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Moving To Chicago this Summer? 10 Fun Festivals and Events to Experience Chicago Culture

June 4, 2024 | Lifestyle

Moving to Chicago this summer promises an exciting adventure. This is the time of year when everyone comes out to play, and the city is buzzing with special events. These include celebrating the 20th anniversary of Millennium Park, a hub of art, music, and community gatherings. The park is also renowned for its famous reflective sculpture “The Bean,” which is a nonstop attraction for locals and visitors alike. Also, this summer, the Chicago Air and Water Show will again dazzle audiences with its breathtaking aerial displays and aquatic spectacles over Lake Michigan

Another locals’ favorites is the exciting Chicago Air and Water Show. It will thrill you with breathtaking aerial stunts over Lake Michigan. Whether exploring historic landmarks, enjoying world-class dining, or soaking in the festive atmosphere, Chicago is an incredible place to call home and create unforgettable memories. From its stunning skyline to iconic neighborhoods, Chicago offers a unique blend of urban charm and cultural diversity. Chicago provides a dynamic backdrop for anyone looking to start anew in one of America’s greatest cities.

What You Need to Know Before Moving to Chicago During Summer

Moving to Chicago during the summer can be both exciting and challenging. The city’s warm months are filled with activities, festivals, and a lively atmosphere. However, there are also practical considerations to keep in mind. The summer heat in Chicago can be intense, with temperatures often soaring into the 90s and high humidity levels making it feel even hotter. However, bustling summer events can also increase traffic congestion. Particularly on weekends and during major festivals. Here’s what you need to know to make your move to the Windy City as smooth as possible.

Chicago’s Summer Housing Market

The summer season is one of the busiest times for the real estate market across the country, particularly in Chicago. Moving during the winter can be difficult due to the weather, so families with children often choose to relocate in the summer. Whether you’re renting or buying a new home, competition can be intense. It’s important to start your housing search early and to work with a local real estate agent who knows the ins and outs of Chicago’s diverse neighborhoods. 

Neighborhoods and Living Options In Chicago 

The Windy City boasts a variety of neighborhoods, each with its unique charm and amenities. Popular areas for newcomers include Lincoln Park, Lakeview, and Wicker Park, which are known for their vibrant communities and proximity to downtown. If you’re interested in moving to one of Chicago’s beautiful suburbs, check out Naperville and St.Charles.

You’re Going to Love Summertime in Chicago 

Once settled in, remember that summertime in Chicago is synonymous with festivals and summer fun. Many events offer free admission, like the Chicago Air and Water Show, but you may need to purchase food and drink tickets separately, as is the case with Taste of Chicago. Still, there are plenty of free festivals and events to choose from in and around Chicago.

Especially exciting, this year, Millennium Park is celebrating its 20th anniversary with special events, concerts, and exhibitions, making it a must-visit destination. The Taste of Chicago, Lollapalooza, and numerous street fairs will also add to this summer’s vibrant scene. 


Millennium Park 20th Anniversary Celebration

Date: July 18021, 2024

Where: Millennium Park

Tickets: FREE Admission

Website: Millennium Park 20th Anniversary Celebration

The 2024 summer events at Millennium Park in Chicago are endless. No matter the day or time, you’ll always find something to do. This year marks the park’s 20th anniversary celebrations, including a four-day festival offering a variety of family-friendly activities, new public art, dance performances, and concerts. The Millennium Park Summer Film Series will offer free outdoor movie screenings every Tuesday from July 16 to August 20. This year’s films include classics like “E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial” and “Jurassic Park,” as well as more recent favorites like “Coco” and “Barbie.”​

Chicago Pride Parade 

People marching in a PRIDE parade with colorful balloons that spell "Pride"

Date: Sunday, June 30, 2024

Time: 11 AM.

Tickets: FREE Admission

Website: Pride Chicago

Save the date for the monumental Chicago Pride Parade on June 30, 2024. It’s a vibrant, joyous affair that draws hundreds of thousands of attendees each year, creating an atmosphere of unity and celebration that is truly unmatched. This year’s parade begins at Montrose Avenue and Broadway in the Uptown neighborhood and proceeds south to Diversey Parkway and Sheridan Road. The Chicago Pride Parade is one of the largest Pride parades in the world. 

Chicago Blues Festival

Date: June 6 – 9, 2024

Where: Millennium Park and beyond

Tickets: FREE Admission

Website: Chicago Blues Festival

As the birthplace of the blues, Chicago celebrates this musical genre with the annual Chicago Blues Festival. Today, it is one of the world’s largest free blues festivals, making it a legendary event in the Windy City. Every year, over 500,000 blues enthusiasts converge on Chicago’s Millennium Park and various venues throughout the city to enjoy several days of outstanding performances. The festival is renowned for its diverse lineup, featuring iconic musicians, emerging artists, and local talent.

Millennium Park Summer Film Series

Woman sitting in camping chair watching movie at open air cinema

Date: Tuesdays, July 16 – August 20, 2024

Where: Millennium Park | Jay Pritzker Pavilion

Tickets: Free admission  

Website: Millennium Park Summer Film

The Chicago Summer Film Festival in Millennium Park is a popular annual event that showcases a diverse selection of films in an outdoor setting, attracting locals and visitors alike. Held in the heart of downtown Chicago, the festival takes place at the Jay Pritzker Pavilion. It features films ranging from classic favorites to contemporary hits on a state-of-the-art, 40-foot LED screen against the city skyline backdrop. 

