Chicago

12 Chicago Music Festivals To Catch This Summer

Ozuna, Miranda Lambert, Wiz Khalifa, Phil Lesh, and Charli XCX walk into a stadium…

Lollapalooza
Lollapalooza
Lollapalooza

As the old joke goes, Chicago only has two seasons: winter… and construction. Though, in the past decade or two, we’d venture that another bonafide seasonal turn has established itself throughout the City of Big Shoulders. Yes, we’re talking about Festival Season-and, boy, it is ever back.

With the throes of a COVID-torn 2020 and 2021 behind us-for now, at least-summer in Chicago is up to its old tricks, bringing with it hundreds of top-notch musical artists proselytizing genres as far-flung as house, indie folk, classic rock, heavy metal, pop punk, hip hop, electronica, Americana, country, and just about everything in between. Do your homework and snag your tickets early because when September hits, you really don’t want to be the only fool at the dog park without a permanent wristband tan line.

Here’s everything you need to know about Chicago’s fully loaded 2022 music festival calendar. Go forth and rage.

ARC Music Festival
ARC Music Festival
ARC Music Festival

ARC Music Festival 2022

Where: Union Park
When: Friday, September 2 – Sunday, September 4
The lowdown: It’s no secret that house music was born right here in Chicago, so it only makes sense that this year’s Labor Day Weekend festivities revolve around the genre’s hard-driven beats and infectiously good vibes. Now in its second year, ARC presents three full days of world-class talent intent on getting your booty shaking, your head bopping, and your feet moving to the sounds of old-school dance brilliance bound to leave these newfangled EDM kids shaking in their Yeezys.
The lineup: Headliners include Adam Beyer X Cirez D, Carl Cox, Anna, Charlotte DeWitte Lane 8, Nora En Pure, Richie Hawtin, Fatboy Slim, Chris Lake, Kasablanca, Hiroko Yamamura, DJ Lady D, and Paco Osuna.
The cost: 3-day passes start at $289 per person. Buy yours here.

Hyde Park Summer Fest
Hyde Park Summer Fest
Hyde Park Summer Fest

Hyde Park Summer Fest

Where: Midway Plaisance
When: Saturday, June 11 – Sunday, June 12
The lowdown: Swapping beers for beats, what once was the Hyde Park Brew Fest has significantly upped the ante after its two-year COVID-induced sabbatical, returning to the South Side streets this June with a hefty roster of artists representing the worlds of hip hop, R&B, soul, and more. Stay tuned for additional artist announcements and other enticing details.
The lineup: Headliners include Busta Rhymes, Lupe Fiasco, BJ the Chicago Kid, Marsha Ambrosius, DJ Jazzy Jeff, Jay Illa, Malik Shabazz, Wyld Chyld, Deejay Alicia, Terry Hunter, and Boolu Master.
The cost: Single-day passes start at $69 per person. Buy yours here.

Lollapalooza
Lollapalooza
Lollapalooza

Lollapalooza

Where: Grant Park
When: Thursday, July 28 – Sunday, July 31
The lowdown: Another edition of this four-day bacchanal takes over Grant Park and the lives of every downtowner this July as Chicago’s premiere fest resumes its natural course. One of the world’s largest of its kind, Lolla 2021 managed to attract upwards of 385,000 enthusiastic concert-goers despite the pandemic’s unrelenting reign. This year, expect even more people plus hundreds of bands spread across a multitude of stages blasting everything from pop and hip-hop to hard rock and EDM.
The lineup: Headliners include Metallica, Dua Lipa, J. Cole, Green Day, Doja Cat, Machine Gun Kelly, Lil Baby, and Kygo. Additional acts feature Jane’s Addiction, Glass Animals, Billy Strings, Big Sean, The Kid Laroi, Jazmine Sullivan, Don Toliver, Charli XCX, Idles, Turnstile, Kaskade, Rezz, The Marías, Zhu, YG, Dominic Fike, King Princess, Wallows, Still Woozy, Girl in Red, Ashnikko, Denzel Curry, BLXST, Black Coffee, Duke Dumont, Polo & Pan, Liquid Stranger, CloZee, Willow, Royal Blood, Måneskin, Manchester Orchestra, Cordae, Local Natives, Tove Lo, and Caroline Polachek.
The cost: 4-day passes start at $350 per person. Buy yours here.

