SummerTime Chi 2016: Hot Cool and Dope Picks of Summer
Mary L. Datcher
Arts & Entertainment Editor
Hot Cool & Dope
In the summer, Chicago is a favorite international travel destination, but for residents and our suburban neighbors — summertime in the ‘Chi’ can sometimes feel like a vacation while at home.
Here’s some of our top picks from neighborhood festivals, outdoor and rooftop dining to ‘must-see’ concerts and programs.
If you love the energy of catching a movie in the park with the family or patronizing a wonderful neighborhood business, we will be premiering various hot spots and programs throughout the summer.
In May, the The Chicago Park District will hold festivities for the Great Migration that will launch from May 27-October 6, marking the Great Migration Centennial, a long term movement of African Americans from the rural South to the urban North that transformed Chicago between 1916 and 1970. Programs will include; Lucy Smith’s Chicago Bound: The Great Migration of the Blues, Classic Black’s One Way Ticket along with performances and workshops by Live the Spirit Residency’s young jazz musicians and much more.
Here’s just a sneak peek at the Chicago Defender’s top choices to get you started.
Hot Summer Hangouts
Located at 31 Street Beach, this has become a great hangout to grab a cocktail while people-watching at the same time. Wednesdays are jam packed with urban professionals enjoying the sounds of classic House music.
Raised-One West Wacker Drive
Recently opened in early May, Raised has panoramic view of the downtown skyline with a great dining experience along with cocktails.
The Betty-839 W. Fulton
This low-key lounge is one of Chicago’s best-kept secrets, located in the heart of the meatpacking district. A great place to get some of the best well-crafted cocktails, a light meal and funky R&B tunes playing in the background. Add this to your list for indoor and outdoor dining with a budget.
Roof on The Wit-201 S. State St.
We never get tired of the The Wit’s rooftop — it has become a summertime Chicago stable where business people meet night time club goers for afterwork views and brews.
The Godfrey Indoor Outdoor Rooftop-127 W. Huron
One of the hippest indoor/outdoor rooftop lounges that offer a variety of live dj music, creative cocktails and top fine dining in a chic way.
Norm’s Bistro –1003 E. 43rd St.
In the heart of Bronzeville, owner Norman Bolden opens up the patio for patrons to enjoy the summertime breeze while enjoying the neighborhood scenery, eats and live music.
Yusho –1301 E. 53rd St.
A Hyde Park favorite food spot with tasty Japanese dishes from noodles, buns, ramen and other creative eats. The restaurant’s outdoor patio is an added treat.
Flavor Restaurant –Richton Park/Hazel Crest
With two locations under their belt, mother and son team — Cassandra Kemp and Jerome Kemp gives you the upscale fine dining experience of Flavor in Richton Park and the casual brunch location in Hazel Crest. Great soul food with a twist.
Mr. Brown’s Lounge –2301 W. Chicago Ave.
The original Mr. Brown’s Lounge is where the hipsters, rastas and residents of Ukrainian Village hang out for good traditional beer brands, Jamaican rum punch and the best jerk dinner meals on the Northwest side. Live music and DJs almost every night. Great outdoor patio for summer nights.
The Promontory –5311 S. Lake St.
This two-story facility sports more than a live performance venue, the restaurant on the first level is cool dining experience with the combination of great date night for couples or a small dinner party for a girls’ night out. The outdoor patio on both levels are fit for summer nights while enjoying the venue’s live music concerts.
90 Miles Cuban Café- 2540 W. Armitage
If you’ve never traveled to Cuba, this place serves the best in Cuban street food. Reasonable price, they have three locations on the North and West Side. With outdoor dining, it is almost always packed out with diners waiting on their Cuban and steak sandwiches.
Reggie’s Rock Club –2109 S. State St.
The three-level venue houses a casual restaurant, a live performance venue, a cool record store that still sells vinyl and an intimate rooftop with a citywide view. Every night they showcase a variety of music and shows catering to both 18+ and 21+ patrons.
26th Annual Comedy Festival
Featuring Tracy Morgan on June 1.
31st Chicago Gospel Festival
Performances include Hezekiah Walker and the Love Fellowship Choir, Travis Greene, Shirley Caesar and many more.
3rd Annual Hyde Park Brew Fest
57th Street Art Fair
Chicago Blues Festival
The largest Blues Festival in the world will feature heavy hitters, Shemekia Copeland, Fred Wesley & The New JBs, Wee Willie Walker & We “R”, and tribute to Otis Rush.
America’s Cup World Series
Spring Awakening Music Festival
10th Annual Latin Jazz Festival
June 10-August 19
Humboldt Park Boathouse -1140 N. Sacramento
Jazz Cabaret: Paul Marinaro Trio
Columbus Park’s Refectory – 5701 W. Jackson Ave. and Seward Park – 375 W. Elm St.
Pilsen Food Truck Social
Movies in the Parks
June 13-September 5
The Chicago Park District will bring big-screen entertainment to local parks for the 16th year of Movies in the Parks. There will be a variety of films with something for everyone to enjoy including Back to the Future, The Color Purple, Jurassic World, Star Wars, Captain America, The Avengers and Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.
