Summer is in full bloom, and the month calls for fun fares. We hope you didn’t wear yourself out over 4th of July, because this month has so much more to offer in food, music, art, and family fun. Here are 20+ things to do in Chicago this July that will keep you, your friends, family, and fur babies entertained. We hope you have a blast in this beautiful summer month!
Eat & Drink
Of course our July plans should start with the most delicious food celebrations. This month has so many national days, plus, who needs a reason to eat good food? Chicago is a delicious summer haven, starting with all the tasty ice treats and light bites, plus the endless Summer Happy Hour options. However, if you are looking for more specific dining recommendations, below are our top picks!
Image Credit: Vol.39
Enjoy a Craft Cocktail at Vol.39
39 S La Salle St #200, Chicago, IL 60603
Summer and cocktail have a nice ring together and Vol. 39 is our recent favorite when it comes to craft cocktails. For those unfamiliar with the concept, Vol. 39 has a unique Chicago-inspired cocktail menu you can’t find anywhere else. This year’s menu feature include:
18th & Ashland: Blanco & reposado tequila, quebranta pisco, guava, raspberry, lime, and pear—violette sinker
Garfield Park Conservatory Milk Punch: St. george terroir, agricole rhum, pandan, green chartreuse, Freak of nature oolong, amontillado, douglas fir, bay leaf milk
Yin Wall City: Plantation 5-year barbados rum, black lychee tea, batavia arrack, probitas rum, dolin blanch – lychee tea mist
Tonka & Fugue: The Chicago Symphony Orchestra’s Unofficial Manhattan. Tonka infused willet 4 year rye, siset vermuth rosso, cocchi ditorino, black walnut – lonely cherry
Image Credit: Boka Restaurant Group
1729 N Halsted St, Chicago, IL 60614
Delight in a wine-filled evening led by renowned Napa Valley winemaker, Rosemary Cakebread on Wednesday, July 19. Cakebread leads the team at Gallica Winery, whose mission is to make elegant, single-vineyard, organic wines that tell the story of each unique vintage. Over the course of the evening, guests will taste a selection of Gallica wines, complimented by a five-course tasting menu full of Summer flavors curated by Boka’s culinary team.
Image Credit: Maple & Ash
Caviar Bumps at Maple & Ash
8 W Maple St, Chicago, IL 60610
Maple & Ash is ringing in National Caviar Day with their usual lineup of extravagant touches aimed to wow. To kick things off, a “Bumps & Bubbles” Cart boasting caviar and Champagne will be roaming around the dining room to serve guests a dose of luxury table side.
Take your pick between a taste of Kaluga, Ostera or Siberian (let’s be honest, you’ll want to try them all), and the pros will recommend one of three Champagnes to complement your caviar of choice. For double the pleasure, indulge in an off-menu favorite: the show-stopping Blackout Oyster — a Beau Soleil Oyster topped with a heaping serving of Kaluga caviar, then set on a chilled vodka shot served in a crystal glass. Available all day on the patio for $26, this crowd-pleaser is sure to keep the good times rolling.
Read More: Where to Find the Best Caviar in Chicago
Image Credit: Frontier
1072 N Milwaukee Ave, Chicago, IL 60642
Frontier’s July Smoke Sessions event is on Thursday, July 13th from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. where guests will be able to experience and taste a one-of-a-kind curated menu (4 dishes and 4 cocktails) crafted by two of the Midwest’s top chefs! Joining forces this month will be Frontier’s Chef Brian Jupiter (Food Network’s Chopped 2022 Champion + 2-times James Beard Awards Semi-finalist) and James Galbraith (renowned owner and chef of Michigan’s New American restaurant, Houndstooth, and Tex-Mex restaurant, Anemel).
Image Credit: Papergirl PR
Doggie Ice Cream Social at Cody’s
1658 West Barry Avenue., Chicago, IL 60618
Always dog-friendly inside and out, Cody’s Public House will host a Doggie Ice Cream Social fundraiser for Second City Canine Rescue on Friday, July 7 from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. Guests will enjoy FREE Chicago hot dogs, fresh off the grill, and dogs will be treated to a complimentary Ice Cream Social sponsored by K-9 University featuring dog ice cream with a selection of toppings. The event will also feature a raffle with a variety of prizes for guests and their pups with 100 percent of proceeds benefiting Second City Canine Rescue. Humans can enjoy cocktails from a $10 to $12 Puptail Menu in which 50 percent of sales will benefit the charity.
