Get artsy! Go outdoors! Get lost in your thoughts as fireworks explode overhead! The options for family time are endless — especially this weekend, which is packed with kid-approved events. Start out by going green in Bucktown, check out an arts fest on Southport and finish things off by spending a day with Thomas the Tank. There’s more where that came from. Read on!

photo: BenFest



Bucktown Garden Walk
Garden walkers are invited to view urban gardens as Bucktown residents open their personal green spaces to the public to showcase the beautiful and unique neighborhood. Explore Bucktown’s hidden gems, enjoy live music, entertain the kids at the Children’s Fest, take a trolley tour and see what makes Bucktown special. Sat. & Sun. Event details.


Southport Art Festival
A favorite of many families, Southport Art Festival brings old-fashioned fun to the Southport Corridor. When a street boasts about multiple kid-friendly restaurants and ice cream shops, you know you’re in for a good time. Throughout the day, kids can enjoy interactive games and activities that make for an unforgettable time. Sat. & Sun. Event details.

Blue Man Group Teams Up with Autism Speaks
Blue Man Group and Autism Speaks have teamed up to announce a collaborative Blue Man Group performance! Slight modifications, such as dim lighting, bean bags, calm environment and quiet corners have been made to better accommodate individuals with autism. Sound levels will be reduced at select moments and noise isolating headphones also available upon request. Sun. Event details.

Lincoln Park

Sign Along with Mr. Singer at LPZ
Sway along to a joyful jamboree featuring animal songs and dances for wee ones. Every show features a kids’ choice and a grown-ups choice giving you the opportunity to request your favorite sing-along song. Fri. Event details.

Museum Campus

Field Market Days at The Field Museum
Enjoy fresh food, live music, and lakefront views at a monthly farmers market in The Field Museum’s own backyard! Shop local produce, prepared foods, craft beer, and other goods offered by local businesses and vendors. Sat. Event details.

Navy Pier

Have an Explosive Night at Navy Pier’s Summer Fireworks 
Keep the kids up a wee bit later to experience the fireworks display synchronized to music at Navy Pier. Sat. Event details.

North Center

Experience BenFest – A Long-Running, Fun-Filled Family Festival
This three-day party is known to be one of Chicago’s best family-friendly summer fests, expanding beyond the grounds of the historic St. Benedict’s parish and school, spilling into the street. The bands, food, drinks and merchants are reason enough to join the fun, but the kid’s area really brings it home with a water slide, games, inflatables, mini golf and a sports zone. Fri.-Sun. Event details.



Enjoy Your Day and Summer Nights at the Zoo
See Brookfield Zoo in a new light with cooler evening weather at Summer Nights.  Families are treated to roaming entertainers, live music on the kid’s stage, close-up animal encounters and a laser light show, all surrounded by the intrigues of the zoo. Fri. & Sat. Event details.


Nothing Says Summer Like Butterflies & Blooms
Fill your summer days with butterflies and blooms at Chicago Botanic Garden’s temporary exhibit where visitors can immerse themselves in a habitat filled with hundreds of winged beauties and pretty petals. Fri.-Sun. Event details.


All Aboard for a Day Out With Thomas
All aboard for a ride with Thomas & Friends®!. Little engineers are invited to spend a day with Thomas and his bestie Percy when they roll into Illinois Railway Museum. Besides a ride with their train pals, kids get to meet Sir Topham Hatt and enjoy a day of themed activities including arts and crafts, storytelling and more. Sat. & Sun. Event details.


For more ideas on how to spend your weekend, check out our Family Events Calendar.

Chat with us about how you’re going to spend your weekend in the Comments below!

— Maria Chambers