Chicago Riverwalk 2023 Summer Season Announced
DCASE Communications firstname.lastname@example.org
Chicago’s popular attraction invites locals and visitors to enjoy spectacular public art, music programming, dining, water activities, tours and more surrounded by amazing views
Public Art collection debuts “Kin Link” by Chicago Artist Leonard Suryajaya to the Riverwalk Banner exhibition
CHICAGO—Mayor Brandon Johnson and the Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events (DCASE) announce a slate of engaging summer arts and recreational programming taking place on the Chicago Riverwalk, a magnificent urban space and entertainment hub located on the south bank of the Chicago River. The award-winning, pedestrian-friendly Chicago Riverwalk stretches 1.25 miles from Lake Michigan to Lake Street offering restaurants, wineries and bars, live music and performances, public art, urban recreation and more.
Programming on the Chicago Riverwalk is presented by the City of Chicago and produced by DCASE in collaboration with the Department of Assets and Information (AIS), the Chicago Park District and cultural partners from around the city. Highlights of DCASE arts programming this summer include Sounds of the Riverwalk, a 9-week free music series offered select Sundays at 1pm, starting June 18 through early October featuring a variety of musicians from the Chicago Band Roster. Art on theMART, the largest digital art projection in the world, covering over 2.5 acres of theMART’s river-facing façade, announces two new commissions this summer. The Chicago Black Dance Legacy Project's The Big Bang: Movement Theory + the Black Dancing Body and Building Light, by Gensler will be showcased throughout the summer. Make Music Chicago brings musical activities for all ages and skill levels and the family-friendly Chicago Park District Fishing Program returns with interactive fishing and education opportunities. Details below and at ChicagoRiverwalk.us.
A new Riverwalk Banner activates the latest series of five large-scale paintings near Michigan Avenue later this summer. Kin Link by Leonard Suryajaya is a vision of an immigrant’s experience to the city through a queer lens that offers and creates space for differing patterns and identities to exist in cohesion. It considers the overlapping of family with kinship, and the knotty relationship between home and diaspora spanning from Indonesia to the United States.
Vendors in the Riverwalk concession program include Urban Kayaks, Taco Rio, Island Party Hut, Beat Kitchen on the River, Northman Beer & Cider Garden, Chicago Brewhouse, Mercury Cruise lines & Chicago’s First Lady Cruises, City Winery, O’Brien’s Riverwalk Café, Coco Bar Downtown Docks, Chicago Electric Boat Company, Chicago Cycle Boats, Sweet Home Gelato, Tiny Tapp & Café, and Brews and Bites by Chiya Chia.
To increase the diversity of vendors, the Department of Assets, Information and Services completed a public procurement process to solicit small minority and women-owned businesses to operate concessions on the Chicago Riverwalk. The goal of the procurement was to provide concessions program opportunities to small businesses reflective of the cultural diversity and neighborhoods of the City of Chicago on the Chicago Riverwalk. The Chicago Riverwalk Community Marketplace is located between Michigan Ave. and Wabash Ave. For the 2023 season, three vendors were added: ChiBoys Café, a new concept brought to the Marketplace by ChiBoys; Colores Mexicano’s Coco Bar which features Latin American cuisine; and Brews and Bites by Chiya Chai which is scheduled to open later this year.
Chicago Riverwalk 2023 Summer Programming and Public Art
Sounds of the Riverwalk
Starting June 18 through early October, select Sundays at 1pm
The Confluence (between Franklin and Lake Streets)
“Sounds of the Riverwalk” is returning for its third year and will feature a 9-week music series featuring musicians from the Chicago Band Roster. These free, public performances will start June 18 and run through early October. Concerts take place on Sundays at 1pm at the Confluence, located between Franklin and Lake Streets on the Chicago Riverwalk. A full schedule of events can be found at ChicagoRiverwalk.us.
- Jun. 18 Ana Everling & Edinho Gerber
- Jun. 25 Greasy Gravy
- Jul. 9 Katherine Davis & Friends
- Jul. 23 Mike Dangeroux
- Jul. 30 Dawn Xiana Moon
- Aug. 13 David Chiriboga Spanish Guitar & Flamenco
- Aug. 27 Eiren Caffall
- Sept. 17 Bonzo Squad
- Oct. 1 Attack the Sound
Art on theMART (AOTM)
On view twice nightly
June 8 - September 13: 9pm & 10:30pm
September 14 - December 30: 7:30pm & 8:30pm
The Jetty (between Wells and Franklin Streets)
Art on theMART is the world's largest digital public art projection, displaying original video works across the 2.5-acre riverside façade of theMART in downtown Chicago every night from April – December. With a yearly program of site-specific commissions, AOTM lends visibility and recognition to a wide variety of artists locally, nationally and internationally.