The Lyrical Lemonade Summer Smash Festival
The Lyrical Lemonade Summer Smash Festival
The Lyrical Lemonade Summer Smash Festival

Lyrical Lemonade Summer Smash Festival

Where: Douglass Park
When: Friday, June 17 – Sunday, June 19
The lowdown: Chicago’s biggest hip-hop fest touches down in Douglass Park for yet another three-day bash showcasing both giants of the rap game and young, up-and-coming artists. First held in Chicago in 2018, this newer entrant to Chicago’s crowded summer calendar quickly made a name for itself as a fan favorite, drawing a total of 90,000 attendees to their 2021 comeback.
The lineup: Headliners include Post Malone, Playboi Carti, Young Thug, Gunna, Wiz Khalifa, 2 Chainz, G Herbo, Ski Mask, Lil Skies, $NOT, Lil Tecca, Yeat, Dreezy, Rico Nasty, Bia, Polo G, and Trippie Redd, plus special guests and additional unannounced performers.
The cost: Ticket prices vary. Stay updated here.

North Coast Music Festival
North Coast Music Festival
North Coast Music Festival

North Coast Music Festival

Where: SeatGeek Stadium
When: Friday, September 2 – Sunday, September 4
The lowdown: Originally a multi-genre fest held in Union Park, this 12-year-old Labor Day tradition has leaned heavily on its EDM roots in recent years, while bouncing around from Northerly Island to its new sprawling home at Bridgeview’s SeatGeek Stadium.
The lineup: Select stages feature lineups from leading labels FISHER’s Catch & Release, Diplo’s Higher Ground, and Seven Lions’ Ophelia Records. Individual headliners include Armin van Buuren, ILLENIUM, Porter Robinson, Subtronics, Gryffin, Jai Wolf, Madeon, SLANDER, Tchami and MALAA (No Redemption), Two Friends, and Kaytranada.
The cost: Single-day passes start at $73.57 per person. Buy yours here.

Out of Space
Out of Space
Out of Space

Out of Space at Canal Shores

Where: Canal Shores Golf Course
When: Thursday, August 4 – Sunday, August 7
The lowdown: Okay, so it’s not a festival in the literal sense of the word, but this celebrated outdoor venue’s three-day lineup is so damn awesome this year, we’d be remiss not to give it the respect it deserves. Come on-Elvis Costello? Lucinda Wiliams? Buddy freakin’ Guy? Exactly. Each night promises an intimate evening of stellar music in a breathtaking suburban landscape complete with rolling greens, tons of locally sourced food and drink, and hands-on art installations.
The lineup: Headliners include Jenny Lewis, Trampled by Turtles, Elvis Costello & the Imposters, Nick Lowe & Los Straitjackets, Lucinda Williams, Waxahatchee, and Buddy Guy.
The cost: Single-day passes start at $45 per person. Buy yours here.

Pitchfork Music Festival
Pitchfork Music Festival
Pitchfork Music Festival

Pitchfork Music Festival

Where: Union Park
When: Friday, July 15 – Sunday, July 17
The lowdown: Originally launched in 2005 as Intonation Music Fest, this Pitchfork Magazine-curated stunner rubs elbows with Lollapalooza as one of the OGs of the Chicago festival scene. The perennial hipster hub is known for showcasing indie bands so cool you’ve never even heard of them alongside a smattering of bigger names across multiple stages in Union Park. The lineup-a bit of a throwback for the venerable fest-dropped early this year, and they’ve resumed their traditional sticky-hot mid-July calendar slot.
The lineup: Headliners include The National, Mitski, and The Roots, accompanied by supporting acts like Spiritualized, Japanese Breakfast, Toro y Moi, Parquet Courts, Lucy Dacus, Earl Sweatshirt, Tierra Whack, and Noname.
The cost: Single-day passes start at $99 per person. Buy yours here.

