Living in Chicago means you and your family get access to some of the best cultural events in the country. While there are plenty of festivals every month around the city, Lincoln Park and neighboring districts are home to quite a few fun events that celebrate diverse cultures, music, food, and more. Here are nine must-attend festivals and events in and around Lincoln Park to put on your calendar this year (and every year to come).
Chicago Theatre Week
Live theater is an amazing experience for everyone, no matter their age. But if you’re not able to treat your family to live theater very often, book tickets for local performances during Chicago Theatre Week in February. This event features discounted tickets between $15 and $30 (or less) for popular shows at fantastic theaters around town. You can see improv at The Second City or comedies and family shows at Broadway Playhouse just a few miles south of Lincoln Park.
Mayfest is the beginning of summer festival season in Chicago, and it now takes place in the Lincoln Park neighborhood. This three-day event at the end of May is known for its amazing live music, performances, food, and adult beverages. However, Mayfest also features vendors, art, and family activities, too. What’s more, the cover charge for the festival is a $10 suggested donation.
Lincoln Park Greek Fest
In June, the Lincoln Park Greek Fest supports St. George Greek Orthodox Church, located in the neighborhood, and celebrates Greek culture through traditional music, dance, and, of course, food. This festival has gyros, shish kebobs, moussaka, spanakopita, baklava, and much more. There’s live music every night during this three-day event, featuring rock, pop, and traditional Greek tunes. Plus, you can take Greek Folk Dance lessons from the Anemos Dance Troupe of St. George Chicago and the Perifania School of Hellenic Music & Dance.
Grant Park Music Festival
From June through August, your family can enjoy the beautiful summer weather and listen to live classical music multiple times per week during the Grant Park Music Festival. A few stops south of Lincoln Park, Millennium Park has a stunning outdoor amphitheater called the Jay Pritzker Pavilion set up against the towering Chicago skyline. There are seats closer to the stage for a better view and even more sound during the performance, or you can bring a picnic and set up on the Great Lawn.
The Chicago Triathalon is a master feat in athletic competition, making it a thrilling event to attend as a spectator. If you want to race, you have three races of different lengths: the International, the Sprint, and the Super Sprint. This August event is open to active kids, too. The Kids Tri event takes place at Foster Beach, and there are two separate races for different age groups: ages 7 to 10 years old and ages 11 to 14 years old. Make it a family event for spectating or for challenging your athletic prowess.
Lincoln Square Apple Fest
Celebrate fall and the spooky season with the family at the Lincoln Square Apple Fest. This fall festival features a bunch of live musical acts all weekend long and blocks of vendors selling fall harvest produce and handmade products, like clothing, jewelry, and artisan goods. Not to mention, a number of local restaurants, food trucks, and food vendors serve cider, sandwiches, autumnal pies and baked goods, and much more. Plus, parents can enjoy a hard cider, too.
When you’re not eating and drinking, your family can enjoy kid-friendly live music and performances, a doggie costume show, fall-themed arts and crafts, games, and much more.
Lincoln Park Wine Fest
The Lincoln Park Wine Fest is an October event that’s meant for booking the babysitter. You get to taste a variety of fantastic wines of various styles, all while enjoying friends and live music. General admission comes with 12 wine tastings and a commemorative wine glass. If you upgrade to a VIP pass, you get to taste 15 regular wines and 5 fancier varieties.
ZooLights at Lincoln Park Zoo
Starting in November and running all the way through early January is ZooLights at the Lincoln Park Zoo. This family-friendly event takes place on select days during the evenings, so everyone can see the beautiful, festive light displays set up throughout the park. Some nights are free, while others require you to buy tickets for special events.
This winter event is one of the best for getting the whole family in the holiday spirit. Different parts of the zoo have themed light displays and even interactive exhibits. There’s a light maze that you and your kids can work together to solve and complete in record time. This attraction also has a dazzling fairy forest, a carousel, and a lit-up train. In addition to lights, there are photo stations, pictures with Santa, ice carving demonstrations, and carolers. This event even has kid-friendly games and activities that may offer the chance to see some of the animals.
Zoo Years Eve
The Lincoln Park Zoo is, indeed, one of the best places to celebrate winter holidays because this destination also hosts a New Year’s Eve event in addition to ZooLights. However, the kids have to stay home for this one.
Zoo Years Eve is an adults-only NYE party where you can enjoy the beautiful lights, warm yourself up with adult beverages, play festival games, enter to win exclusive giveaways, jam with a DJ, and even catch glimpses of some of the animals. Plus, you get to participate in the NYE countdown and ring in the New Year in a truly unique way. Make sure to get your tickets ahead of time, because this rockin’ holiday event could sell out.
So there you have it. Nine amazing local events in and around Lincoln Park for your family to enjoy. Did we miss your family’s favorite local festival, event, or celebration? If so, contact Crème de la Crème of Lincoln Park to let us know. We’ll be sure to add it to our list!