May 1, 2019

Mayor Emanuel, Chicago Park District Kick Off 7th Season of Night Out in the Parks

Mayor's Press Office    312.744.3334

Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Chicago Park District Superintendent and CEO Michael P. Kelly, along with local arts organizations, performers and community members, today announced the seventh summer season of Night Out in the Parks at Ellis Park. The 2019 Night Out in the Parks series will bring more than 1,200 world-class events to each of Chicago’s 77 neighborhoods over the summer.

This year, more than 140 artists and neighborhood arts organizations will enliven city parks and communities through the family-friendly park event series. Nearly all Night Out in the Parks events are offered admission free.

"After seven years, Night Out in the Parks is back again to welcome Chicagoans and visitors alike to save a trip downtown and visit their local park to enjoy the world-class culture, art, and entertainment this city has to offer," said Mayor Emanuel.  "Whether it's a music festival, Theater on the Lake or Movies in the Parks, there will be hundreds of free quality events and performances for families to enjoy every night and in every neighborhood throughout this summer."

Launched in 2013, Night Out in the Parks is a key component of the Chicago Cultural Plan and part of Mayor Emanuel’s citywide vision for art and culture. With the continued support from the City of Chicago and our sister agencies, especially the Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events (DCASE), Night Out in the Parks has become a signature park program.

“We are extremely excited to announce the seventh season of Night Out in the Parks to Chicago’s neighborhoods,” said Chicago Park District General Superintendent and CEO Michael P. Kelly. “Through these incredible partnerships, we are invigorating our neighborhood parks with an impressive caliber of cultural experiences for the entire family.”

This year, Night Out in the Parks welcomes 60 new artists and cultural organizations, including:

  • Eighth Blackbird, a Chicago-based four-time GRAMMY award-winning new music sextet.
  • The Chicago Fringe Opera with a contemporary adaptation of Rossini’s opera "The Barber of Seville."
  • Chicago Ideas, a citywide initiative to create platforms at 10 city parks for spontaneous performances, town hall meetings and more.

Neighborhood audiences will be treated to outdoor movies, concerts, performances and festivals that reflect and celebrate Chicago’s rich tapestry of culture, with a particular focus on the city’s theater community. 

Mayor Rahm Emanuel, the Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events and the League of Chicago Theaters has named 2019 the Year of Chicago Theater, (YOCT), a citywide celebration of Chicago’s vibrant theater scene. With 40 new theater partners, this year’s Mayor’s Night Out in the Parks series will reflect Chicago’s rich and burgeoning theatrical community.

The full list of programming is on The Night Out mobile application My Chi Parks™, available to download on Apple and Android devices, makes planning exciting and affordable summer outings an ease. Users can browse through events by date, location and interest to discover what interesting activities are happening in a park near you. The application has more than 145,000 users and remains the most downloaded municipal app in the nation. More information can also be found by visiting or call 312.742.PLAY.

This year’s offerings include events and performances by new and returning partners, including:

Jabberwocky Puppet Parade

June 19 – July 24

Jabberwocky Marionettes presents a live-action puppet show for all-ages performed for an early summer evening at the Chicago Parks. This show follows the adventures of the Dart Frog Puppet Band, Las Ranitas Chiquitas as they go travel the world. New experiences await each frog on their next journey in this musical education show. Learn the basics of melody and rhythm with the Frogs! Puppet characters feature a diverse cast of creatures in several breathtaking sets, celebrating nature, habitats and make-believe. This outdoor event unfolds at Carver, Gately, Olympia, Veterans Memorial and Maggie Daley parks with T-Rexes and incredible theatric effects and puppets.

Movies in the Parks

June 1 – September 1

Movies in the Parks returns for a 19th season full of blockbuster outdoor entertainment on warm summer evenings. This year’s more than 200 screenings will fill more than 160 local parks with everything from classics from the Golden Age of Hollywood to retro childhood favorites and the hottest family-friendly favorites from recent years. Multilingual offerings include selections from the Latino Film Fest, in partnership with the International Latino Cultural Center and French cinema classics about Paris, in partnership with the Cultural Service at the Consulate General of France in Chicago. Movie musicals will take center stage up and down the lakefront, as the Lakeside Cultural Series tips its hat to the 2019 Year of Chicago Theatre. Movies in the Parks kicks off June 10, running through August 31.

Movies in the Parks is presented by T-Mobile. All movies begin at dusk, weather permitting. Call 312.742.1134 for daily listings and weather-related cancelations.