The festival features a mix of classic films, family-friendly movies, and recent releases. This year’s lineup includes blockbusters, award-winners, family classics, and cult favorites curated by some of the city’s top film festivals as part of Millennium Park’s 20th Anniversary Summer Season.

Chicago SummerDance

When: Select Dates, June 15 – September 8, 2024

Where: Citywide in the neighborhoods and Grant Park

Tickets: FREE Admission

Website: Chicago Summer Dance 

Get moving at Chicago SummerDance, a series of outdoor dance events held in Grant Park and various neighborhood parks throughout the city. The SummerDance program offers free dance lessons, live music, and dancing under the stars, from salsa and swing to tango and Bollywood. It’s a great way to enjoy music, learn new dance styles, and engage with the community. 

Chicago Air and Water Show

Airplane Navy Blue Angels jets flying in the blue sky.

When: August 10 & 11, 2024

(Rehearsal on Friday, August 9)

Where: Lake Michigan | North Ave. Beach 

Tickets: FREE Admission

Website: Chicago Air and Water Show 

The Chicago Air and Water Show has been held annually since 1959, making it one of the largest and oldest free-admission air and water exhibitions in the United States. Spectators can enjoy thrilling acrobatic performances by military and civilian aircraft and water stunts by the U.S. Navy Blue Angels and other teams. Be sure to arrive early to secure your spot! 

Taste of Chicago

Top view of Chicago pizza. Woman hands cutting Chicago style deep dish Italian cheese pizza with tomato sauce and beef meet

When: Sept. 6 – 8, 2024

Where: Grant Park, Chicago, Illinois

Tickets: Free Admission  

Website: Taste of Chicago 2024

The Taste of Chicago began in 1980 and has become a beloved annual tradition. It showcases the best of the city’s food and culture, and for more than 40 years, attendees have come from far and wide to attend this one-of-a-kind festival—the event attracts over a million visitors annually. The Taste of Chicago includes a diverse mix of national and international artists at free nightly concerts, cooking demonstrations, family-friendly activities, and more! Tickets for food and beverages are available at the festival.

Chicagoland Dance Festival 

When: August 16-18, 2024

Where: Crowne Plaza Chicago O’Hare

Tickets: Spectator Passes for non-dancers are purchased on-site for $10 per day during these hours: Friday, from 1 PM – 11 PM | Saturday, from 9 AM – 6 PM | Sunday, from 9 AM – 4 PM

Website: Chicagoland Dance Festival 

If you love dancing and country music, save the date for the Chicagoland Country and Swing Dance Festival, which will be held in August at Chicago O’Hare. Country swing dance originated in the United States. This lively and popular social dance style combines elements of traditional country and swing dance with energetic movements, spins, and dips, often performed in country music. The festival also serves as a qualifying event for the World Championships of Country Dance.

Grant Park (Classical) Music Festival

Hands of the man playing the cello

Date: June 12 – August 17, 2024

Where: Millennium Park

Tickets: FREE Admission

Website: Classical Music Schedule

The Grant Park Music Festival is celebrating its 90th season and will feature over 30 performances showcasing the world-class Grant Park Orchestra at the Pritzker Pavilion in Millennium Park. The lineup includes free classical concerts with a state-of-the-art acoustic system against the stunning backdrop of the Chicago skyline. This year’s performances will feature renowned conductors and musicians and include four world-premiere works by Chicago composers.

Chicago Summer Opera

Session 1: June 20 – July 14, 2024

Session 2: July 16 – August 11, 2024

Tickets: $28-$40

Website: Chicago Summer Opera

Get ready for an unforgettable experience at Chicago Summer Opera, known for showcasing emerging talent who represent some of the best young opera singers and musicians on the verge of professional careers. These performers bring fresh energy and passion as they bring classic works by Mozart and Handel and modern pieces by Menotti and Britten to life on stage. There is something for every opera enthusiast, from classic works by Mozart and Handel to contemporary pieces by Menotti and Britten.

Weather and Climate in Chicago

Summers are typically warm and humid, with temperatures ranging from the mid-70s to mid-80s. It’s essential to prepare for occasional heatwaves and sudden thunderstorms. Be sure to stay energized on moving day by wearing light, breathable clothing and packing plenty of snacks and water in a cooler.  

Getting Around in Chicago

Chicago’s public transportation system, operated by the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA), includes buses and the ‘L’ train network, making it easy to get around without a car. However, if you plan to drive, learn the city’s commute and traffic patterns. And like most big cities, it’s often a challenge to find parking, especially in popular areas.

Convenient Chicago Metro Self Storage Facilities

Moving to a new city is an exciting opportunity, and Metro’s expert and knowledgeable storage teams are here to help you make your transition more manageable. Our Chicago-Area storage facilities feature all the amenities to keep your move on track and within budget with features like these and more!

  • 24-Hour Video Surveillance
  • Month-to-Month Leases
  • Motorcycle Storage
  • Online Payment Options
  • Deliveries Accepted 
  • Well-Lit Premises

Since opening our first storage facility in Chicago 50 years ago, Metro Self Storage has become one of the country’s most respected storage providers. Visit Metro Self Storage to learn more about your big city storage options.