12 Chicago Festivals That Should Be On Every Visitor's Bucket List

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    12 Top Chicago Festivals Not To Miss

    ••• Christkindlmarket Chicago happens downtown in November and December. City of Chicago

    It doesn’t matter how cold or hot it is outside, Chicago never slows down. That means that there’s always something to keep you occupied no matter what time of the year you visit. But when you think of all there is to do in the Windy City, you should be keeping a bucket list, and we've outlined the absolute top picks in the following slides.

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    January: Chicago Restaurant Week

    ••• Eden's braised duck lasagna is one of the specialties at the new restaurant based in the West Lake District. Photo courtesy of Eden

    Chicago's annual celebration of its rich culinary scene takes place at restaurants downtown, in local neighborhoods and in the suburbs. The official Chicago Restaurant Week showcases more than 350 local eateries with prix-fixe menus. It allows diners to check out as many restaurants as possible, so if you’re in Chicago during those two weeks, it should definitely be on your social calendar.

    Also Happening in January

    Chicago Cubs Convention

    SoxFest Chicago

    January Weather

    Average High Temperature: 30°F (-1°C)

    Average Low Temperature: 15°F (-9°C)

    Average Precipitation: 1.8"

    Average Snowfall: 10.99"

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    February: Chicago Auto Show

    ••• Chicago Auto Show

    The Chicago Auto Show bills itself as North America's oldest and largest auto show. First held in 1901, this year marks the 109th Chicago Auto Show event. Chicago is known as a frequent launching ground for new trucks.

    Also Happening in February

    Chicago Restaurant Week

    Chicago Theater Week

    Black Creativity at Museum of Science and Industry

    February Weather

    Average High Temperature: 33°F (1°°C)

    Average Low Temperature: 17°F (-8°C)

    Average Snowfall: 8.0"

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    March: St. Patrick's Day Parades

    When the Chicago River is dyed green every March, it puts everyone in the mood for St. Patrick's Day festivities. Chicago is also one of the few cities featuring two major parades, with the Downtown St. Patrick’s Day Parade and South Side St. Patrick’s Day Parade occurring within a week. And since we’re all about honoring the authentic, of course, we’ve gathered some of Chicago’s top Irish bars where you’re guaranteed a great Guinness pour and more.

    Also Happening in March

    C2E2: Chicago Comic and Entertainment Expo

    Chicagoland Flower & Garden Show

    Good Food Festival & Conference

    March Weather

    Average High Temperature: 45° F (7° C)

    Average Low Temperature: 28° F (-2° C)

    Average Precipitation: 2.7"

    Average Snowfall: 7.0"

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    April: BaconFest Chicago

    ••• Baconfest Chicago

    Love pork? You've come to the right place if you dig all things swine because BaconFest boasts the country's premier event featuring top local chefs and bartenders determined to outdo each other with the most creative offerings ever. It's pretty sweet (yes, there's even bacon in the desserts), but get ready to smell like bacon for at least a couple of days. Oh well. Live a little!

    Also Happening in April

    Chicago Dance Month

    Chicago Latino Film Festival

    Chicago International Movies and Music Festival

    WhiskyFest Chicago

    April Weather

    Average High Temperature: 57°F (14°C)

    Average Low Temperature: 39°F (4°C)

    Average Precipitation: 3.5"

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    May: Chicago Craft Beer Week

    ••• Hotel Lincoln

    The Windy City’s thriving craft beer community continues to grow--and we have our favorites--so it should come as no surprise that the Chicago Craft Beer Week is one of the most anticipated events of the year. It's a 10-day celebration held in more than 300 venues, and it coincides with American Craft Beer Week. Expect tastings of rare beers, new releases and other special events.

    Also Happening in May

    Chicago Kids and Kites Festival

    Chicago Underground Film Festival


    May Weather

    Average High Temperature: 69°F (20°C)

    Average Low Temperature: 49°F (9°C)

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    June: Chicago Gay Pride Parade

    ••• Northalsted Business Alliance

    Chicago Pride's most famous event, its colorful and celebratory annual Chicago Gay Pride Parade, kicks off at noon the last Sunday in June. It's considered one of the largest events of its kind and occurs in the heart of Boystown.

