The best of what to do in and around Chicago this week.
Chicago takes summer festival season seriously. This week alone, you can choose among the 6 Corners BBQ Fest, Fiestas Puertorriqueñas, and the Taste of Randolph, a celebration of Chicago’s Restaurant Row. Then, give your belly rest during a Chicago Symphony concert, or get away for a weekend to explore one of the best beaches in the Midwest.
AFAR Local is our weekly insider guide to the best of what’s happening in cities around the U.S.
June 16–21 | Concert
Muti Conducts Beethoven and Brahms
Chicago Symphony Orchestra’s own Riccardo Muti will conduct Beethoven and Brahms in the orchestra’s latest program. Violinist Julia Fischer will join for Beethoven’s violin concerto, followed by Brahms’s Serenade no. 1. The orchestra, with its full string section and boisterous brass, was made to play these pieces. Make sure to check out the lovely ballroom during intermission and to get a drink in the Tesori restaurant either before or after the concert (the martinis are especially delicious).
Times vary | Chicago Symphony Center, 220 S. Michigan Ave., Chicago | From $45 | website
June 16–19 | Festival
Expect carnival rides, music, arts and crafts, an appearance by Miss Puerto Rico, and food—lots and lots of food—at this annual celebration. This Puerto Rican festival is known especially for its authentic and insanely delicious Caribbean cuisine. The festivities will begin after the Puerto Rican People’s Parade, which starts at 2 p.m. on Division and Western Avenue. Parking will be nearly impossible, so we recommend taking public transportation. And, of course, come hungry.
Times vary | Humboldt Park at Division and California, Chicago | Free | website
June 17–19 | Festival
Taste of Randolph
This weekend, head to Randolph Street in the West Loop (aka Restaurant Row), where you can taste food from some of Chicago’s best restaurants. You’ll be able to try bites from Belly Q, Publican Quality Meats, and Gus’s Fried Chicken, among others. This year is the festival’s 20th anniversary, so they’re pulling out all the stops. Come for the food, but stay for the entertainment: Swedish indie-pop act Peter Bjorn & John will be there, along with MS MR and Australian rocker Atlas Genius.
Times vary | 9000 W. Randolph St., Chicago | $10 | website
6 Corners BBQ Fest
Bring your father, your partner, and yourself—because let’s be real, everyone likes barbecue—to this mouthwatering festival. You’ll find ribs, chicken, pulled pork, and just about anything else you could imagine tossing onto a grill. To make the event extra special for Father’s Day weekend, there will also be wrestling matches and performances from artists such as Too White Crew, Kashmir, and 97 Nine.
Times vary | 4000-4100 block of N. Milwaukee Ave., Chicago | $5 | website
June 18–19 | Escape the city
Union Pier, Michigan
Only 90 minutes by car from the city, Union Pier has beaches, wineries, and—if it wasn’t clear already—plenty of other options for relaxation. Stop at the Round Barn Winery, a distillery-winery-brewery with its own tasting room—and an independent cellar with lots of local bottles for sale. Pick up a picnic lunch at Pleasant House Three Oaks, a restaurant that offers samples of its English savory pies (our favorite is the chicken balti). Choose a few to go and head for Union Pier Beach, which makes a fine backdrop at any time of day or night.
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.