Chicago has an abundance of great outdoor festivals. The following are some of the best.
1. Chicago Air & Water Show: Aug 18 & 19, lakefront. An amazing display of aerobatic stunt planes and the world's top military aircraft.
2. Old Town Art Fair: June 9 & 10. The biggest and best of the many art fairs. Located in the upscale Lincoln Park Neighborhood it features high quality art, fine jewelry and lots and lots of people.
3. Taste of Chicago: July 11-15, Grant Park. Reconfigured, scaled back and no longer held around the 4th of July it will still be a great chance to try a variety of Chicago's best food without all of the driving. Music acts like Chaka Khan will perform at night.
4. Blues Fest: June 8-10, Grant Park. The home of the blues should have a great blues festival and Chicago does. There are 3 stages with bands playing continuously all day calumniating in big name acts at night.
5. Gold Coast Art Fair: June 30-July 1, Grant Park. Good quality art in a less crowded and hectic setting. Unlike other art fairs that feature lots food and drinks this one is only about the art. Friday is a good chance to go and miss any crowds.
6. Printers Row Lit Fest: June 9 & 10, Printers Row Neighborhood. There are dozens of sellers selling new and used books. There are also cooking demos and author talks. Family friendly but usually a bit overcrowded.
7. Old St. Pat's World's Largest Block Party: June 29 & 30, 700 W. Adams. Think 20,000 people, mostly under 40, drinking, listing to bands, and trying to meet members of the opposite sex.
8. Sheffield Garden Walk: July 21 & 22, Lincoln Park. 80 homes are opened up so you can see their gardens and yards. It is a good way to see some of the cities nicest homes.
9. Wells Street Art Festival: June 9 & 10, Old Town. Held the same weekend as Old Town and just a few blocks away. The art is more affordable and it is as much a block party as it is an art fair. The crowds are large and can get a bit unruly.
10. Jazz Fest: Aug30-Sept 2, Grant and Millennium Parks. Lots of great jazz music in the open air instead of a dark club. Roy Haynes and Dianne Reeves headline.