    Also Happening in June

    Andersonville Midsommarfest

    Chicago Blues Festival

    Chicago PrideFest 

    Chicago Gospel Music Festival 

    Old St. Pat’s World’s Largest Block Party

    Old Town Art Fair

    Printers Row Lit Festival

    Puerto Rican People's Day Parade & Festival


    Taste of Randolph

    Wells Street Art Festival

    June Weather

    Average High Temperature: 79°F (26°C)

    Average Low Temperature: 57°F (14°C)

    Average Precipitation: 3.7"

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    July: Taste of Chicago

    ••• Photo courtesy of KrupaliRai

    Everything at the Taste of Chicago in Grant Park, with the exception of food, drinks and ticketed concerts, is free. Prices vary for concerts. It is one of the country's largest food festivals featuring delights from local restaurants and food trucks. This year the festival runs July 5-9.

    Also Happening in July

    Pitchfork Music Festival

    Roscoe Village Burger Fest

    The Chosen Few DJs Music Festival

    Silver Room Block Party

    Taste of Lincoln Avenue

    July Weather

    Average High Temperature: 84°F (29°C)

    Average Low Temperature: 63°F (17°C)

    Average Precipitation: 3.7"

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    August: Lollapalooza

    Golden Knights jumping out of a plane
    ••• Golden Knights jumping out of a plane. Photo via City of Chicago

    The traveling music festival organized by Jane's Addiction singer Perry Farrell started in 1991 and has grown into one of the world's largest--and most annually anticipated--live music events. Lollapalooza takes place in Grant Park during the first weekend of August. It consists of several stages, including one for children and a main stage, plus Chowtown (where restaurant vendors reside), a retail component and more. It has been expanded to four days.

    Also Happening in August

    African Festival of the Arts

    Bud Billiken Parade

    Northalsted Market Days

    Northcoast Music Festival

    August Weather

    Average High Temperature: 81°F (27°C)

    Average Low Temperature: 63°F (17°C)

    Average Precipitation: 3.6"

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    September: Chicago Gourmet

    ••• Gail Reich

    The annual Chicago food festival--sponsored by Bon Appetit, the Illinois Restaurant Association and Southern Wine & Spirits of America--occurs in Millennium Park. Chicago Gourmet showcases local, national and international culinary talent during a three-day festival.

    Also Happening in September

    Chicago Jazz Festival

    Berghoff's Oktoberfest

    World Music Festival Chicago

    September Weather

    Average High Temperature: 74°F (23°C)

    Average Low Temperature: 55°F (13°C)

    Average Precipitation: 3.4"

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    October: Chicago International Film Festival

    ••• Chicago International Film Festival

    The esteemed Chicago International Film Festival launched in 1964 and celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2014. It presents more than 150 narrative feature, documentary and short films from more than 50 countries over a two-week period.

    Also Happening in October

    Chicago Artists Month

    Chicago Humanities Festival

    Chicago Marathon

    Columbus Day Parade

    October Weather

    Average High Temperature: 63°F (17°C)

    Average Low Temperature: 44°F (7°C)

    Average Precipitation: 2.5"

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    November: Magnificent Mile Lights Festival

    ••• Photo courtesy of Chuck Cherney

    Mickey and Minnie Mouse, plus others, kick off the holiday season during the annual Magnificent Mile Lights Festival on the famed Magnificent Mile shopping district. More than one million lights on 200 trees will be lit during the event that will also include a number of family-friendly performances.

    Also Happening in November

    Christmas Around the World

    Chicago Christmas Tree Lighting

    Christkindlmarket Chicago

    Lincoln Park Zoo's ZooLights

    McDonald's Thanksgiving Parade

    November Weather

    Average High Temperature: 47°F (8°C)

    Average Low Temperature: 32°F (0°C)

    Average Precipitation: 2.7"

    Average Snowfall: 2.9"

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    December: Christkindlmarket

    ••• City of Chicago

    The Christkindlmarket Chicago holiday market takes place in Daley Plaza from Thanksgiving to Christmas Eve and offers unique crafts and gifts for sale, live entertainment, as well as German-focused food and drinks. It is the largest event of its kind in the United States.

    Also Happening in December

    Chicago Trolley Holiday Lights Tour

    Christmas Around the World

    Christkindlmarket Chicago

    Lincoln Park Zoo's ZooLights

    Winter WonderFest

    December Weather

    Average High Temperature: 35°F (2°C)

    Average Low Temperature: 21°F (-6°C)

    Average Precipitation: 2.4"

    Average Snowfall: 8.98"