Flickr/COVERT NINE
Flickr/COVERT NINE
Flickr/COVERT NINE

Riot Fest

Where: Douglass Park
When: Friday, September 16 – Sunday, September 18
The lowdown: Chicago’s annual “punk rock carnival” is about as good as it gets when it comes to large-scale music fests here in the Windy City. It got its start inside a series of local clubs back in 2005, then exploded into its current outdoor format in 2012 (and later was ejected from its original Humboldt Park home in 2015, but we won’t go there). Today, the fiercely beloved, zero-Fs-given, multi-genre fest has carved out a unique niche that draws far more than just the mohawked set.
The lineup: Headliners include My Chemical Romance and the Original Misfits featuring Glenn Danzig and Jerry Only, among a long list of highly anticipated supporting acts.
The cost: Ticket prices vary. Stay updated here.

Animal Collective
Animal Collective
Animal Collective

Sacred Rose Festival

Where: SeatGeek Stadium
When: Friday, August 26 – Sunday, August 28
The lowdown: Another first-timer amid Chicago’s tried-and-true festival contingent, this testament to all things classic rock, jam bands, and Americana has garnered quite the star-studded lineup for such a young endeavor. Bridgeview’s SeatGeek Stadium will host none other than Phil Lesh & Friends, the War on Drugs, Animal Collective, Margo Price, and more for a three-day spell of psychedelic experiences, transcendent sounds, and, let’s face it, probably a few hacky sacks and white dreadlocks (you know who you are). Consider it a reunion show for all the new best friends you made at Dead & Company back in June.
The lineup: Headliners include Phil Lesh & Friends, The War on Drugs, Black Pumas, St. Paul and The Broken Bones, Punch Brothers, Animal Collective, City and Colour, Umphrey’s McGee, The Disco Biscuits, Yves Tumor, Cory Wong, Lotus, Goose, STS9, Moon Taxi, The Infamous Stringdusters, Greensky Bluegrass, and “artist at large” Margo Price.
The cost: Single-day passes start at $67.23 per person. Buy yours here.

Spring Awakening Music Festival
Spring Awakening Music Festival
Spring Awakening Music Festival

Spring Awakening

Where: United Center
When: Friday, July 8 – Sunday, July 10
The lowdown: Chicago’s biggest EDM festival is proudly back on their summertime BS, moving from Addams/Medill Park to the United Center’s cozy digs for their grand 10th anniversary bash. Gear up for an eye-catching spectacle studded with the who’s-who of dance music’s elite-and don’t forget to pack your glow sticks.
The lineup: Headliners have yet to be announced, but judging from last year’s roster-Martin Garrix, Excision, Diplo, Adventure Club, Atliens, Dillon Francis-expect a lineup of straight-up bangers.
The cost: 3-day passes start at $199 per person. Buy yours here.

Sueños Festival
Sueños Festival
Sueños Festival

Sueños Music Festival

Where: Grant Park
When: Saturday, May 28 – Sunday, May 29
The lowdown: Ruido Fest might have the Latin rock beat on lock, but never before has Chicago been gifted an entire summer showdown dedicated entirely to the heart-pounding, fist-pumping, and hip-grinding genre of reggaeton. Helmed by the folks behind Mexico’s Baja Beach Fest and our own Lollapalooza, Sueños recipes this grave oversight with a Memorial Day weekend to remember, kicking off festival season with dozens of Caribbean-inflected chart-toppers. Official after shows, a bounty of Latin eats, art displays, and carnival rides round out this hotter-than-hot newcomer.
The lineup: Headliners and supporting acts include J Balvin, Ozuna, Farruko, Sech, DJ Luian, Myke Towers, Jhay cortez, El Alfa, Fuerza Regidam, Natanael Cano, Wisin & Yandel, Jowell y Randy, Cauty, Blessd, Tokischa, Beele, EIX, DJ Dynamiq, La Gabi, DJ Miriam, and DJ Freddy Fresco.
The cost: 2-day passes start at $275 per person. Buy yours here.

