Find your way through the dark at the zoo. Hit up Chicago’s first-ever chalk art festival. Check out trains in a garden. Celebrate the 50th anniversary of Apollo 11. Read on to hear about all this fun and so much more!

photo: Nate Baranowski


Humboldt Park

Light Things Up at a Lantern Festival
Water Lantern Festival is a floating lantern event that is all about connections. Watch your lantern drift as it joins others carrying hope, love, happiness, healing, peace, and connection. Sat. Event details

Lincoln Park

New! Strike a Pose at the Bixbee Imagination Station
The Bixbee Imagination Station is an experiential popup and retail shop featuring an immersive, interactive experience for kids and the kid in you. Fri.-Sun. Event details.

The Loop

New! Take a Cruise With Your Pup
Dogs on boats? Yes! Take your pooch on a leash and enjoy quality time with your dog while cruising on Chicago’s waterways. Sat. & Sun. Event details

Museum Campus

New! Have a Bug Encounter at The Field Museum
Fantastic Bug Encounters is giving a peek into the hidden world of insects and spiders through interactives, larger-than-life models and a bug zoo where visitors can see (and even hold) live bugs. Fri.-Sun. Event details

Celebrate Apollo 11’s 50th Anniversary
Channel your inner explorer and help Adler Planetarium imagine the next Moonshot and how the spirit of Apollo 11 can inspire and challenge us to achieve the impossible. Fri.-Sun. Event details

Navy Pier

Watch Fireworks from the Pier
Keep the kids up a tad later to experience this fireworks display synchronized to music. Sat. Event details

Rogers Park

Attend Chicago’s First Chalk Art Festival
Chalk Howard Street features world-renowned artists, as well as amateur artists, kids’ art, local food and drinks and live music.  The Boogers will perform and kids will also have space to chalk-art doodle all day. Sat. Event details



Enjoy Summer Nights at Brookfield Zoo
See the zoo in a new light with cooler evening temps at Summer Nights. Families are treated to roaming entertainers, live music, close-up animal encounters and a laser light show. Fri. & Sat. Event details.

Traverse a Brick Safari at Brookfield Zoo
Brookfield Zoo’s temporary exhibit, Brick Safari, features more than 40 life-size animal sculptures created from millions of LEGO bricks located along a winding, wooded path. Fri.-Sun. Event details.


Choo Choo! Get Your Train Fix at Model Railroad Garden
Experience the delightful sights and sounds of miniature trains traversing high and low tunnels, across bridges and around buildings at Chicago Botanic Garden. Fri.-Sun. Event details.

See Butterflies and Blooms at Chicago Botanic Garden
Fill your summer days with butterflies and blooms at Chicago Botanic Garden’s, where visitors can immerse themselves in a habitat filled with hundreds of winged beauties and pretty petals. Sat. & Sun. Event details.


See How Nature Connects at Morton Arboretum
Enjoy a day built on fun at Nature Connects Art with LEGO Bricks. LEGO enthusiasts of all ages will be dazzled as they search for 15 larger-than-life, nature-inspired sculptures. Fri.-Sun. Event details.

Oak Lawn

New! Sun, Earth, Universe Exhibit
This exhibit will answer big questions about our universe, expose kids to data not visible to the eye, invite kids to design, build and test their own 3D spacecraft model and much more! Fri-Sun. Event details

— Maria Chambers


Pick a Flick! Outdoor Movies for Summer Nights

The Ultimate Summer Bucket List for Chicago Parents

A Family Guide to the Best Summer Festivals

. . . and check out our Events calendar for even more suggestions.