What's On in Chicago

From huge music festivals to celebrations paying homage to food and the arts, there are many exciting annual events in Chicago that have put the city on the map. Here are our top picks of must-see events for expats.

St Patrick's Day Parade (March)

Chicago hosts one of the largest St Patrick's Day celebrations in the US, with over 400,000 people gathering to watch the festivities. The Chicago River is even dyed green for the occasion (with an eco-friendly dye).

Bike the Drive (May)

Each year at the end of May, the Lake Shore Drive is open to bikes only, offering a fantastic occasion to bike with family and friends. This is a unique opportunity as usually this road is full of cars.

Chicago Blues Festival (June)

As the world's largest free blues festival, this event is a must for all expats living in Chicago. Dozens of local and international artists of the highest calibre perform over the course of this three-day festival.

Grant Park Music Festival (June to August)

This ten-week classical music festival founded in 1935 is a must-see for music buffs. The Grant Park Symphony Orchestra and Grant Park Chorus are a mainstay of the concert series, with special guest conductors and performers also making appearances.

Taste of Chicago (July)

By some measures the world’s largest food festival, this gastronomic ten-day marathon celebrates Chicago-style food and entertainment. Apart from the array of food stalls and pop-up restaurants, the live music performances are another highlight.

Lollapalooza (August) 

Lollapalooza is a four-day, eight-stage music festival that happens each year in Chicago’s Grant Park. The festival hosts an impressive line-up of local and international bands.

Chicago Gourmet (September)

Expat foodies can enjoy another fantastic weekend celebration of food and wine at Chicago Gourmet. Highlights include tastings, seminars and live demonstrations by celebrity chefs.

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