Play and eat in Chicago this week. First, celebrity chef Rachael Ray is in town, serving up good cooking and good music at the Lincoln Park Zoo. Then, sausages take center stage at the Elston Avenue Sausage and Music Festival. There’s also a new dark comedy playing courtesy of the Steppenwolf Theatre Company, and this Sunday marks the annual Chicago Pride Parade—a celebration that will be filled with even more love than usual this year.
AFAR Local is our weekly insider guide to the best of what’s happening in cities around the U.S.
June 23–August 21 | Play
Between Riverside and Crazy
Steppenwolf Theatre Company is bringing us another play from the incredibly original author of The Motherf**ker with the Hat. This dark comedy already has great reviews. Between Riverside and Crazy follows the story of an ex-con and an ex-cop who live in a rent stabilized apartment in New York. While they’re trying to move on with their lives, they’re dealing with dishonest houseguests and a lawsuit against the police department.
Times vary | Steppenwolf Theatre, 1650 N. Halsted St., Chicago | From $20 | website
June 25 | Food festival
Rachael Ray’s Feedback Chicago
Stir up some music, throw in a little Rachael Ray, and serve up the event at the Lincoln Park Zoo—this is one signature dish that will please all senses for visitors. Inspired by a similar event Ray throws annually during SXSW in Austin, Feedback Chicago combines the chef’s favorite foods, drinks, and music for a curated Rachael Ray experience. Eats will include Pilsen-style Mexican hot dogs, smoked chicken wings, chilled dan dan noodles, and Ray’s own homemade sweet and spicy pickles, while music will be provided by people like Grace Potter, Los Colognes, and Al Scorch.
6 p.m. | 2001 N. Clark St., Chicago | From $50 | website
June 25–26 | Festival
Elston Avenue Sausage and Music Fest
Chicago is known for its sausages. Last year, the city showed its residents and travelers just how dedicated it is to the food by having the first annual Elston Avenue Sausage and Music Festival. This year, the second iteration will feature tastings from such local vendors as Byron’s Hot Dogs and Nottoli and Son, plus music by a dozen bands over the weekend, including Modern Vices and the Smoking Popes. There will be other entertainment, such as arts and crafts and activities for the kids, too.
12 p.m. | 3420 W. Grace St., Chicago | $5 | website
St. Louis, Missouri
The riverfront city of St. Louis is some 300 miles from Chicago—that’s about a five-hour drive—and it’s got plenty of attractions to keep you busy for an entire weekend. The Missouri Botanical Garden is stunning and large; right now, while flowers are still blooming, is the perfect time to go. If you’re a baseball fan, it’s always fun to tour Busch Stadium or to go there on a game day to watch the Cardinals. Looking for something more educational? The Missouri Civil War Museum or the Saint Louis Art Museum are your best bets.
June 26 | Pride
Chicago Pride Parade
This year, one the nation’s largest pride parades will undoubtedly be even bigger, with many showing their support for the LGBT community in the wake of the attack in Orlando. Anything and everything goes at this parade, which historically has drawn about 750,000 people who fill the streets of Chicago’s Uptown, Lakeview, and Lincoln Park neighborhoods to cheer on the floats and parade participants. Revelers party all day and all night, so once you finish watching the parade, choose any bar or restaurant in the area to continue the fun.
12 p.m. | Begins at Montrose Ave. and Broadway, Chicago | Free | 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.