Festival season is officially in full swing in Chicago, and that means doing a lot of fancy drinking under some pretty fancy tents. It all kicks off with a 10-day craft beer festival. If you need to escape, or if wine is more your drink of choice, head over to the Lincoln Park Wine Festival, where they’ve got more than 80 bottles on hand. There’s also Mayfest, which is simply a Chicago tradition. Another Chicago tradition? The Frank Lloyd Wright Trust’s Great American Housewalk.
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May 19–29 | Drink
Chicago Craft Beer Week
Chicago loves its craft beer—so much so that the city dedicates a whole week (technically 10 days, but who’s counting?) to various craft beer events. Highlights include the Beer under Glass evening, where visitors will sip brews from Chicago’s craft breweries in one of the most beautiful spots in the city: the Garfield Park Conservatory. The Welles Park Craft Beer Fest will also be a big event during the week. Essentially, it’s a massive party in the park complete with live bands, more than 150 craft beers, and a tent just for rare brews.
Times, locations & prices vary | website
May 20–22 | Summer festival
It’s not officially summertime in Chicago until Mayfest. This year, the three-day festival will get people outside and dancing along to the Too White Crew, The Boy Band Night, Rod Tuffcurls, and Trippin’ Billies (a Dave Matthews tribute band), among other bands. Expect to drink cold beers in a heated tent (you can never trust the Chicago weather) and cheer to the beginning of another fabulous Chicago summer. There are even fun and games for the kids, too—including crafts and Zumba.
5–10 p.m. | 3100 N. Ashland Ave., Chicago | $10 | website
May 21–22 | Wine festival
Lincoln Park Wine Festival
This annual wine festival transforms Lincoln Park into Tuscany for a weekend. The neighborhood’s Jonquil Park becomes an open-air market, complete with wine and food pavilions. A ticket gets you 12 tastings from a selection of more than 80 wines, including local and international varieties ranging from 1000 Stories Zinfandel to Bolla Prosecco. There will be brand ambassadors, sommeliers, and all sorts of foods to pair with your wines. While the wine will take center stage, plan to spend your whole day chilling outside and listening to the live music.
1-6 p.m. | Jonquil Park, 1001 W. Wrightwood Ave., Chicago | From $50 per day | website
Head over to River Forest, home to many Frank Lloyd Wright homes, on May 21 for the Frank Lloyd Wright Trust’s Great American Housewalk. For one day only, you’ll get special access to private homes and public buildings designed by Wright and his contemporaries. These will include the Winslow House, which he designed at the beginning of his career, and the Adams House, which was his final commission. There will be nine private residences covering a three-mile radius, which you’ll drive between in a trolley car. Stay the weekend and explore the rest of the village, which has two universities and was once the home of several Italian mafia bosses.
Now open | Restaurant
Earls Kitchen & Bar
Get your farm-to-table fix at this new Lincoln Park restaurant, which features locally sourced ingredients from the Midwest. Earls Kitchen & Bar hails from Canada, and they’ve got 66 restaurants total, each tailored to the city it calls home. The food, though, has a global feel, with Jeera chicken curry offered as one of the more popular menu options, and a peanut butter skillet cookie that’s to die for. Everything, including the breads and the rolls, are made from scratch in-house.
1538 N. Clybourn Ave., Chicago | (312) 929-3952 | 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.