This spring's programming launched with a new commission by internationally renowned artist Derrick Adams. Funtime Unicorn: Ruby Rides Through Four Seasons builds upon Adams’s famed Funtime Unicorn project celebrating Black joy, love and play. The animation–realized in collaboration with The Channel–unfolds across the four seasons and begins with Ruby in a playground before she embarks on adventures through joyful dreamscapes. Projections are on view nightly through July 5, 2023.
Art on theMART introduces two new commissions for the summer season. One, of which kicked off on June 8 with the projection, Building Light, by Gensler, the largest global design and architecture firm. The launch of the reimagining of THEMART, also spearheaded by Gensler, will coincide with this latest commission. Beginning July 6, The Chicago Black Dance Legacy Project, an organization celebrating and archiving Black dance, will feature ten diverse local dance companies in a new commission titled The Big Bang: Movement Theory + the Black Dancing Body that will run through September 13. Details at artonthemart.com.
Make Music Chicago
Wednesday, June 21, 2-6pm
Various Riverwalk locations
Join Classical Music Chicago for their annual presentation of Make Music Chicago on the Riverwalk that includes interactive/participatory events. Come listen to bluegrass and folk bands, showtunes and kids DJs, take a free guitar, kazoo, harmonica, steel drum or samba drum lesson, or bring your ukulele for a uke jam. All ages welcome; a complete schedule of events can be found at makemusicchicago.org.
Every June 21st, Make Music Chicago brings together Chicagoans to celebrate their ability to make music, regardless of age, ability or preferred musical style. Unlike a typical music festival, Make Music Chicago is open to anyone who wants to take part. Every kind of musician—young and old, amateur and professional—takes to the streets, parks, plazas, and porches of Chicago to share music of all genres with friends, neighbors and strangers. All of it is free and open to the public.
Chicago Park District Fishing Program
Starting June 29, Thursdays - Sundays from 10am-4pm
The Jetty (between Wells and Franklin Streets)
Join the Chicago Park District (CPD) on the Riverwalk to learn about what makes the Chicago River so incredible in this free family program. Located at “The Jetty” (between Wacker and Wells St) this program offers visitors the opportunity to catch a fish, hold a beaver skull, and learn about the ecosystem of the river hidden beneath the surface. Visitors will take part in outdoor education activities and learn about the role the river has played in Chicago’s history and future. New for 2023, is the “Shed Aquarium” an onsite storage facility with interactive offerings, a fish tank, microscope, and interactive worm station. Chicago Park District’s team of educators will be on-site every Thursday - Sunday from 10am-4pm rain or shine through August 27th and Saturday-Sunday from 10am-4pm from September 2nd – October 15th, engaging Chicagoans and riverfront visitors in hands-on, spontaneous activities.
Now through September 3, 11:30am on Friday, Saturday and Sunday
Bridgehouse Museum Plaza
Enjoy the Riverwalk with a Chicago Greeter, a program of Choose Chicago celebrating 20 years of hosting visitors to Chicago. Locals and visitors alike can experience free one-hour walks leaving at 11:30am Friday, Saturday and Sunday from Bridgehouse Museum Plaza. Greeters highlight the architecture, history and places to eat and drink on the Chicago Riverwalk and more. chicagogreeter.com
The Riverwalk banner exhibition launched in 2017 as a bi-yearly program and will welcome a new installation Kin Link by Leonard Suryajaya in summer of 2023. Past artists include Candida Alvarez (2017-2019), Ebony G. Patterson (2019-2021), and Andrea Carlson (2021-2023).
Other public art installations on display at the Chicago Riverwalk include Echo Hecho Fresco by Alberto Aguilar at the Columbus underbridge, The People in Your Neighborhood by Dont Fret at The Confluence, The Radiance of Being mural by Kate Lynn Lewis at the Community Marketplace, as well as the Riverwalk Gateway by Ellen Lanyon, Allium by Carolyn Ottmers, and the Vietnam Veterans Memorial.
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About the Chicago Riverwalk
The Chicago Riverwalk provides a 1.25-mile continuous path along the Main Branch of the Chicago River from Lake Street to the Lakefront. The path is open from 6am to 11pm every day. For more information about the Chicago Riverwalk, participating vendors, and programming schedules, please visit ChicagoRiverwalk.us.
Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events
The City of Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events (DCASE) supports artists and cultural organizations, invests in the creative economy, and expands access and participation in the arts throughout Chicago’s 77 neighborhoods. As a collaborative cultural presenter, arts funder, and advocate for creative workers, our programs and events serve Chicagoans and visitors of all ages and backgrounds, downtown and in diverse communities across our city—to strengthen and celebrate Chicago. DCASE produces some of the city’s most iconic festivals, markets, events, and exhibitions at the Chicago Cultural Center, Millennium Park, and in communities across the city—serving a local and global audience of 25 million people. The Department offers cultural grants and resources, manages public art, supports TV and film production and other creative industries, and permits special events throughout Chicago. For details, visit Chicago.gov/DCASE and stay connected via our newsletters and social media.