2020 Festival & Event Dates

DCASE Homepage  >  Festival and Event Dates


(event highlights only, subject to change)


Year of Chicago Music

January–December 2020

Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot and the Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events have designated 2020 as the “Year of Chicago Music.” The citywide, year-long initiative includes the launch of a marketing campaign for Chicago music, financial grants for music projects, an industry dialog around inclusion and equity, and a call for civic, philanthropic, arts, and business leaders to support the music industry.

Chicago Cultural Center Programming



Originally completed in 1897 as Chicago’s first central library, the stunning landmark Chicago Cultural Center is home to two magnificent stained-glass domes, as well as a year-round schedule of free art exhibitions, performances, tours, lectures, films, family activities, music and more.

Maxwell Street Market

Sundays, 7am–3pm
800 S. Desplaines St.


You never know what you’re going to find at the historic Maxwell Street Market’s eclectic mix of foods and finds—including handmade crafts, housewares, clothing, fresh produce, garden plants, collectibles and rare items, plus live music, family-friendly activities and the best, authentic Mexican- and Latin-style street food in Chicago.

Under the Picasso

Daley Center, 50 W. Washington St.


The Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events presents FREE cultural programs year round weekdays at Noon at the Daley Civic Center. 


1st & 3rd Fridays
(Chicago Cultural Center)
1st & 3rd Saturdays
(Garfield Park Conservatory)
11am Winter, Spring & Fall


With engaging music and dance performances in a kid–friendly setting, the free Juicebox programs are geared for toddlers, but enjoyable for the whole family.

NKAME: A Retrospective of Cuban Printmaker Belkis Ayon (1967–1999)

February 29–May 24, 2020
Chicago Cultural Center


The first U.S. retrospective of the work of Belkis Ayon, the late Cuban visual artists who mined the founding myth of the Afro-Cuban fraternal society of Abukua to create an independent and powerful visual iconography. Curated by Cristina Vives and organized by the Belkis Ayon Estate, Havana, Cuba, with the Station Museum of Contemporary Art.

22nd Annual Chicago Kids and Kites Festival

Cricket Hill in Lincoln Park


Up, up and away. Kids of all ages will get swept up by this timeless spring tradition. Free kite kits are provided for children to decorate (while supplies last) along with other family activities such as professional kite flying demonstrations, face painting and balloon artists.

Chicago City Markets

May–October 2020
Daley Plaza Farmers Market opens May 7, 2020
Daley Plaza and citywide locations


Across Chicago at locations downtown and throughout the city’s neighborhoods, the markets managed by the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events (DCASE) sell fresh fruits, vegetables plants and flowers. Some neighborhood markets also feature music programming, prepared foods and local artisan (non-food) vendors.

5th Annual Chicago House Music Conference & Festival

May 21–24, 2020
Millennium Park



DJs and live performances showcase the various sounds and styles of house music, the musical form born in Chicago that has gone on to revolutionize dance music internationally.

Chicago's Memorial Day Parade and Wreath Laying Ceremony

May 23, 2020
State St. from Lake St. to Van Buren St.


The City of Chicago’s Memorial Day Parade honors all men and women who made the ultimate sacrifice in defense of our country. The parade is preceded by a Wreath Laying Ceremony at the eternal flame on Daley Plaza.

Chicago Riverwalk Summer Programming

Late May–October 2020
Chicago Riverwalk, Lake Shore Dr. to Lake St.

From daytime fishing to evening fireworks, the Chicago Riverwalk offers a full slate of free summer fun along the 1.25-mile active waterfront environment and cultural destination in the heart of the city. The Chicago Riverwalk is presented by the City of Chicago with programming produced by the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events in collaboration with the Chicago Department of Fleet and Facility Management, Choose Chicago, the Chicago Park District and the vendors and boat tour operators along the Chicago Riverwalk.

35th Chicago Gospel Music Festival

May 27–30, 2020
Millennium Park and Chicago Cultural Center


Celebrating the music style’s deep Chicago roots with traditional choirs and contemporary urban gospel music, the Chicago Gospel Music Festival features local and national artists at the largest free, outdoor gospel music festival of its kind.

37th Annual Chicago Blues Festival

June 5–7, 2020
Millennium Park


With a diverse lineup celebrating the Chicago Blues’ past, present and future, the Chicago Blues Festival shares the extolled Chicago-born music tradition with the world and shines a spotlight on its contributions to hip hop, R&B, rock, pop and more.

