Soulful house music rocks Jackson Park as the Chosen Few Picnic & Festival returns. Started in the early 1990s by a group of locals known as the Chosen Few DJs, the party in the park has morphed into a 12-hour festival, attracting thousands annually. You can bring your own chairs, tents, food and drinks, but be sure to leave glassware, propane tanks and kegs at home. (Check out the FAQs for a list of prohibited items.) The BYO aspect is one reason why the fest remains in Jackson Park, Chosen Few DJ Alan King told “Chicago Tonight.”
Details: 8 a.m.-9 p.m. Saturday at Jackson Park, 63rd Street and Hayes Drive (also known as “Chosen Few DJs Way”). $40 in advance; $50 at the door / MAP
Find more fests: 2019 Summer Festival Guide
2. Look up
Colorful hot air balloons soar at the annual Eyes to the Skies festival. Watch balloon launches daily (5:30 a.m. and 6:30 p.m., approximately, weather permitting) and lighted balloon glow shows (daily at 8 p.m.). Soar above the fest grounds yourself on a tethered balloon ride ($20). Musical entertainment, a kid’s area and carnival rides are also on tap. Fireworks are scheduled for 9:45 p.m. Thursday. (Check out our guide for July 4th fireworks for other Chicago area shows.)
Balloon festival hours: Noon-11 p.m. Thursday-Saturday at Lisle Community Park, 1825 Short St., Lisle. $10; free for kids ages 8 and under / MAP
Carnival hours: 5-11 p.m. Wednesday; noon-11 p.m. Thursday-Saturday; noon-7 p.m. Sunday at Lisle Community Park. $1 per ticket; $20 per 21 tickets; $40 per 44 tickets
Smoked meats covered in tangy and spicy sauces are on the menu at the Exchange Club of Naperville Ribfest. More than a dozen rib vendors and food trucks serve up the event’s namesake dish and other fare. Festivities kick off Wednesday with live music from Billy Idol and Living Colour. Other music highlights: Flo Rida (Thursday), Brantley Gilbert (Friday) and Bad Company (Saturday). Extras: Carnival rides and games, a petting zoo and other family activities. Fireworks are scheduled for 9:30 p.m. Thursday.
Details: Noon-10 p.m. Wednesday-Saturday at Knoch Park, 724 S. West St., Naperville. General admission: $45-$60 (plus fees); south park entry only: $5 online (plus fees); $10 at the gate / MAP
4. Time travel
What was River North like in the 19th century? For one, it had a different name: McCormickville. Discover the history of the neighborhood on the McCormickville Walking Tour. Chicago historian Sally Kalmbach leads the tour, introducing you to the prominent families and notable public figures who lived in the area, and highlighting surviving buildings from the Gilded Age. Tour is held rain or shine. Organizers recommend preparing for the weather and wearing comfortable walking shoes.
Details: 1-2:30 p.m. Saturdays through Aug. 31 at the Richard H. Driehaus Museum, 40 E. Erie St. $25; $35 for tour and museum admission / MAP
Share your thoughts on immigration in an anonymous recording booth set up in the Cube, a “nomadic work-in-progress” by artist Marianne Bernstein. Participants can also create mini-flags, which organizers hope people place around the Pilsen neighborhood to “reclaim space and manifest their existence however they identify.”
Details: 2-7 p.m. Friday-Sunday at 18th and Paulina streets. Free / MAP
Photos of flowers, paintings of landscapes and ceramics shaped to form budding leaves are among the many botanic-themed works on display at the annual Chicago Botanic Garden Art Festival. Watch artists at work, participate in interactive art demos and explore the garden’s 385 acres.
Details: 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday at the Chicago Botanic Garden, 1000 Lake Cook Road, Glencoe. Free with paid parking ($30) / MAP
Move to the beat of reggae, Caribbean, R&B and African tunes at the International Festival of Life, which features dozens of performers on a pair of stages. Headliners include Nadia Batson (Thursday), Elephant Man (Friday), Mr. Vegas (Saturday) and Busy Signal (Sunday). Arts, crafts and games round things out.
Details: Noon-10 p.m. Thursday-Sunday at Washington Park, 55th Street and Cottage Grove Avenue. $15 in advance; $25 at the door; free for children under age 12 / MAP
8. Go west
Dozens of local restaurants, retailers, artists and crafters take over a stretch of Chicago Avenue as West Fest Chicago returns for its 15th season. Enjoy live music on a pair of stages programmed by the Empty Bottle. Headlining this year are John Maus and Diz (Friday), Los Campesinos! and Mark Farina (Saturday), Ex Hex and Derrick Carter (Sunday). Well-behaved pups are welcome at Pet Fest, where Fido can get a bath, splash in a paddling pool and get a dog caricature. Children’s activities like train rides, bounce houses and pony rides are also on tap.
Details: 5-10 p.m. Friday; noon-10 p.m. Saturday and Sunday on Chicago Avenue between Damen Avenue and Wood Street. $5 suggested donation / MAP
9. Whip up
In 90 minutes, you’ll learn about five preserving methods at Cooking with Intention: Preserving at Home with Baguette & Butter. The course covers fermentation, dehydration, freezing, sugar-free preserving and salt curing. During the class, learn how to make mustard, tea blends, seasonal preserves and Himalayan salt-cured lemons from scratch. Bonus: You’ll get a copy of all the recipes.
Details: 3-4:30 p.m. Saturday at the Plant Chicago, 1400 W. 46th St. $20 / MAP
The Maxwell Street Market offers an eclectic mix of merchandise, from fresh produce to clothing to furniture and tools. In addition to the usual vendors and street foods, the market hosts arts and crafts on select Sundays. This week, a large coloring sheet representing the history and foods of the market will be on display for families to color (10 a.m.-2 p.m.).
Details: 9a.m.-3 p.m. Sundays at Maxwell Street Market, 800 S. Desplaines St. Free / MAP
Events listed are subject to change. We recommend double-checking times and locations before you head out the door. Want to share your upcoming events with us for consideration in a future roundup? Send us an email.