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10 Free Things To Do in Chicago this August | Choose Chicago - wholesale Soccer jerseys
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10 free things to do in Chicago this month

August 2019

You don't need to reach for your wallet to get your fill of culture and fun in Chicago. Here are just 10 free Chicago festivals, exhibits, concerts, and events to enjoy around the city this August.

1. Party at Northalsted Market Days 

Market Days

Aug. 10 – 11

The largest street fest in the Midwest, Northalsted Market Days celebrates LGBTQ+ life and community in Chicago. The weekend-long event takes over a half mile in historic Boystown for live music on five stages (this year's headliners include Daya and Icona Pop), DJs, dancing, 200+ vendors, arts, crafts, food and drinks, and more. Don't miss one of the hottest parties of the summer.

2. Watch the Chicago & Air Water Show

Castaways Air & Water Show

Aug. 18 –19

The Chicago Air and Water Show has grown to be the largest and oldest free admission air and water exhibition in the United States. The spectacular two-day event draws an audience of over two million to see military and pilots perform astonishing stunts above the waters of Lake Michigan. Head to the lakefront to catch the show for free.

3. Catch live music at the Chicago Jazz Festival

Chicago Jazz Festival

Aug. 23 – Sept. 1

The 41st rendition of Chicago's oldest free festival will include a special tribute to Nat King Cole by his brother Freddy Cole and a celebration of the 50th Anniversary of the Jazz Institute of Chicago. The all-ages, multi-venue festival over Labor Day weekend is the perfect way to wrap up the summer in Chicago. Check out the full schedule.

4. Experience Caribbean culture at Chicago Caribbean Carnivale 

Aug. 17

This parade and festival in Hyde Park celebrates all things Caribbean. Experience authentic food, music, culture, traditions, and more. The festive parade kicks off at noon, followed by a full day of carnival festivities and local vendors from the beauty industry, fashion and design, art, culinary, retail, and more. The festivities will take place on the historic Midway Plaisance in Hyde Park.

5. See a lakefront fireworks show

Navy Pier fireworks

Wednesdays and Saturdays through Labor Day

Don't miss the last chance to catch Navy Pier's spectacular fireworks this summer. You can see the show on Wednesdays and Saturday evenings anywhere along the lakefront, though the best viewing spot has to be the Pier itself.

6. Watch a movie at Millennium Park

Millennium Park Summer Film Series

Select Tuesdays through August

The popular Millennium Park Summer Film Series features free movies under the stars on Tuesdays throughout the summer. Grab a blanket and a picnic, then settle in to watch modern hits and cult classics. Check out the schedule for August, inspired by the Year of Chicago Theatre:

Aug. 5: Inside Out 
Aug. 6: The Muppet Movie 
Aug. 13: Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon
Aug. 20: My Big Fat Greek Wedding 

7. Catch a classical concert at Grant Park Music Festival

Grant Park Music Festival

Throughout August

Hear the acclaimed Grant Park Orchestra in this series of free outdoor concerts in scenic Millennium Park. The festival, now in its 85th season, features an array of classical masterpieces, from Beethoven to Sousa to Bach.

8. Learn new moves at Chicago SummerDance

Chicago SummerDance-1

Through Aug. 24

Enjoy a free dance class, then try out your new moves to live music. The classes take place on Grant Park’s open-air dance floor and include a variety of dance styles, from swing to waltz to cha cha and beyond.

9. See a free show during the Chicago Summer Theater Festival

Throughout August

Experience Chicago’s fearless theatre at a stunning waterfront venue. Theatre on the Lake will be hosting the Chicago Summer Theater Festival, celebrating the city’s storefront theatres and emerging artists. And this season only, all the shows are free. 

Performances are Tuesday – Friday at 7 p.m. and Thursday matinees at 2 p.m. See the full schedule of performances.

10. Hear live music and more outside Wrigley Field

Park at Wrigley

Various dates throughout August

Gallagher Way, the green space right outside historic Wrigley Field, is hosting tons of free events all summer long. Their jam-packed August schedule include a French market, a Lizzo concert, a block party, kids' concerts, yoga classes, and more.

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