The Big City Blog: Free outdoor movies, concerts and dance lessons in Chicago this summer
By Clare Edlund
Photos courtesy of the city of Chicago
Summer Film Series
Tuesdays from June 24–Aug, 26 at 6:30 p.m.
Jay Pritzker Pavilion
Bring a blanket and snacks and enjoy a night out with weekly classic films shown on a 40-foot LED screen. Highlights include Top Gun, Field of Dreams, The Wizard of Oz and Ghostbusters.
Loop and Variations
Thursdays from May 29–July 3 at 6:30 p.m.
Contemporary and classical elements mixed with electronic music.
Downtown Sound Series
Mondays from June 2–August 11 at 6:30 p.m. (no concert July 28)
Eclectic series combining indie rock, pop bands, global sounds and rock veterans.
Grant Park Music Festival
June 11-Aug. 16
Jay Pritzker Pavilion
Carlos Kalmar will lead the Grammy Award-nominated Grant Park Orchestra and Christopher Bell will direct the award-winning Grant Park Chorus in an anniversary season of world premieres, festival favorites, world-renowned guest artists, a weeklong composer-in-residency, two visiting youth symphonies and collaborations with local artists and cultural organizations.
Made in Chicago: 36th Annual World Class Jazz
Aug. 28-31 (Labor Day Weekend)
Chicago Cultural Center and Jay Pritzker Pavilion
Jazz fanatics can enjoy a weekend of performances, including Gary Burton and Sun Ra Arkestra. Along with this, expect a rooftop showcase of both college and high school students playing tunes arranged by the Jazz Institute of Chicago.
16th annual World Music Festival Chicago
Enjoy an 11-day festival featuring renowned artists from around the world.
Tours, dance, exercise and family-related activities
Lurie Garden tours
May 15-Sept. 21
Thursday-Friday 11 a.m.–1:30 p.m., Sundays 10 a.m.-1:30 p.m.
A 20-minute guided tour around the Lurie Gardens showcasing the design history, perennial plants and wildlife.
Saturdays from June 7-Sept. 6
Work out on the Millennium Park lawn with yoga, Pilates, Zumba, and Latin dance classes.
Chicago Bike Week
A citywide celebration of cycling with several free activities at the park.
Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays from June 27-Sept. 14.
The Spirit of Music Garden blossoms into an 4,900-square-foot, open-air urban dance space with 44 different live bands. Free dance lessons are 6-7 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays and 4-5 p.m. on Sundays. Live music and dancing follows from 7:30-9:30 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays and 5-7 p.m. on Sundays.
Target Family Fun Festival
June 23–Aug. 24 from 10 a.m.-3 p.m.
Take your children out for an afternoon of Wiggleworms, Old Town School of Folk Music performances, a reading circle, family performances, activities zones and much more.