Windy City Smokeout - Country Music & BBQ Festival
Windy City Smokeout – Country Music & BBQ Festival
Windy City Smokeout – Country Music & BBQ Festival

Windy City Smokeout

Where: United Center Parking Lot
When: Thursday, August 4 – Sunday, August 7
The lowdown: What’s better than gorging yourself on succulent smoked meats and crisp craft beer on a hot late summer day? Doing so in the presence of country-western greatness, of course. Put a little tang in your twang as Windy City Smokeout transforms United Center’s epic 18-acre parking lot this August. Both the food and the tunes are guaranteed to slap, with sets from musical icons like Willie Nelson, Tim McGraw, Sam Hunt, and Miranda Lambert alongside a bounty of booze and finger lickin’ good pulled pork, brisket, ribs, and aides courtesy of the country’s top pitmasters.
The lineup: Headliners include Morgan Wade, Zach Bryan, Turnpike Troubadours, Willie Nelson & Family, Tiera Kennedy, Tim McGraw, Lily Rose, Jordan Davis, Sam Hunt, and the one and only Miranda Lambert. BBQ heavyweights are set to be announced in mid-May, so stay tuned (and hungry).
The cost: Single-day passes start at $49.95 per person. Buy yours here.Want more Thrillist? Follow us on InstagramTwitterPinterestYouTubeTikTok, and Snapchat.

Jay Gentile is an award-winning freelance journalist specializing in travel, food & drink, culture, events and entertainment stories. In addition to Thrillist, you can find his work in The Washington Post, The Guardian, CNN Travel, Chicago Tribune, Lonely Planet, VICE, Outside Magazine and more. Follow @thejaygentile

Chicago

8 Reasons to Drive to Galena, Illinois

You're just a short day trip from preserved-in-time architecture, pristine farmland, and singular history.

Shutterstock/Michael John Maniurski
Shutterstock/Michael John Maniurski
Shutterstock/Michael John Maniurski

In all its sky-scraping towers and equally sky-scraping deep-dish pizzas, Chicago is a decidedly un-subtle city that tends to dominate the cultural conversation in Illinois, but beyond the confines of America’s third largest metropolis, there’s a whole world of pastoral prairies, rolling green hills, and charming towns that are well worth the cost of gas. Galena is one such place. Located on the northwesternmost corner of Illinois, near the Mississippi River and the Iowa border, it’s a breath-of-fresh-air town that’s basically the antithesis of Chicago. While only a three-hour drive, it feels more like a three-century drive with its preserved-in-time architecture, pristine farmland, and singular history covering everything from US presidents to Kraft Cheese. So the next time you need a break from the hustle and bustle of Chicago, and its tourist-snarled summer streets, here are 8 reasons why you should make the drive to Galena, Illinois.

VisitGalena.org
VisitGalena.org
VisitGalena.org

The town is like a time warp

A stark contrast to Chicago’s shiny towers and even shinier Bean, Galena is the town that time forgot-and we mean that with love. It’s nice to hole up someplace that feels of a simpler era-one filled with barn dances and ice cream parlours. The downtown area still looks the way it did in the 19th century, replete with brick walkways and buildings listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Much of this is on full display along Main Street, where more than 100 businesses-from candy counters and wine bars to restaurants and toy stores-are nestled inside original buildings from the 1800s.

Beyond shopping and snacking, history is everywhere in Galena. This is particularly prominent with its Presidential lore, as the town was home to President Ulysses S. Grant, whose former abode is managed by the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency, and is available for tours. President Abe Lincoln also had Galena ties, including a famous speech he made from the DeSoto House Hotel. The Victorian-style inn is the oldest operating hotel in the state, and Lincoln impersonators still host old-timey dinner theater events on the property, complete with chicken Fricassee and apple pie. For more historic eats and sips, check out Mulgrew’s Tavern & Liquor Store, one of the oldest bars in Illinois (in operation since 1921), famed for its cheap beer, foot-long chilli dogs, and slot machines. Then there’s Council Hill Station, an 1850s general store-turned-saloon, with live music, country breakfasts, and summer barn dances.

