Summer doesn’t officially start until the 21st, but that shouldn’t stop you from getting out and enjoying yourself. Below are your ten best bets, and be sure to check out our Summer Guide for a complete rundown of midwest road trips, beer gardens and alfresco restaurants, and everything else that’s happening.
Museum of Contemporary Art Farmers’ Market
The most sophisticated market in town. Pick up some fruit and veggies, then check out an exhibit or two.
Through 10/27: Tue 7 AM-3 PM, MCA Plaza, Chicago and Mies van der Rohe Way, mcachicago.org
Printers Row Lit Fest
The lineup at the midwest’s largest book fair includes LeVar Burton of Reading Rainbow fame—and some 200 others. Some events require tickets.
Sat 6/6-Sun 6/7, 10 AM-TBA, Printers Row Lit Fest, Dearborn between Congress and Polk, 312-222-3986, printersrowlitfest.org, free.
Pilsen Food Truck Social
More than 25 food trucks roll up on 18th Street. Twenty bucks gets a “sampler” ticket for five small portions; Revolution brews a beer especially for the occasion, and Thalia Hall brings the live music.
Sat 6/6-Sun 6/7, 11 AM-10 PM, Thalia Hall, 1227 W. 18th, 312-526-3851, pilsenfoodtrucksocial.com, $5 suggested donation, free.
Windy City Burlesque Fest
Don’t tell Gorilla Tango, but not all burlesque features Nintendo characters or superhero references. Break out the tassels for parties, workshops, and themed performances featuring seasoned dancers.
Wed 6/10-Sat 6/13, times vary, Stage 773, 1225 W. Belmont, 773-327-5252, windycityburlesquefest.com, $10-$25, $117 festival pass.
Chicago Blues Festival
Lollapalooza for dads. The annual fest features performances by Buddy Guy, the Taj Mahal Trio, and more.
6/12-6/14, 11 AM-9:30 PM, Grant Park, 337 E. Randolph, cityofchicago.org, free.
Postpunk heroes Wire host this indoor fest spread across three venues. The lineup features the Jon Spencer Blues Explosion, White Lung, Disappears, and Tim Hecker, while Wire has three special shows lined up, including collaborations with Ken Vandermark and St. Vincent.
Thu 6/11-Sat 6/13, times vary, locations vary, drillfestival.com/chicago, $15-$24.
Chicago Bike Week
Seven days dedicated to cycling. Activities include a guided bike tour of the South Loop, a triathlon checkpoint challenge, and a bike fashion show, plus there’s perks like free parking at the Blues Fest and a special bike-in screening of Napoleon Dynamite.
Through Fri 6/19, times vary, cityofchicago.org, free.
This year’s preparade weekend festival features the best local drag performers, a pet parade, and music from the Veronicas and St. Lucia. Save at least some energy for the parade, though. You’ll need it.
Through 6/21, times vary, Halsted between Belmont and Addison, northalsted.com, $7 suggested donation.
Dog Dayz of Summer
Doug “Hot Doug” Sohn returns with a pop-up restaurant complete with beer and music from Bobby Bare Jr., Bare Mutants, and Freakwater. Plus, no line!
Sat 6/27, noon and 5 PM, Goose Island Barrel Warehouse, 605 N. Sacramento, dogdayzofsummer.com, $75.
“Elena Manferdini: Building the Picture”
Work by the LA architect, who creates an immersive environment inspired by Mies van der Rohe. Through 7/12, Art Institute of Chicago, 111 S. Michigan, artinstituteofchicago.org, $18.