1001 W. Wrightwood Ave, Chicago, IL 60614
Chicago Special Events Management has teamed up with Bucket Listers to bring back the massively popular Chicago Craft Beer Fest. The festival will make its anticipated return from Friday, July 14th – Sunday, July 16th at Jonquil Park, in Lincoln Park. Guests will be able to sample from more than 35 craft beers each day from over 20 breweries, something for every beer lovers’ palette. The event will also include various bites and a variety of local DJ’s playing throughout the weekend. A portion of all tickets will benefit the Wrightwood Neighbors Association.
Image Credit: Chicago Taco Fest
We are only about two weeks away from one of the local favorites of the summer. Tacos y Tamales fest is set to kick off July 21-23 in Pilsen and we have everything you need to know to get ready for the sights, sounds, and flavors of this vibrant festival. Beyond the authentic tacos, tamales, and other popular Mexican cuisine, this festival features three-days of live music, DJs, dance performances, Art Alley, shopping, an ice-cold beer portfolio by Modelo, margaritas, micheladas & more.
Music, Performance & Art
Chicago is never short of art opportunities. In addition to the many murals we can find every where we go, here are some artsy things to do in Chicago this July for the creative souls.
Image Credit: Esme
Experience the most seamless integration of visual art and culinary art as Michelin-strared Esmé announces its second menu installment and the accompanying exhibition featuring Chicago native, Emmy Star Brown the new exhibit and tasting menu to transport guests to channel their inner child. Together, Chef Jenner and Emmy Star Brown will take guests on a visual journey back to self by reclaiming parts often lost as we grow older while allowing the purest forms of playfulness, creative confidence, and imagination to come forward. The exhibit will highlight the joy, spontaneity, and fearlessness synonymous with one’s younger self.
Image Credit: Fairmont Chicago
Le Petit Chef is an interactive dining experience that brings your food to life before your very eyes. This two-hour-long experience takes you on an adventure with a tiny chef who appears on your plate and prepares a five-course meal using projection mapping technology. Each course is not only a treat for your taste buds but also a feast for your eyes, as the table becomes a stage where the mini chef runs, jumps, and interacts with the dishes!
Elnaz Javani, Wavering Faith from the series Phonetic Fragments, 2022. Hand stitched embroidery, hand dyed, appliquéd cotton and chiffon. Courtesy of the artist. Photo: Robert Chase Heishman.
Visit a Gallery or Museum
July is a great month for art with new exhibitions opening left and right varying from traditional media to pop art and new medium. Other than the mainstream galleries and museums, your neighborhood farmer’s market and artist-run spaces may also have pop up and new monthly themes scheduled. A stroll down the street on a breezy evening might help you find your new favorite artist. Plus, you can always take advantage of the free museum days for Illinois residents! Seriously, what’s stopping your from an art date?
Image Credit: Windy City Smokeout
1901 W Madison St, Chicago, IL 60612
The biggest celebration of BBQ and country music is here! Grab your tickets for this year’s Windy City Smokeout, happening July 13-16, 2023 at Chicago’s iconic United Center. This year’s headliners include GRAMMY award winner Zac Brown Band, much-decorated ACM and CMA award winner Luke Bryan, GRAMMY award winner Darius Rucker, and GRAMMY award nominee Zach Bryan. BBQ vendors include local favorites like Bub City, Soul & Smoke, and Lillie Q’s, plus many national BBQ leaders you won’t otherwise get the chance to taste without traveling!
Image Credit: APTP
3547 West Montrose Ave. Chicago, IL 60618
Co-created by Albany Park Theater Project and Third Rail Projects and performed by APTP’s youth ensemble, Port of Entry will take you on a journey through time and across cultures. This immersive experience invites you to step inside the real-life stories of immigrants and refugees from all parts of the world living side by side in a single apartment building in one of the country’s most diverse immigrant communities: Chicago’s Albany Park.
