From festivals to gardens: Six things to do in Chicagoland this summer


Daily file photo by Audrey Hettleman

A Juneteenth celebration in 2022. Take a look below for happenings in Evanston and Chicago this summer.

Alyce Brown, Print Managing Editor

Whether on campus or in the city, Chicagoland is buzzing over the summer. When the beach gets boring, the area has plenty of other festivities to offer. Here is a quick list of some summer activities and excursions to fill your time, in Evanston and beyond.

1. Chicago Botanic Garden

Less than 30 minutes north of Evanston in Glencoe, Illinois, the sprawling Chicago Botanic Garden is at its prime in the summer months.

Sitting on 385 acres, the Botanic Garden’s theme for this summer is “Love in Bloom,” a theme traced through its long list of programming for the summer months. The gardens are hosting summer classes, live jazz music and literature talks. Following with their flirty summer theme, there are even love letters hidden around the garden for visitors to find and share.

The Botanic Garden is open to the public from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily, and admission is cheapest when purchased ahead of time here.

2. Evanston’s Plein Air Festival

A new Evanston tradition, the Plein Air Festival, will be running in its second year from July 9-16. Throughout the week, artists will flock to Evanston to live-paint city landmarks — from nature landscapes to beloved small businesses and beyond.

At the culmination of the week, all of the finished paintings will be showcased to the public, and one will be awarded “Best in Show,” in addition to a public-voted award for “Festival Favorite.”

Any artists are welcome to enter and attend the festival’s introduction to painting workshops, but must register by June 18 on this page.

3. Rooftop Cinema Club

For a summer evening in the city, the Rooftop Cinema Club in Fulton Market, near West Loop, is a good stop.

The Cinema Club shows movies nightly on a Fulton Market rooftop, complete with a view of Chicago and a full food and drink menu. Their selection of movies are broken into themes for viewers to pick from, from “Y2K Tuesdays” and “Second City Stars” to films celebrating Black Cinema and Pride Month. Movie start times range from before noon to midnight, so there’s something for everyone.

Tickets can be purchased here.

4. Pride Month Celebrations

June is Pride Month, and Evanston and Chicago are celebrating it all month long.

Within Evanston city limits, there is a Queer Makers Market from 12-4 p.m. on June 24 at Raymond Park, and an LGBTQIA+ community picnic from 11-3 p.m. on July 29 at Ridgeville Park.

Across the Chicago border, the Windy City will be hosting its annual Pride Fest — a street festival with live music, drag performances and guest speakers — June 17 and 18 in Northalsted (also known as Boystown). The weekend following will be the city’s 52nd Pride Parade on June 25, following a route that starts in Uptown and goes through the city’s North Side.

5. Evanston Farmers Market

A classic community happening, the Downtown Evanston Farmers’ Market will run every Saturday this summer, from 7:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. at University Place behind Hilton Garden Inn.

The market features vendors ranging from popular Evanston small businesses like Newport Coffee House to farmers from across the Midwest. Starting in mid-June, the market will also feature a showcase section titled “Home Grown Artists,” where visitors will have the opportunity to see and purchase artwork by artists local to the Evanston area.

6. Music Festivals

During the warm summer months, Chicago and its surrounding areas are buzzing with music festivals, from local performances to superstar blowouts.

Kid Cudi, Future and Playboi Carti will be headlining Summer Smash in Bridgeview, Illinois. From June 23 to 25, the star-studded lineup will be playing at SeatGeek Stadium, and tickets can be purchased here.

Next up is the Windy City Smokeout, a festival for the city’s country music fans. From July 13 to 16, country stars like Zach Bryan, Luke Bryan and the Zac Brown Band will be playing to Chicagoans in the United Center parking lot. Tickets can be purchased here.

And from August 3 to 6, Chicago will host the annual Lollapalooza festival, one of the country’s largest. This year’s festival is headlined by Billie Eilish, Lana del Ray and Kendrick Lamar. Tickets can be purchased here.

Email: [email protected]
Twitter: @alycebrownn

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