Chicago Onscreen

August 26 - 31

The Chicago Onscreen Local Film Showcase is back with a fresh batch of locally-made and Chicago-focused films in nine parks across the city, August 26-31. This year’s thirteen official selections include shorts and feature-length films, documentaries, narratives and animated films. From the street-level realities of Chicago as we know it to the faraway reaches of outer space, this showcase puts the incredible talents of Chicago’s filmmakers on display in free, outdoor screenings, making hometown films accessible to park audiences throughout the city.

Toddlers, Tunes and Turtles

June 27 – August 27

Now in its 14th year, Toddlers, Tunes and Turtles invite our youngest explorers to visit the parks and explore! This outdoor nature program encourages families to enjoy the park together. Meet animal experts who will bring a variety of live animals including frogs, snakes, and of course, turtles. Musicians perform family-friendly music while children (and adults) sing along. There are also instruments for the kids to play with as well as puzzles, books, blocks, fishing and more!


June 30

An all-age celebration of LGBTQIA existence and resilience at hosted Ping Tom Park with live music, DJs, performances, art installations, and more!

TIP (Teens in the Park) On Tour

July 27 & August 17

Teens in the Park provides showcasing opportunities for emerging teen artists (singers, dancers, poets and musicians). The events are open to the public and help our artists grow as live performers. Our alumni have gone on to perform at events like Taste of Chicago and more!

Sam Trump: The Music of Nat King Cole

September 8, October 20 & December 1

Trumpeter & Vocal Sensation, Sam Trump leads Chicago's King Orchestra for a special performance-series featuring the music of Nat 'King' Cole. Complete with a 21-piece wind orchestra, this ensemble shares messages of warmth & harmony, while covering two distinctive Nat 'King' Cole albums. Music of Cole's era is imbued with wondrous vocals and harmonious strings that create a great sense of romantic nostalgia, and glow. The creative direction to reimagine this essence with a complete wind ensemble gives this concept a unique twist.

Peacebook Festival

September 13 - 27

Collaboraction's annual festival of theatre, dance and spoken word about peace in Chicago featuring pieces of seven minutes or less as well as free community meals, workshops and panels. This event will be hosted at Douglas, Hamilton and LaFollette parks and is presented as a part of the City of Chicago’s Year of Chicago Theatre. Check out more YOCT events at

The Rosina Project

August 3 & 4

"The Rosina Project" is a contemporary adaptation of Rossini’s opera "The Barber of Seville" that mixes Hip-Hop MCs, opera singers and street-dance artists with a live DJ and Beatboxer to perform an original female-driven story of empowerment and interracial friendship as an immersive house party for teens and older. Created by Chicago Fringe Opera, in association with BraveSoul Movement, and developed with support from the Pivot Arts Incubator Program. This event is hosted at Columbus, Senn and Palmer (Bertha Honore) parks and is presented as a part of the City of Chicago’ss Year of Chicago Theatre. Check out more YOCT events at

Chicago Shakespeare in the Parks Presents A Comedy of Errors

July 23-August 18

Join us for one of our city’s favorite summer traditions! Free performances of Shakespeare's comedy A Comedy of Errors will be touring in neighborhood parks across the city. Now in its eighth year, the FREE FOR ALL Chicago Shakespeare in the Parks tour heads out for another incredible season. This event is presented as a part of the City of Chicago’s Year of Chicago Theatre. Check out more YOCT events at

Sandbox Symphony IV

June 22, July 25 & August 10

Brother El's Sandbox Symphony is returning to Oakwood Beach and debuting at Ogden and Loyola parks! It is designed to encourage a more connected, informed, and healthy environment stimulating creativity. This family-friendly event features live electronic music, acoustic music, local visual artists and artisans doing live demonstrations. Sandbox Symphony will also house a mini pop up farmers’ market, nutritious snacks, a mobile toy creation cart, film screenings, and more.

Summer Dance in the Parks

June 26 - August 21

In collaboration with the Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events, residents will enjoy a free dance lesson, then dance the night away.

Power in Pride

May 11, 18 and 15

About Face Theatre presents Power in Pride at Anderson, Humboldt and Washington parks. This performance and discussion program is appropriate for youth and adults. Power in Pride features LGBTQ folks of color in a dynamic performance, sharing their true stories about mental health, relationships, gender identity, family, love, and more through spoken word, dance, and stories. Each event includes refreshments, community building and conversation with the audience. This program will highlight a range of LGBTQIA resources throughout Chicago's neighborhoods. This event is presented as a part of the City of Chicago’s Year of Chicago Theatre. Check out more YOCT events at