Goldmoor Inn & Dining
Goldmoor Inn & Dining
Goldmoor Inn & Dining

Farm-to-table dining doesn’t get any purer

In general, for a town with a population of a few thousand, Galena’s dining scene impresses with its array of restaurants and its mix of old and new, from adorably dusty saloons to a newfangled queer-owned bakery slinging empanadas and Argentinian cheese bread. Considering the town is surrounded by bucolic farmland and fresh water, it’s not surprising that much of its restaurants are seasonally driven and locally sourced, like cedar-planked walleye and espresso steak at Fried Green Tomatoes, or artisan cheese plates and Illinois wines at Woodlands Restaurant & Lounge. The belle of the ball when it comes to local fine dining, though, is the Goldmoor Inn, a historic manor-like hotel that applies a modern interpretation to its farm-fresh fare. For the ultimate Galena foodie vibe, dine at the chef’s table overlooking the kitchen and feast on 10-hour sous vide pork belly, lamb loin with za’atar carrots and chorizo jus, and housemade agnolotti with morel mushrooms, candied hazelnuts, charred leeks, and dashi beurre blanc. In the morning, rise and shine at Galena Bakehouse, a contemporary cafe owned by husbands Geoff and Alex Arroyo-Karnish, who moved to Galena from Manhattan in 2019 to ply the town with a mix of scratch-made American pastries (e.g. muffins, cinnamon rolls, cupcakes) and well-travelled treats (empanadas, tres leches cake, and Argentinian cheese bread called chipas).

Flickr/Michael John Maniurski
Flickr/Michael John Maniurski
Flickr/Michael John Maniurski

Outdoor recreation abounds

In Chicago, outdoor recreation is typically limited to urban beaches and drinking cocktails on rooftops. In the quieter, wide-open terrain of Galena, however, outdoor activities are a bit more bountiful. Hiking and biking opportunities can be found throughout the town’s parks, forests, and prairies, including the nearly nine-mile long Galena River Trail, Apple River Canyon State Park, and Casper Bluff Land & Water Reserve, where you can traverse trails and theorize about ancient Native American effigy mounds in the Earth.

With waterways criss-crossing the region, there are plenty of aquatic options to choose from too, including fishing on Lake Galena (just be mindful that bald eagles might provide some competition, since Illinois is home to the second largest wintering population outside of Alaska). Or you can rent kayaks, canoes, and paddle boards from Galena River Outfitters, offering guided jaunts on the tranquil Galena River. After exploring Galena by land and water, it’s time to buckle up and hit the sky-Long Hollow Canopy Tours provides adrenaline-pumping zip line tours through Tapley Woods, at speeds up to 40 mph and heights that reach 75 feet.

Hoof It - Galena
Hoof It – Galena
Hoof It – Galena

You can commune with goats

Since literally any outdoor activity is improved by the presence of goats, Galena is a veritable paradise of cute outings with hooved critters. A company called Hoof It Goat Treks does exactly what their name promises, taking guests on leisurely guided hikes through prairies and forests with baby goats in tow. For adults, the company also provides goat trek/wine tasting combos, wherein hikers can stroll the forest with a glass of wine, followed by a tasting of wine and goat cheese (naturally). Even those not able to make it to Galena can get in on the goat action-in quite the pandemic pivot, Hoof It now provides “goat calls,” so you can have a goat join your Zoom business meeting.

Goat yoga is another popular local pastime, best experienced with Galena Goat Yoga on Silver Linings Farm. Each 45-minute session, the perfect combination of stretching and snuggling, provides yoga mats in an air conditioned studio. Or if you’d prefer something more relaxed, the studio offers hour-long coffee breaks in a furnished corn crib with pastries and about a dozen goats. The company also provides private goat events, in case you’d really like to take your bachelorette party to the next level.

