This week in Chicago kicks off with a rubber duck charity race (we bet you can’t find that anywhere else), and then continues with festival after festival. Hot dogs take center stage at the Chicago Hot Dog Fest, or try a bit of everything at Taste of Lincoln Avenue. Then, finish off the week with a touchdown at the Chicago Bears Family Fest.
AFAR Local is our weekly insider guide to the best of what’s happening in cities around the U.S.
August 4 | Derby
Rubber Ducky Derby
This is a derby of absurdity—for a good cause. In it, a whopping 50,000 rubber ducks will race down the river, starting from the Columbus Drive Bridge. It’s all fun and games, but there’s also a purpose: You can “adopt” a duck for $5, and all proceeds go to benefit the Special Olympics Illinois. Plus, if your duck wins the race, you could win prizes such as a 2016 Chevy Malibu or an all-inclusive vacation to Cancun. The day kicks off early with a family-friendly festival, and race time is at 1 p.m.
10 a.m. | 400 N. Michigan Ave., Chicago | From $5 | website
August 5–7 | Festival
Chicago Hot Dog Fest
Chicago is known nationwide for its love of hot dogs, so it’s no surprise this festival is a doozy. Come munch on samples from the biggest hot dog vendors in Chi-town, including Fatso’s Last Stand and Byron’s Hot Dogs, and hear from hot dog experts like Bob Schwartz, author of Never Put Ketchup on a Hot Dog. Bands are playing and there will be kids’ activities, making this a fun family event.
Times vary | Stockton & LaSalle, Chicago | Free | website
August 6 | Festival
Chicago Bears Family Fest
Family fest is your chance to get an up close and personal experience with the team that Chicago knows and loves: the Bears. You can watch the team practice, play Bears-related games, score some autographs, and perhaps get lucky with giveaways. It’ll also be the first time fans will get to see the 2016 team in their Chicago stadium before football season officially begins.
9 a.m.–1:30 p.m. | 1410 S. Museum Campus Dr., Chicago | From $10 | website
August 6–7 | Festival
Taste of Lincoln Avenue
Want to eat, play, dance, and shop? Taste of Lincoln Avenue is the place to do it. It’s one of the oldest, most popular street festivals in Chicago, with more than 100 vendors and artists to check out, plus over 25 music acts on three stages. The lineup includes some throwback favorites, like Aaron Carter, and the headliners include acts Marianas Trench and 16 Candles. The festival is for all ages, but children might prefer the neighboring kids’ carnival, which is free and comes complete with pony rides, giant slides, puppets, and face painting.
12–10 p.m. | Lincoln Ave. btw. Fullerton and Wrightwood, Chicago | $10 | website
August 6–7 | Escape the city
Mukwonago might be only 30 minutes from Milwaukee, but it couldn’t feel further from the city. Here you’ll spend your weekend fishing, bird-watching, and horseback riding. This spot is also, unsurprisingly, ideal for hiking—check out Kettle Moraine State Forest. It’s also home to some fantastic farm-to-table restaurants, including The Elegant Farmer, where you absolutely must try the Apple Pie Baked in a Paper Bag.
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.