The summer season runs from July. 15 through Aug. 12.
The world needs heroes! Where do we find them? Weaving together popular music and multidisciplinary performances with favorite scenes and speeches from Shakespeare’s plays, the ensemble explores how we can all be heroes in our everyday lives—for ourselves, our families, and our communities. This summer’s Chicago Shakespeare Theater free pop-up performances unite neighborhood artists from Austin, Chinatown, Englewood, Hermosa, Belmont Cragin, Little Village, and West Pullman with Chicago Shakespeare performers for a fun-for-all-ages musical revue.
Disagree all you want but shopping will always bring joy.
Image Credit: SAUCED
1130 W Monroe St, Chicago, IL 60607
SAUCED, a night market dedicated to emerging chefs, artists, and artisans will bring in more than 50 vendors to the second floor of WNDR Museum July 14 and 15. There will also be a live set from DJ Johnny Walker, a photo booth from Neon Palms Studio, food and cocktails from local vendors like Big Star Cocktails and Blackout Baking Co. and much more. The Night Market is free to attend. Attendees can purchase discounted tickets to experience WNDR Museum’s 20+ installations, including the recently debuted three-story installation by Yayoi Kusama, and the Creatives of Color installation, Ètica, by Tubs.
Image Courtesy of Chicago Loop Alliance
The internationally acclaimed, award-winning event series, Sundays on State, will once again transform Chicago’s most iconic street, State Street, from Adams to Lake for two Sundays only this summer, the first one being Sunday, July 16, from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Neighbors from every Chicago community and beyond unite for a free, interactive block party, while safely enjoying art, culture, active recreation, food, drinks, shopping, and local attractions in the heart of everyone’s neighborhood: the Loop.
Image Credit: Brilliant Earth
Visit the New Earth Showroom
1024 W Randolph St, Chicago, IL 60607
Fulton Market is known for its vibrant food scene and thriving business community and is home to stylish restaurants, high-end apartment and office buildings, and boutiques. Now, Brilliant Earth, an ethical fine jewelry retailer is joining the scene with a brand new ground-floor showroom. The showroom will feature a wide array of products including engagement and wedding rings, necklaces, bracelets, and earrings.
Image Credit: Book4Cause
2931 N Milwaukee Ave, Chicago, IL 60618
The summer heat got you feeling lazy? Then, why not grab a new book and cozy up at home in the AC? Books4Cause is Chicago’s first free bookstore. You literally walk in and take whatever book you like home for free. Art books, large editions, and other specific categories may have limits on how many free books you can take at once. Other than that, there are no obligations. Don’t forget to donate old books to them to keep this amazing concept going.
Image Credit: Maria Pinto
710 N. Wabash Ave. Chicago, IL 60610
Maria Pinto, the esteemed Chicago-based fashion designer who has dressed luminaries Michelle Obama, Oprah Winfrey and countless women of note over nearly three decades, has moved her West Loop boutique to a new, larger retail space that is now open in Chicago’s Gold Coast at 710 N. Wabash Ave. Filling the expansive, 3,000 sqft Maria Pinto boutique are, of course, the garments themselves. Pinto’s clothes are an essential staple for any active woman who consciously values her humble yet powerful place in the community.
Outdoors, Wellness & Fitness
Sun light is full of Vitamin Ds and a stroll down the lakefront aimlessly sounds delightful and relaxing, if you ask me. For those ready to loosen up, stretch, and get the move on, here are our picks of outdoor things to do in Chicago this July, alongside some wellness and self care options.
Read More: The Best Restaurants on Chicago’s Lakefront
Image Credit: Kadampa Meditation Center Chicago
Discover the pure, clear, and limitless nature of your mind at the Clear Sky Mind Silent Meditation Retreat hosted by Kadampa Meditation Center. Buddhist monk, Gen Zamling will be guiding retreatants through “clarity of the mind,” a practice that’s been used for centuries to develop the enormous capacity of the mind for peace, flexibility, concentration, wisdom, and bliss. This meditation can help you free your mind from inner pain to enjoy peace and lasting happiness.
