Wondering what Chicago has to offer during the vibrant month of July? This bustling city truly comes alive in the heart of summer, presenting an array of activities and events that cater to every interest.

From the lively buzz of outdoor festivals to the serene beauty of Lake Michigan's beaches, Chicago in July is a time of dynamic exploration and leisure.

Whether you're a culture enthusiast, foodie, or outdoor adventurer, the Windy City has something special for you.

Key Takeaways

  • Discover a variety of music, food, and cultural festivals that highlight the city’s diversity and talent.
  • Enjoy outdoor activities along Lake Michigan, including beaches and boat tours.
  • Explore Chicago’s famous parks and outdoor spaces, which host numerous free events and activities.

Get ready to dive into the unique experiences that make Chicago a must-visit destination in July. Keep reading to uncover the best ways to enjoy the city's summer offerings.

July Weather in Chicago

July Weather In Chicago

July is the peak of summer in Chicago, with warm and pleasant temperatures that make it the perfect time to explore the city.

The average temperature hovers around 75°F (24°C), providing ideal conditions for outdoor activities. However, checking the weather forecast before heading out is always a good idea, as temperatures can vary.

Sundays on State: A Weekly Interactive Block Party

Sundays On State Chicago

Photo via TimeOut

Location: State Street, from Lake to Madison

Kick off your July in Chicago with the lively Sundays on State event. This free weekly summer street festival, organized by the Chicago Loop Alliance, aims to bring people together in the heart of the city.

State Street has vibrant attractions and activities, including arts and culture experiences, active recreation, retail, and dining options.

Sundays on State is a chance to immerse yourself in the iconic architecture of State Street while enjoying live performances, interactive workshops, and delicious food from local vendors.

The festival occurs every Sunday throughout the summer, so mark your calendars and join in the fun!

London House's "Luminescence" Experience

London House Chicago

Photo via London House Chicago website

Location: London House Chicago, 85 E Upper Wacker Dr

Experience a mesmerizing display of lights at London House's "Luminescence" event. This summer experience occurs on the hotel's 22nd-floor terrace, offering breathtaking views of the Magnificent Mile and the Chicago River.

Be enchanted by a kaleidoscope of colors as vibrant LED lights create a captivating ambiance.

"Luminescence" provides a unique opportunity to enjoy a magical evening under the stars while sipping your favorite cocktail.

Whether you're looking for a romantic date night or a memorable outing with friends, London House's "Luminescence" is a must-visit destination in July.

Dining in the Dark

Dining In The Dark Chicago

Photo via Dining In The Dark website

Location: Hubbard Inn, 110 W Hubbard St

Engage your senses in a unique culinary experience at Dining in the Dark. This exclusive dinner event invites you to indulge in a delicious three-course meal while blindfolded.

By removing the sense of sight, your taste buds are heightened, allowing you to savor the flavors and textures of each dish in a whole new way.

Dining in the Dark at Hubbard Inn offers a choice of vegan, seafood, or red meat options, ensuring there's something for everyone.

Immerse yourself in a surreal dining experience and let your taste buds take center stage at this unforgettable event.

Morton Arboretum's "Of the Earth" Exhibition

Morton Arboretum Chicago

Location: Morton Arboretum, 4100 IL-53, Lisle

Experience the beauty of nature and art at Morton Arboretum's "Of the Earth" exhibition. This captivating display features a towering arbor-inspired sculpture created by Polish-American artist Olga Ziemska.

The sculptures, made from reclaimed tree branches and other natural materials, blend seamlessly with the surroundings.

Explore the expansive grounds of Morton Arboretum as you admire these unique works of art.

"Of the Earth" is the largest exhibition of Olga Ziemska's sculptures, and it offers a beautiful opportunity to connect with nature and appreciate the intersection of art and the environment.

Independence Day Fireworks

Independence Day Fireworks Chicago

Location: Various locations throughout Chicago

Celebrate America's birthday with spectacular fireworks displays in Chicago. Independence Day is a time for togetherness and celebration, and the city goes all out to create unforgettable experiences.

Whether you watch the fireworks from a rooftop, a park, or a boat on Lake Michigan, you're in for a visual treat.

One of the most popular locations to catch the fireworks is Navy Pier. Their annual fireworks show lights up the sky with dazzling colors and patterns.

You can also find fireworks displays in other neighborhoods and suburbs of Chicago. Check the local listings for the best spots to enjoy the festivities.

Navy Pier Firework Shows

Navy Pier Firework Shows

Location: Navy Pier, 600 E Grand Ave

If you can't get enough fireworks, head to Navy Pier for their weekly firework shows over Lake Michigan.

These dazzling displays occur every Wednesday at 9 p.m. and every Saturday at 10 p.m. throughout the summer.

Find a spot on the pier or nearby and be captivated by the stunning pyrotechnics lighting up the night sky.

Navy Pier is a popular destination for locals and tourists alike, offering a variety of attractions, restaurants, and entertainment options.

