The Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events produces and promotes festivals along the lakefront, the downtown area, and throughout the city. Major Festivals draw millions of people each year to Chicago.
The following festivals are presented by the City of Chicago:
The Chicago Air and Water Show is the the largest FREE show of its kind in the United States. The show can be viewed along the lakefront from Fullerton to Oak Street, with North Avenue Beach as the focal point.
The Chicago Blues Festival is the largest free blues festival in the world and remains the largest of Chicago's Music Festivals. During three days on five stages, more than half a million blues fans prove that Chicago is the "Blues Capital of the World."
The Chicago Gospel Music Festival has welcomed such performers as Grammy Award Winners - Queen of Gospel Music - Albertina Walker and Shirley Caesar, Fred Hammond, Hezekiah Walker, Byron Cage, Donnie McClurkin, Kirk Franklin, The Rance Allen Group, The Mighty Clouds of Joy, The Clark Sisters, Donald Lawrence and Company, Tye Tribbett & G.A., Marvin Sapp, CeCe Winans, The Williams Brothers, Mary Mary, dozens of Chicagoland artists and so many more.
For more than 30 years, the Chicago Jazz Festival has been a Labor Day weekend tradition. Know for its artistic creativity, the Chicago Jazz Festival showcases Chicago’s vast jazz talent alongside national and international jazz artists.
Chicago Kids and Kites Festival
Chicago Kids and Kites Festival is a fun-filled day to celebrate the joys of being a kid. From running around outdoors, flying FREE paper kites and enjoying family-focused programming including face painting, crafts, balloon artists and more.
One of Chicago’s most popular summer events, the annual Chicago Summer Dance is a free eleven‑week festival featuring one‑hour dance lessons by professional instructors, followed by two hours of live music and dancing in Grant Park. Chicago SummerDance highlights many different types of dance, including Latin, swing and steppin’, and ballroom/big band.
Taste of Chicago is the nation's premier outdoor food festival showcasing the diversity of Chicago's dining community. The delicious array of food served at Taste of Chicago is complemented by music and exciting activities for the entire family. Every summer since 1980, Chicago's beautiful Grant Park on the city's magnificent lakefront has been home to the world's largest food festival.
The annual World Music Festival Chicago features dozens of free and ticketed concerts with international and local artists performing music from all over the globe at venues throughout the city, including the Chicago Cultural Center and Millennium Park.