It’s the birthplace of Kraft Cheese

It isn’t just goat cheese in Galena. If you prefer your dairy products with an unnatural orange hue and a curiously high melting point, then you’re gonna want to drive to Galena for the cheese alone, as the town is the birthplace of Kraft. Everyone’s favourite thinly sliced cheese product was born in the tiny suburban town of Stockton, and the company’s all-American lore is on full display at the Stockton Heritage Museum. The pint-sized museum tells the story of J.L. Kraft & Bros. Co., who opened their first cheese plant in the town and began delivering milk from local dairies to the facility via horse-drawn wagon. Nowadays, museum visitors can snap selfies with one of said wagons, gain inspiration from Kraft-inspired cookbooks, and learn everything you’ve ever wanted to know about the invention of Velveeta.

Chestnut Mountain Resort
Chestnut Mountain Resort
Chestnut Mountain Resort

The mighty Mississippi is teeming with activities

In terms of epic all-natural Americana, it doesn’t get much mightier than the Mississippi River. The iconic waterway traverses the western border of Illinois, along the edge of Galena and the state of Iowa, so naturally such a major body of water is going to provide some staggering scenery. Visit the riverside Chestnut Mountain Resort for a choose-your-own-adventure of Mississippi-adjacent activities, from the Soaring Eagle Zipline to mini golf courses and an Alpine slide that zooms down the banks of a forested palisade to the shores of the river. The resort also provides Mississippi River cruises, for an informative guided immersion into the river’s ecosystem and wildlife.

Chestnut Mountain Resort
Chestnut Mountain Resort
Chestnut Mountain Resort

There’s no shortage of family-friendly fare

As evidenced by the surplus of zip lines and baby goats, Galena is a wholesome wonderland for families and kids. For food and activities alike, most everything in this quaint town caters to visitors of all ages-except maybe the wineries and wine bars, of which there are surprisingly many. Galena is a sweet tooth paradise, teeming with old-timey ice cream parlours and candy shops, including the 50-year-old American Old Fashioned Ice Cream Parlor and Candy Carnival for all your taffy, popcorn, and mini donut needs. In terms of shopping, Gabby’s Gifts is a quirky spot filled with kid-friendly knickknacks like puzzles, toys, and childrens’ books, while the P.T. Murphy Magic Theatre is sure to be a hoot with its silly theatrics and close-up sleight of hand. One ongoing activity that’s fun for the whole brood is Live at the Plaza, held every last Thursday of the month at Green Street Plaza through September. The free events offer something for everyone and all ages-live music, food, extended hours in nearby shops, and other performances, all with different themes like diversity and inclusion, or Hispanic heritage.

Lacoma Golf
Lacoma Golf
Lacoma Golf

It’s a goldmine for golfers

In addition to paddling, hiking, and screaming for ice cream, golf is another mainstay activity in Galena County, as the lush region boasts some of the most meticulously manicured greenways in the Midwest. There are 11 courses in the area, ranging in size and scope from leisurely nine-hole courses to championship-level courses for the seasoned golf pro and/or masochist. Standout options include the Apple Canyon Lake Golf Course, with nine holes weaving by canyons, hills, and bluffs, and Lacoma Golf Course, a veritable Disneyland of golf that’s grown from a nine-hole course in 1967 to a 45-hole complex consisting of three different courses, plus a driving range, full practice facilities, a pro shop, and a bar. If you’re looking to try something a little more novel and a little less rage-inducing, try your hand (or your foot) at FootGolf, a soccer-golf hybrid at Eagle Ridge Resort & Spa. Essentially, it looks like a jumbo version of golf, with soccer balls in place of golf balls, and over-sized holes and flags to aim for.

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Matt Kirouac is a travel writer working on a memoir about the epic ups and downs from life on the road as a gay couple-and the lessons learned along the way. Follow him on IG @mattkirouacofficial.

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