Millennium Park Summer Music & Film Series

June–August, 2020
Music Series: Select Mondays & Thursdays
Film Series: Tuesdays
Millennium Park, Jay Pritzker Pavilion


Grab a seat in the pavilion or bring a picnic for the Great Lawn and enjoy the free outdoor movies and concerts at Chicago’s architectural gem – the Jay Pritzker Pavilion.

Millennium Park Summer Workouts

June–August, 2020
Millennium Park, Great Lawn


Jumpstart your day with tai chi, yoga, Pilates and Zumba® classes on Millennium Park’s Great Lawn. Grant support provided by the McDonald’s Active Lifestyles Endowment, managed by the Millennium Park Foundation.

Art and Race Matters: The Career of Robert Colescott

June 20, 2020—September 27, 2020
Chicago Cultural Center


As the first comprehensive retrospective of Robert Colescott (1925-2009), one of America’s most compelling and controversial artists, this exhibition will present 80 total works throughout 53 years of his career that both bring to the surface and challenge racial stereotypes. The exhibition is curated by Lowery Simms and organized by the Contemporary Arts Center, Cincinnati OH.

24th Annual Chicago SummerDance

June 25–August 22, 2020
Grant Park, Spirit of the Music Garden and other Chicago Park district locations


Swing, waltz, cha-cha...or simply enjoy the music at the biggest outdoor social dancing series in the United States. Dancers of all ages and skill levels are invited to take part in introductory, one-hour dance lessons by professional instructors followed by live music and dancing. The series culminates at the SummerDance Celebration, highlighting the city’s diverse dance community in Millennium Park on Saturday, August 22, 2020.

40th Annual Taste of Chicago

July 8–12, 2020
Grant Park


A cultural experience for all your senses, Taste of Chicago is the nation’s premier free-admission food festival showcasing the diversity of Chicago’s dining scene, alongside a smorgasbord of cooking demonstrations, music concerts, dance performances, art activations and family fun.

62nd Annual Chicago Air and Water Show

August 15 & 16, 2020
North Avenue Beach


Featuring military and civilian flight aerobatics, historic aircraft, simulated water rescues and parachute teams, the Chicago Air and Water Show is one of the largest and longest–running free admission events of its kind.

42nd Annual Chicago Jazz Festival

August 29–September 6, 2020
Millennium Park, Chicago Cultural Center and other citywide locations


The Chicago Jazz Festival showcases the greatest jazz artists from Chicago and around the world across the city during new, extended festival dates. The Chicago Jazz Festival is produced by the Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events and programmed by the Jazz Institute of Chicago.

22nd Annual World Music Festival Chicago

September 11–27, 2020
Millennium Park, Chicago Cultural Center and other citywide locations


Enjoy global grooves from around the world at the city-wide World Music Festival Chicago, featuring award-winning artists and ensembles representing countries and regions of the world at venues across Chicago.

¡Súbelo! – A Celebration of Pan Latin Music and Culture

September 11 & 12, 2020
Millennium Park


Celebrate the diverse music genres and sounds of the Latinx community from Chicago and around the world.

107th Christmas Tree and Holiday Celebrations

November–December 2020
Millennium Park


Celebrate the holiday season at the official Chicago Christmas Tree Lighting, shop for creative gifts at the Millennium Park Art Market, sing holiday favorites at Caroling at Cloud Gate on Friday evenings and glide across the McCormick Tribune Ice Rink.

McCormick Tribune Ice Rink

Mid-November 2020—Mid-March 2021
Millennium Park


Swish, twirl and glide at the McCormick Tribune Ice Rink, a Chicago winter tradition for over a decade that draws over 100,000 skaters annually. Skating is free, with skate rentals available for a fee. Free skating lessons are offered throughout the season. Grant support provided by the McDonald’s Active Lifestyles Endowment, managed by the Millennium Park Foundation. 

Millennium Park Art Market

November 20–22, 2020
Millennium Park, Chase Promenade North


Shop one-of-a-kind items, including jewelry, fashion, painting, sculpture, prints, drawings and more created by over 150 student artists.

Caroling at Cloud Gate

Fridays, November 27–December 18, 2020
Millennium Park, Cloud Gate aka "The Bean"


Bundle up and belt out some holiday classics as local choral groups lead hundreds of celebrants in song at these festive part concerts, part sing-alongs.


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