coronavirus illinois

Chicago Unveils List of New and Returning Summer Events as City Continues to Reopen

The announcement marks the latest reopening update for the city, called "Open Culture," aimed at providing a "summer of cultural events"

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A long list of popular events will be returning to Chicago this summer as the city continues to reopen during the coronavirus pandemic, bringing back beloved concerts from Chicago Symphony Orchestra, the Printer's Row Lit Fest, Broadway in Chicago and more, in addition to launching a new city music festival.

The announcement marks the latest reopening update for the city and is being called "Open Culture," an initiative aimed at providing a "summer of cultural events."

“Despite the unimaginable challenges that were thrown our way last year, we were still able to persist and come together to slow and stop the spread of this virus and put our city on the right path toward a safe reopening,” Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot said in a statement. “Open Chicago — including Open Parks, Open Streets and now, Open Culture — is not only the direct result of these efforts, but it also serves as the latest step in our mission to fully restore a sense of normalcy within our city by bringing back and reimagining some of our favorite summer- and fall-time activities. I am grateful to every city, arts, community, and business leader who partnered with us on this incredible initiative as well as our residents, who continue to follow public health guidance and keep our COVID-19 metrics low enough to launch efforts like these.” 

Among the events will be a new city music festival called "Chicago In Tune," and the return of the historic Maxwell Street Market, the Grant Park Music Festival, the Taste of Chicago To-Go community meals, and more.

Most of the events will have limited capacity and require advance registration. 

Chicago's Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events said it is currently reviewing special events applications for outdoor festivals, street and art/craft fairs, and athletic events. According to the department, events must follow the state guidelines and permit approval depends on improved public health metrics.

“Chicago’s arts landscape has been devastated by the pandemic. We all must do our part to support the recovery of this vital sector, which is so necessary to our economy and our sense of belonging,” DCASE Commissioner Mark Kelly said in a statement. “I am also excited to know that the arts will be on the leading edge of the city’s reopening as our music clubs, theaters, and festivals come back to life and energize Chicago. There is so much to be excited about as the arts return."

The announcement comes one day after Lightfoot revealed that Chicago's target date to be "fully open" is the Fourth of July holiday.

"Every day that our COVID-19 metrics continue to tick downward raises the day closer to be able to put this pandemic in the rearview mirror, and we are too close to accomplishing this mission to give up now," Lightfoot said at a news conference announcing that the Chicago Auto Show would return to McCormick Place this summer.

"Our goal, ladies and gentlemen, is to be fully open by July 4," she continued. "I am working night and day toward this goal, as is our public health department, but we and I need you to continue to be on this journey with us, and that means getting vaccinated now, as soon as possible."

Among some of the other returning events will be:

  • The return of Chicago Symphony Orchestra concerts at Symphony Center including "Fanfare" opening on May 27 
  • Hyde Park Art Center – Planting and Maintaining a Perennial Garden: Shrouds by Faheem Majeed open May 3 – July 24 
  • Rosa’s Lounge – Melvin Taylor & the Slack Band on May 7  
  • Pivot Arts Festival: Reimagining Utopia – A Performance Tour: Live, Multi-Arts Experience from May 21 – June 5 
  • Chicago Latino Theater Alliance – Sola en la pandemia está cañón at Joe's on Weed Street on June 19 
  • The South Side Jazz Coalition – Jazzin’ On The Steps on May 23  
  • Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago – Tuesdays on the Terrace kicking off June 1  
  • Old Town Art Fair on June 12 & 13 
  • Art Institute of Chicago – The Obama Portraits from June 18 – August 15 
  • Pride in the Park on June 26 & 27 
  • Goodman Theatre – School Girls; Or, The African Mean Girls Play reopening in August  
  • Court Theatre – Othello from July 8 – August 8 
  • Southport Art Fair on July 10 & 11 
  • Smart Museum of Art – Toward Common Cause: Art, Social Change, and the MacArthur Fellows Program at 40 on view July 15 – December 19 
  • Chinatown Summer Fair on July 17 & 18 
  • Jazz Institute of Chicago – Chicago Latin Jazz Festival on July 23 & 24 
  • Printers Row Lit Fest on September 11 & 12 
  • Hyde Park Jazz Festival on September 25 & 26 
  • Lyric Opera of Chicago 2021/22 season including opening night featuring an all-new production of Verdi’s Macbeth on September 17  
  • Broadway In Chicago – Six at the Broadway Playhouse at Water Tower Place running October 5, 2021 – January 30, 2022  
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