Old St. Pat’s World’s Largest Block Party (July 9-10, 2010, $40 for a one-night pass/$70 for a two night pass) Every year, thousands of people flock to this two-night music fest that benefits St. Pat’s Church, the oldest public building in Chicago. Tickets include five drinks (alcoholic or non) and access to the musical stages. Headlining this year’s festival are American Idol 2009 winner Kris Allen, the Barenaked Ladies and Spoon. And if you’re single and looking to mingle, local legend has it that this is the festival to meet your mate- nearly 100 pairs have met at the World’s Largest Block Party and gone on to marry.
Pitchfork Music Festival (July 16-18, 2010, $40 for a single day pass/$90 for a three-day pass) Three days, three stages, 41 shows. For the past five years, indie music lovers have packed into Chicago’s Union Park to hear their favorite musicians and discover some new tunes. Adding to the indie flair of the event is the Chicago Independent Radio Project (CHIRP) Record Fair, where you can pick up a few vinyl discs to spin at home.
Windy City Ribfest (July 16-18, 2010, $5 suggested donation for entry) Good food, good music…what more could you ask for? A dozen musical acts (headlined this year by Sister Hazel and Tonic) provide the tunes as the best of the best in Midwestern barbecue duke it out and smoked meat enthusiasts sample the dozens of barbecued specialties. Come hungry and BYOB (bring your own bib).
The Chicago Air and Water Show (August 14-15, 2010, free admission) Parachuters? Check. Aerobats? Check. Speed boats? Check. More than two million people check themselves onto Chicago’s lakefront beaches yearly to watch this action spectacle take place. For more than 50 years, the Chicago Air and Water Show has been giving spectators an action show they won’t forget. The crowds are heavy and the air is thick, but there’s nothing quite like seeing the Blue Angels fly in formation or the water spraying off the wave runners in the extreme water show. Another tip from a local: If you’re around town the day before the festival, they do run-throughs of the routines. If you happen to be around the lakefront when they’re practicing, you can see the show and avoid the crowds.
On any given weekend in Chicago, there’s something being celebrated somewhere and the best way to experience the true culture and diversity of the city is to get out into it and explore it. Taste something new. Listen to a new band. Peruse the handmade goods at a craft fair. For a complete list of summertime activities throughout the city, you can check out the official visitors site for the city at http://www.choosechicago.com.
The guest post above was written by Nicole Brook. Check out her awesome travel blog, "Sunglasses and Umbrella Drinks" at http://sunglassesandumbrelladrinks.blogspot.com