Get outdoors this week in Chicago. First, there’s the Taste of Chicago, an annual food festival that offers something for everyone in Grant Park. Then there’s the Roscoe Village Burger Fest, a giant barbecue where the pros handle the grills. Or do a 5k run for a good cause or hike among canyons and waterfalls.
AFAR Local is our weekly insider guide to the best of what’s happening in cities around the U.S.
Through July 10 | Food festival
Taste of Chicago
This classic Chicago festival lets you try food from all of Chicago’s best restaurants without committing to a meal at only one. Walking through Grant Park, which serves as the home base for this massive food fest, is free, but you’ll need to buy tasting tickets if you want to eat anything. Participating restaurants this year include Billy Goat Tavern & Grill, Abundance Bakery, and Lou Malnati’s Pizzeria. Plus, catch music by Billy Idol, The Decemberists, and the Roots, who will all be performing at the Petrillo Music Shell in celebration of the event.
Times vary | Grant Park, Jackson St. and Columbus Dr., Chicago | Free | website
July 9–10 | Food festival
Roscoe Village Burger Fest
More than a dozen local restaurants will be firing up their grills for a massive block-party barbecue this weekend. They will include Butcher & the Burger, Hackney’s, Fatso’s Last Stand, and Mrs. Murphy & Sons Irish Bistro. You can be the judge of who makes the best burger when you vote during the People’s Choice Awards. There will also be two stages of music, plus a kids’ zone that will have face painters, rock climbing, a 35-foot slide, and yoga.
11 a.m.–10 p.m. | Clybourn Ave. (btw. Diversey Pkwy. and Wellington Ave.), Chicago | $10 | website
July 9–10 | Escape the city
Starved Rock State Park
About 90 minutes outside Chicago are hundreds of miles of trails to explore at Starved Rock State Park. Located on the Illinois River bluff in La Salle County, this park has 2,630 acres of forest, 18 canyons, and dozens of waterfalls to discover. Starved Rock also has all levels of adventure covered, whether you’re looking for a place where a toddler can play or somewhere that will awaken the survivalist in you. Stay in a cabin at the lodge or pitch a tent in the forest for a really wild weekend.
Starved Rock State Park, 2668 E. 873 Rd., Oglesby | website
July 10 | 5k charity run
Run! To End Homelessness
Dash through Chicago’s historic Douglas Park in the sixth annual 5k Run! To End Homelessness. A Safe Haven Foundation, the social services agency that hosts this fund-raiser, supports housing, job placement, and other programs for the homeless. Join in by supporting a runner or running yourself, and stay for the postrun concert/mini-festival. If you do run, A Safe Haven is offering extra incentive to make it speedy: The fastest 50 runners will win two three-day passes each to the 2016 Riot Fest Music Festival happening in the same spot in September.
8:30 a.m. | Douglas Park, 1401 Sacramento Dr., Chicago | $50 | website
Through Sept 18 | Art exhibit
America after the Fall
The Art Institute Chicago’s newest exhibit features American art from the 1930s. Between the economic depression experienced after the roaring ’20s and before the buildup to World War II, artists such as Edward Hopper, Georgia O’Keeffe, and Grant Wood explored modernism in new ways and told the story of a changing America through their own viewpoints. This exhibit explores that time and how it impacted the American dream.
Times vary | 111 S. Michigan Ave., Chicago | From $14 | 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.