Chicago Alfresco: Explore Chicago’s Local Gems This Summer 

Photograph by Jennifer Griffin

As the sun emerges from behind the clouds, the city of Chicago comes alive with a collection of outdoor activities and events. This summer, experience the diverse atmosphere of the Windy City as it offers seasonal markets, art festivals, and parades! From cultural processions to alluring artwork and lively markets, Chicago offers a dynamic range of alfresco experiences that are sure to captivate both locals and visitors. So, grab your sunglasses, put on your walking shoes, and join us as we discover the world of Chicago Alfresco, where the city’s rich culture and community spirit take center stage!

Markets & Fests 

Argyle Night Market in Uptown | Thursday Evenings in July and August 

Since 2013, the Argyle Night Market has spotlighted Uptown’s Argyle St., a block celebrated for its predominantly Asian flair. With plenty of food from nearby restaurants, vendors and art, music and dance, the festival shows off the vibrancy of the Asia on Argyle corridor. In partnership with the 20th District of the Chicago Police Department, The Uptown United and the 48th Ward office will host Argyle Night Market.

Glenwood Avenue Arts Fest in Rogers Park | August 18th – 20th 

The free Glenwood Avenue Arts Fest brings together more than 100 artists to Rogers Park on the Far North Side. As visitors stroll along the cobblestone streets of the Glenwood Avenue Arts District, they can purchase works directly from its creators, see art made in the open studios and enjoy street food and craft beer. Now in its 23rd year, the festival also features live music on two stages, including the Friday Night Cobblestone Jam, which kicks off the weekend. 

Chinatown Summer Fair | July 29th – 30th 

Chinatown’s signature event is an annual highlight for lovers of Asian culture from across the Chicago area! The Chinatown Summer Fair kicks off with a lion dance procession down Wentworth Ave. from Cermak Ave. to 24th Pl. and continues throughout the weekend with a K-Pop dance competition, kung fu demonstrations, a children’s area and, of course, plenty of food from the nearby restaurants. The Taste of Chinatown began in 1979 and is now an event that more than 40,000 people attend annually.

The Annual African Festival of the Arts in Washington Park | September 1st – 4th

On Labor Day Weekend, Washington Park will become transformed into a replica of an African village during the Annual African Festival of the Arts. Presented by Africa International House USA, this celebration of Black global cultures represents the entirety of the African Diaspora. It goes beyond the typical Chicago street fest offerings of local food, vendors and cultural entertainment. In addition, there will be pavilions and spaces devoted to authors, filmmakers, fine arts, quilts and wellness!


Bud Biliken Parade in Bronzeville | August 12th

For 94 years, the Bud Biliken Parade has served as an expression of Black pride on Chicago’s South Side. It is the second largest parade in the nation, behind only the Rose Bowl parade. It runs two miles down Dr. Martin Luther King Dr. and features more than 200 marching bands, tumblers, dance teams and more. Bud Biliken is a fictional character, created as a guardian of children by the influential Chicago Defender newspaper. As befits its origins, the parade has a theme of education and empowerment. It awards $25,000 in scholarships and donates 100,000 school supplies to kick off the following school year!

26th Street Mexican Independence Day Parade in Little Village | September 16th

For the first time, the 26th Street Mexican Independence Day Parade will be held on the actual Mexican Independence Day: September 16th. This year’s theme is “Tu Mexico, Tu Chicago,” with floats that represent the traditions, mariachi music, and folk dancing! All of Mexico’s 32 states will be intertwined to impress a crowd of more than 400,000 people! The parade starts at noon underneath the Little Village Arch on 26th St. and Albany Ave., and spans 2.5 miles. 

Chicago Alfresco is part of a broader city initiative to open streets and create places for dining, public life, community, arts, culture, walking and biking.

More neighborhood inspiration can be found on

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