Image Credit: ExperienceFirst
Private Chicago Walking Tours
Experience Chicago’s rich history, famous architecture, distinctive food culture, and more with a local guide by your side this fine summer. Enjoy a scenic walk through Chicago’s iconic architecture during the Chicago Riverwalk Architecture Tour, or experience the dight and fright in the Windy City during the Mobsters and Haunted Mysteries of Chicago Walking Tour!
Image Credit: Friends of Prentice
This July, Friends of Prentice and Lifeway Kefir are partnering to host a Yoga for a Cause event at Theater on the Lake to raise funds for women’s health research. On Wednesday, July 19th at 6:00 pm, join board member Kenna from Sona Fitness for a relaxing yet energizing yoga class that will get your whole body moving and your mind feeling good. Lifeway Kefir will be providing yoga mats, water bottles, and some fun products. All levels are welcome and all proceeds will go directly to Friends of Prentice, funding women’s health research.
Image Credit: AIRE Ancient Bath
A Soak at AIRE Ancient Bath
800 W Superior St, Chicago, IL 60642
Located in a restored factory from 1902 in River West, AIRE Ancient Baths Chicago gives you access to this preserved structure brought back to its original splendor, where you can see the original exposed brick, wooden beams, and industrial columns of the building. Inside those walls, a unique experience for the body and mind awaits, in a journey through the traditional Roman, Greek, and Ottoman ancient experience of baths. AIRE Ancient Baths is a unique relaxation space where your body and mind will release the stress of everyday life. The experience we offer you will allow you to feel a set of sensations with yourself or share with whoever you want.
In the Burbs
Chicagoland is always full of activities across the suburbs. If you live outside of the city, or would rather get away from the crowds and change the environment, below are the best things to do in Chicago suburbs this month.
Image Credit: The Chicago Dogs
9850 Balmoral Ave, Rosemont, IL 60018
The Chicago Dogs will host a Heroes and Villains theme night to support the Golden Glove Charity for children’s cancer. On Saturday, July 15 at Impact Field in Rosemont, fans can dress in their favorite hero or villain costumes, from Spiderman to the Joker, and local youth battling cancer will be honored. Fireworks will take place that evening, along with on-field entertainment by the beloved Mascots, stadium concessions, and more.
145 Old McHenry Road, Long Grove, 60047
The annual Vintage Days festival will return to Long Grove on Saturday, July 29th, and Sunday, July 30th. The free, family-friendly event will feature all things vintage, reclaimed, hand-made, upcycled, antique, and repurposed in an open-air marketplace. In addition to over 30 vintage and handcrafted vendors lining the streets of downtown, Vintage Days 2023 will feature a Penny Carnival in front of the Historical Society farmhouse in Stempel parking lot on Sunday from noon to 2 pm for children (9 months to 12 years old) with simple games geared toward the younger kids run by older kids. It’s only a penny a game and everyone is guaranteed to win.
Image Credit: Camp Aramoni
Retreat to Camp Aramoni
809 N 2199th Rd, Tonica, IL 61370
The first of its kind in the Midwest, Camp Aramoni offers a robust food and beverage program featuring seasonal, chef-driven menus by Chef Carson Barger (Tangled Roots, Social Kitchen) available to enjoy at their accommodations or at The Barn. Spanning 96 acres of lush forest and wildlife terrain along the Vermilion River on the site of a former 19th-century brickyard, Camp Aramoni is Illinois’ first and premier boutique campground and event space boasting charming accommodations and hotel-level hospitality within the serenity of nature. If you are looking for a retreat without traditional camping/road trip hassles, Camp Aramoni should be your destination.
Image Credit: East Branch Forest Preserve
Weekend a Forest Preserve
There are plenty of national parks and forest preserves within a short drive from Chicago and nature lovers would sure appreciate a cool, faraway weekend under the giant trees or along a refreshing creek. Illinois’ diverse landscape will satisfy everyone level of outdoor travelers and the parks have plenty of family/kids-friendly options as well.
Read More: The Nearest State Parks Around Chicago
Featured Image: Chicago Craft Beer Festival