Summer’s finally here, and Chicago is celebrating with Oktoberfest’s sister festival, a nude bike ride, and truckloads of ribs.
AFAR Local is our monthly insider guide to the best of what’s happening in cities around the U.S.
June 1 - 4 | Festival
Summertime’s answer to Oktoberfest, Maifest is the traditional German festival celebrating spring. And just like its more famous fall counterpart, that celebration includes lots and lots of beer. The Chicago version features live entertainment from German American band Phenix and Chicago locals The Polkaholics, plus all the brew and sausage you can down in four days.
4700 N. Lincoln Ave., Chicago | Free | website
June 2 - 4 | Festival
Do Division Street Fest and Sidewalk Sale
Bring your walking shoes to this massive street festival. The organizers of Do Division Street Fest and Sidewalk Sale pack two music stages, a fashion show, food, beer, wine, and a family-oriented area into 10 city blocks. Division Street merchants will be out and about selling their wares at the sidewalk sale portion of the event, and you’ll shop to the tunes of acts including The Ponys, ADULT, Shannon and the Clams, Boogarins, and WebsterX.
Division St. btw. Damen Ave. and Leavitt St., Chicago | $5 (suggested donation) | website
June 7 - 9 | Dance
Hubbard Street Dance Season 39 Summer Series
Hubbard Street Dance is celebrating its 40th anniversary with the Season 39 Summer Series, four days of dances spanning the company’s four-decade history. Expect a resurfacing of all the audience favorites, including The Golden Selection, a dance originally premiered on Broadway in 1981, and The 40s, a full-company performance dreamt up by Hubbard’s founding artistic director Lou Conte.
The Harris Theater for Music and Dance, 205 E. Randolph Dr., Chicago | From $30 | website
June 10 | Outdoor event
World Naked Bike Ride
Shed your skivvies, hop on your bicycle, and join a slew of nude cyclists for the most fun—not to mention most aerodynamic—ride of the season. This is no race, so no need to worry about your speed—or anything else, for that matter. The mantra of the World Naked Bike Ride is all about body positivity. Decorate yourself in body paint, funny underwear, a costume, or nothing at all, and you’ll fit right in as long as you’re feeling the self-love. (Although this is a clothing-optional event, you’ll want to arrive dressed, and keep your clothes with you. You may derobe only once inside the event area.)
6:00 PM | Location will be disclosed to participants a few days before the event. | Free | website
June 10 - 11 | Music festival
Green Music Festival
Bike, walk, or take public transportation to the eco-friendly Green Music Festival, where you’ll join more than 30,000 people in pedaling the stationary bikes that power the amps, guitars, and lights at the event. In addition to music, there will be an associated Pet Fest and a kids’ area, so the whole family is invited.
12:00 PM - 10:00 PM | Damen Ave. btw. North Ave. and Schiller St., Chicago | $10 (suggested donation) | website
June 10 - 11 | Literature
Chicago Tribune Printers Row Lit Fest
A bookworm’s paradise is descending upon the Windy City. The Printers Row Lit Fest is the Midwest’s largest outdoor literary festival, and it’s a hard one to top. There will be thousands of books—some out of print, many signed by the author—as well as lectures by world-renowned writers and journalists. This is where you’ll have the chance to grab coffee and talk politics with Tribune columnist John Kass, hear National Book Award winner Ibram X. Kendi speak on race in America, catch a cooking demo by Indian cookbook author Anupy Singla, and learn about translating prose to film from Black Hawk Down author Mark Bowden. Tickets for many events are free but require an RSVP in advance to get in (we recommend snagging those as early as possible so you don’t miss out).
Dearborn St. from Harrison to Polk Sts., Chicago | Free | website
June 15 - 16 | Music
New Kids on the Block with Paula Abdul and Boyz II Men
It’s a throwback to a 1980s concert, so you can bet this audience will be filled with 30-somethings belting along to every single song. New Kids on the Block and Boyz II Men came back into the limelight with a successful tour in 2013, but this will be Paula Abdul’s first time on stage after a 25-year hiatus. The trio of acts are a welcome blast from the past that are sure to light up the audience.
7:30 PM | Allstate Arena, 6920 Mannheim Rd., Rosemont | From $44 | website
June 25 | Parade
Chicago Pride Parade
Join more than a million people in Lakeview—aka Boystown—to celebrate gay pride with a parade and festival. You’ll have to get there early if you want a good spot along the parade route, but the early morning setup is worth it for a front-row seat to the endless line of floats and performers. The party will continue long after the parade marches by: Nearby bars and restaurants will be packed with revelers looking to celebrate well into the night and the following morning.
12:00 PM | Parade route starts at Montrose Ave. and Broadway, Chicago | Free | website
June 30 - July 2 | Food & music
Windy City RibFest Chicago
It’s an all-you-can-eat rib extravaganza at the Windy City RibFest, where chefs from all over the globe will be cooking up their version of the world’s best ribs. The multi-day festival leaves you plenty of time to taste a way-more-than-modest selection of pork, and an impressive music lineup—featuring bands including Rusted Root and Liquid Soul—will keep your ears as happy as your taste buds.
12:00 PM | 4800 N. Broadway St., Chicago | $5 (suggested donation) | website
July 14 | Book ahead: Music
Pitchfork Music Festival
Megafest Lollapalooza, which takes place later this summer, may have been sold out for months, but luckily you’ve still got a chance to snag tickets to a music festival with a massive lineup. This year marks the 10th anniversary of the Pitchfork Music Festival, and big-font flyer names include dance rockers LCD Soundsystem and Madam Gandhi and legendary hip-hop group A Tribe Called Quest, as well as Vagabond and Kilo Kish. Attire is strictly indie: Throw on sunglasses, an ironic top, and a hobo hat, and you’ll be all set.
12:00 PM | Union Park, 1501 W. Randolph St., Chicago | From $75 | 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.