs in a mid-¬day dance party setting.

McCormick Tribune Ice Rink

November 13, 2015-March 6, 2016
Millennium Park

Kicking off Chicago’s winter season, the McCormick Tribune Ice Rink in Millennium Park will open on Friday, November 13, 2015 and will remain open through March 6, 2016, weather permitting.


February 19-March 4, 2016
Chicago Cultural Center and other locations

The OnEdge performance series spotlights experimental dance, theater and genre-defying performances from national and international artists and companies. Performances include Bronx Gothic by Okwui Okposkwasili, Yellow Towel by Dana Michel, My Voice has an Echo In It by Temporary Distortion and Mon, Ma, Mes by Jack Ferver.

Chicago Gospel Music Festival Presents...
New Artist Showcase

March 19, 2016
New Mt. Pilgrim MB Church
4301 W. Washington Blvd.

More Information

The showcase will highlight Chicago's vibrant local gospel music community and feature up to 14 emerging artists.

18th Annual Chicago Kids and Kites Festival

May 7, 2016
Cricket Hill in Lincoln Park
A favorite family event and a harbinger of springtime in Chicago, the festival provides free kite kits for children to build, decorate and fly (while supplies last) along with other family activities such as face painting, balloon artists and the Big Kite Candy Drop (weather permitting).

2nd Annual Lake FX Summit + Expo

May 13–15, 2016
Chicago Cultural Center and other locations

The Lake FX Summit + Expo is the region’s largest free conference for artists, creative professionals and entrepreneurs. The event welcomes thousands of individuals, businesses and organizations for keynotes by industry leaders, professional development panels and workshops, networking opportunities, music and film showcases, the Expo resource fair and a marketplace featuring local artisans.

Chicago Farmers Markets

May–October, 2016
Daley Plaza Farmers Market opens May 12, 2016
Daley Plaza and citywide locations

Across Chicago at locations downtown and throughout the city’s neighborhoods, the markets managed by the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events (DCASE) sell fresh fruits, vegetables plants and flowers. Some neighborhood markets also feature music programming, prepared foods and local artisan (non-food) vendors.

Chicago Memorial Day Parade

May 28, 2016
State St. from Lake St. to Van Buren St.

The City of Chicago’s Memorial Day Parade honors all men and women who made the ultimate sacrifice in defense of our country.

Millennium Park Summer Workouts

Wednesdays & Saturdays, June 1–September 3, 2016
Millennium Park

Jump start your weekend with tai chi, yoga, pilates and Zumba® classes on Millennium Park’s Great Lawn.

31st Chicago Gospel Music Festival

June 3–4, 2016
Millennium Park and Chicago Cultural Center

The Chicago Gospel Music Festival showcases the best in local, national and international Gospel music performers.

Millennium Park Summer Music Series

June 6–August 25, 2016
Millennium Park

Grab a seat in the pavilion or bring a picnic for the Great Lawn and enjoy the free music taking place all summer long at Chicago’s architectural gem, the Jay Pritzker Pavilion.

33rd Annual Chicago Blues Festival

June 10–12, 2016
Grant Park

During three days on five stages, blues fans prove that Chicago is the true "Blues Capital" at the world's largest free blues festival.

Millennium Park Summer Film Series

Tuesdays, June 21–August 30, 2016
Millennium Park

Grab a seat in the pavilion or bring a picnic for the Great Lawn and enjoy the free outdoor movies at Chicago’s architectural gem, the Jay Pritzker Pavilion.

20th Annual Chicago SummerDance

Fridays–Sundays, June 24–September 11, 2016
Grant Park, Spirit of the Music Garden

Swing, waltz, cha-cha...or simply enjoy the music at the largest annual outdoor live music and dancing series in the United States. Dancers of all ages and skill levels are invited to take part in introductory, one-hour dance lessons by professional instructors followed by live music and dancing.

36th Annual Taste of Chicago

July 6–10, 2016
Grant Park

Taste of Chicago is the nation’s premier free outdoor food festival showcasing the diversity of Chicago’s dining scene, alongside concerts and other activities for the entire family.

58th Annual Chicago Air and Water Show presented by Shell Oil Products US

August 20–21, 2016
North Avenue Beach

Featuring military and civilian flight aerobatics, historic aircraft, simulated water rescues and parachute teams, the Chicago Air and Water Show is one of the largest and longest-running free admission events of its kind.

38th Annual Chicago Jazz Festival

September 1–4, 2016
Millennium Park and Chicago Cultural Center

A favorite Labor Day Weekend tradition, the Chicago Jazz Festival showcases free live performances by Chicago’s vast jazz talent alongside national and international jazz legends and artists.

18th Annual World Music Festival Chicago

September 9–25, 2016
Chicago Cultural Center, Millennium Park and other citywide locations

Enjoy global grooves by award-winning artists from around the world at the free, city-wide, multi-venue World Music Festival Chicago that has presented more than 750 artists and ensembles from over 80 countries since it began.

3rd Annual Fifth Star Awards

September 14, 2016
Millennium Park

Celebrate Chicago’s creativity at the Fifth Star Awards, a free awards show honoring legendary Chicago artists and cultural institutions with live performances and video tributes.

McCormick Tribune Ice Rink

Mid-November 2016–Mid-March 2017
Millennium Park

For the last 15 years, the rink has drawn more than 100,000 skaters annually and is free and open to the public. The rink, located on Michigan Avenue between Washington and Madison Streets.

Chicago’s 103rd Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony

November 18, 2016
Millennium Park

The City of Chicago is proud to present the 103rd Anniversary of the Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony in Millennium Park, Friday, November 18.

Caroling at Cloud Gate

Fridays, November 25–December 23, 2016
Millennium Park

Bundle up and get ready to belt out some holiday classics at these festive events that are part concert, part sing-along. Local choral groups lead hundreds of celebrants in song.