Make a day of exploring the pier before settling down to watch the fireworks. It's an experience that will leave you in awe.

Kayaking Adventures on the Chicago River

Kayaking Adventures Chicago River

Location: Urban Kayaks, Various locations on the Chicago River

Discover the beauty of the Chicago River from a unique perspective with a kayaking adventure. Urban Kayaks offers guided tours and rentals, allowing you to paddle along the river and enjoy the city's stunning architecture.

Whether you're a beginner or an experienced kayaker, there's a tour for everyone.

Choose from a variety of kayaking options, including tours of the Chicago Riverwalk or Monroe Harbour. Marvel at the iconic skyscrapers that line the river's edge and enjoy the tranquility of being on the water.

Kayaking in Chicago is a memorable experience that allows you to connect with nature in the city's heart.

Art on theMART Projections

Art On TheMART Chicago

Photo via Art On TheMART website

Location: Merchandise Mart, 222 W Merchandise Mart Plaza

Immerse yourself in a visual spectacle with Art on theMART. As the world's most giant permanent digital art projection, this captivating display lights up the façade of the Merchandise Mart with stunning visuals.

The 2.5-acre river façade comes alive every night with mesmerizing projections created by renowned artists and local talent.

The Art on the Summer program features a diverse range of projections, including works by the Chicago Black Dance Legacy Project.

Experience the magic of these larger-than-life art installations as they transform the riverwalk into an outdoor gallery.

Art on theMART is a must-see attraction for art enthusiasts and anyone seeking a unique cultural experience.

Harry Potter™: Magic at Play

Harry Potter Chicago

Photo via Secret Chicago website

Location: Magnificent Mile, Chicago

Step into the enchanting world of Harry Potter™ at Magic at Play. This limited-time experience takes you on a journey to Hogwarts™ School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, where you can attend magical potions classes and immerse yourself in the wonders of the wizarding world.

From the boat ride to Hogwarts™ to sipping on Butterbeer, every moment is filled with magic.

Located on the iconic Magnificent Mile, Magic at Play offers a truly immersive and interactive experience for Harry Potter™ fans of all ages.

Explore the Great Hall, interact with magical creatures, and create lasting memories in this captivating adventure. Don't miss your chance to be a part of the magic!

Candlelight Concerts

Candlelight Concerts Chicago

Photo via Discvirt website

Location: Various venues throughout Chicago

Indulge in an evening of music and candlelight at one of Chicago's sublime Candlelight Concerts. These unique events combine breathtaking musical performances with the ambiance of flickering candles, creating a truly magical experience.

Talented musicians perform at extraordinary venues, allowing guests to immerse themselves in the beauty of the music.

Candlelight Concerts offers diverse performances, from tributes to Taylor Swift and Amy Winehouse to classical compositions by Mozart and Bach.

Whether you're a hip-hop, rock, or classical music fan, there's a concert that captivates your senses. Check the schedule for upcoming Candlelight Concerts and treat yourself to an unforgettable evening of music.

Concerts Under the Stars

Concerts Under The Stars Chicago

Photo via Concerts Under The Stars website

Location: Various rooftop venues in Chicago

Enjoy live music under the stars at Concerts. This outdoor musical experience offers a unique opportunity to soak in the beauty of the Chicago skyline while listening to talented musicians perform.

From ABBA tribute nights to hip-hop classics, there's a concert for every music lover.

Concerts Under the Stars takes place at various rooftop venues throughout Chicago, providing unobstructed views of the city's iconic skyline.

Sit back, relax, and let the music transport you to new heights. Whether you're a fan of nostalgic tunes or contemporary hits, these concerts will leave you with lasting memories.

FAQs Chicago in July

1. What are the best places to watch the July 4th fireworks in Chicago?

  • Navy Pier: The annual fireworks display at Navy Pier is a must-see, with breathtaking views of Lake Michigan.
  • Rooftop Bars: Many rooftop bars in the city offer a prime vantage point for fireworks viewing.
  • Grant Park: Head to Grant Park for the Independence Day Salute concert, followed by fireworks.

2. Can I rent a kayak on the Chicago River? 

Urban Kayaks offers kayak rentals and guided tours for individuals and groups.

3. Are there any family-friendly activities in Chicago in July? 

Absolutely! Sundays on State, Navy Pier, and the Morton Arboretum are just a few family-friendly attractions and events happening in July.

4. Can I buy tickets in advance for Candlelight Concerts? 

Yes, tickets for Candlelight Concerts can be purchased in advance on the Fever website.

5. Are the Art on theMART projections free to view? 

Yes, the Art on theMART projections are free to view from the Riverwalk.


Chicago in July offers many exciting experiences for locals and visitors alike. From vibrant street festivals to mesmerizing art installations, there's something for everyone to enjoy.

Whether you're exploring the city's iconic landmarks or immersing yourself in the magic of Harry Potter™, July in Chicago is a time of discovery and wonder.

So grab your calendar, mark down these must-see events, and prepare to create unforgettable memories in the Windy City.