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Chicago September 15–21: Riot Fest, World Music Festival & Taco Fest

The best of what to do in and around Chicago this week

Make the most of the last bits of summer this week in Chicago. Take time to visit the World Music Festival, where you’ll hear various ensembles that came from all over the world to entertain you. Then dance in the park to the music of Riot Fest, and head over to Taco Fest to stuff yourself silly with every type of taco imaginable. Finally, end your week with tasty samples of upscale local food at The Heritage, a new restaurant that’s soon to be a local favorite.

AFAR Local is our weekly insider guide to the best of what’s happening in cities around the U.S.

September 15–18 | Escape the city
Joliet, Illinois
It’s racing season, and there’s no better time to visit Joliet. Just 45 minutes out of Chicago, the city is home to the Chicagoland Speedway, which this week hosts the ARCA Racing Series, four days and nights of race cars speeding around the track. Joliet is also home to the Rialto Square Theatre, which is worth visiting even if you don’t watch a show (but catch a show if you can). The place is known for putting on everything from movies to plays, concerts, and comedy nights—and it’s a beautiful and comfortable venue for whatever you choose to enjoy.

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September 16–18 | Music festival
Riot Fest
The last music festival of summer is one you won’t want to miss. Riot Fest’s headliners include Death Cab for Cutie, Rob Zombie, Ween, and more. They’ll have punk rock, hip-hop, rock, and other genres all represented throughout their massive lineup, so you’re sure to find at least a few bands you’ll love. But one of the biggest draws of this year’s fest isn’t a new band—it’s the reunion of the original members of the Misfits, who haven’t played together for 33 years. Tickets are selling fast, so get them before they’re gone.
11 a.m.–10 p.m. | Douglas Park, 1401 S. Sacramento Dr., Chicago | From $85 | website

September 17–18 | Food festival
Sam Adams Lakeview Taco Fest
Tacos are in the spotlight at this popular festival, which is back for its fourth year. Sam Adams Taco Fest features versions of the beloved street food from more than a dozen local restaurants. You’ll be able to sample upscale, traditional, and imaginatively stuffed tortillas. Participating restaurants include Crosby’s Kitchen, Brownstone Tavern & Grill, and Más, plus many more. There will also be plenty of beer to go with your tacos, plus two music stages, Mexican wrestlers (lucha libre), and a kids’ activity area filled with arts and crafts.
11 a.m.–10 p.m. | Southport between Roscoe and Addison, Chicago | $7 | website

Taco Fest

Through September 25 | Music festival
World Music Festival
Musicians from around the world have been in Chicago performing free of charge at this citywide festival, and you’ve got a few more days to enjoy them. There are more than 60 artists from 25 countries performing at 20 venues, ranging from  Anda Union of Inner Mongolia, China, who will be performing at the Chicago Cultural Center (September 15, 6 p.m.), to the Ensemble Surabhi of Chicago (September 21, 6 p.m.). This festival, now in its 18th year, has brought music to more than 650,000 audience members.
Times, locations & prices vary | website

Now open | Restaurant
The Heritage
An upscale, 54-seat restaurant in Forest Park (just outside of Chicago) opened in early September, bringing hipster chefs Michael Spiewak (Lula, Old Town Social) and Sieger Bayer (Leghorn, Formento’s) to a strip of this near-Chicago suburb that badly needed a refresher. The Heritage’s menu is expected to change weekly, but right now includes pan-roasted chicken with sourdough croutons and red onions, and flat iron steak with green harissa, smoked cauliflower, and pickled scallions. Small plates will also serve as appetizers, and everything on the menu will be as local and as seasonal as possible.
The Heritage, 7403 W. Madison St., Forest Park | website

Danielle Braff lives in Chicago with her husband, two daughters, two cats, and her dog. When she’s not writing, she’s out photographing her city and running around frantically trying to fit as many events as she can into her day. You can check out her other articles at Daniellebraff.com.

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