Puerto Rican Festival & Parade
Taste of Randolph St.
Real Men Cook Chicago
This year on Father’s Day, RMC will expand to various communities including Englewood, Bronzeville, Hyde Park, South Shore, Hyde Park, the South Suburbs and more.
Dew Tour at Grant Park Skate Park
Make Music Chicago
There will be 16 hours of music, 80 locations across Chicago featuring 250 live performances and over 1,500 musicians. Check site for listings.
Millennium Park Summer Film Series
June 21- August 30
June 24-September 11
This is the kick-off to the City of Chicago’s weekly program of live outdoor music programming featuring Chicago DJs and dance instructors in Grant Park.
Vegan Food and Drink Festival
Randolph Street Market Festival
Chicago Pride Fest
African Caribbean International Festival of Life
Chosen Few Picnic House Music Festival
The 26th Chosen Few DJ House Picnic will feature two days of non-stop House and Soul music featuring musical guests Roy Ayers, Cheryl Lynn, DJ Spinna, Joe Claussell, Josh Milan, Monique Bingham and more.
Windy City RibFest Uptown
Fourth of July Fireworks at Navy Pier
Taste of Chicago
This year’s biggest food and music festival will showcase The Roots, Billy Idol, The Isley Brothers, Sheila E. KONGOS among other talent.
Mamby On the Beach
Roscoe Village Burger Fest
Dance in the Parks
July 15-August 7
Dance in the Parks brings free, professional, outdoor dance concerts to Chicago’s parks. The all-ages performances feature works created and performed by professional Chicago dance artists.
Windy City Smokeout
560 W. Grand Ave.
Pitchfork Music Festival
Considered the summer’s best outdoor music festival alternative to Lollapalooza, Pitch Fork features a diverse line up of indie and major artists in underground Rock, EDM, Hip Hop and alternative Soul music. This year’s talent features BJ the Chicago Kid, Digable Planets, Miguel, Jeremih and many more.
Chicago Hot Sauce Fest
Wicker Park Fest
Fiesta del Sol
The 25th Lolla will be one of the biggest music festivals to date, a week early this year. Some of the featured artists include Red Hot Chili Peppers, Disclosure, Vic Mensa, J. Cole, Future and much more.
Black Chicago Eats Week
July 29 – August 12
The week-long program will highlight some of Chicago’s best restaurants and chefs that are also Black owned and operated. Followbeansouptimes.com for listings.
Chicago Margarita Festival
Chicago Hot Dog Fest
Clark and LaSalle St.
The Art of Rap
The tour will feature Hip Hop’s finest and architects of the craft with a stellar line-up featuring Public Enemy, Naughty By Nature, Ice-T, MC Lyte, EPMD, Mobb Depp and Kurtis Blow.
Queens of House Picnic
Chicago Park District Calumet -9801 S. Avenue G.
This all-day House picnic will feature some of the best and leading women DJs in the House music community. Featuring DJ Solkat, First Lady, Anji Stone, Deejay Alicia, Celeste The DJ Alexander, Erica Kane, Queen B., Mz. Nicky and Lady Alicia
Taste of Lincoln Ave.
Reggae Fest Chicago
Northalsted Market Days
Westside Music Festival
South Shore Summer Festival
Chicago Air & Water Show
Country Club Hills Jazz Festival
Feat. Norman Brown, Kirk Whalum, Rick Braun and Nick Colionne
Great American Lobster Fest
Chicago Jazz Festival
North Coast Music Festival
African Festival of the Arts
Midnight Circus in the Parks
September 3 – October 16
Midnight Circus will present the 10 year of a true “Big Top” tent extravaganza in eight parks citywide, celebrating community and rebuilding parks one circus at a time.
17th Chicago’s Best Summer WingFest
Windy City Wine Festival
World Music Festival
Venetian Night at Navy Pier
Sam Adams’ Lakeview Taco Fest
Riot Rest & Carnival
This year’s non-stop 3-day festival will feature a great deal of rock music, metal and sprinkled with hip hop. This year’s highlight will be a performance by Redman and Method. More are being added to the carnival festivities.
This summer is by far one of the best concert line-ups we’ve had in a long while. The choices are endless. So, get your credit card out and consider if the need to travel to the Essence Music Fest in NOLA or Cincinnati’s Music Festival is necessary. The live music shows around the Chicagoland area will keep music lovers busy.
Our top recommendations for a great guide of Jazz, Soul, Hip Hop and classics.
E.Z. Mo Breezy Presents: Grits & Biscuits
House of Blues Chicago
Harpercourt Summer Music Series
May 25, June 29, August 31
Blues, Jazz, Steppers, Latin Music & Afro-Beats
Chicago House Party at Millennium Park
Celebrate House music, born in Chicago 35+ years ago. The House Legacy Project will perform and Robert Williams will be recognized for his contributions to House Music with a mayoral proclamation. Performances featured: Steve ‘Miggedy’ Maestro, Jerry C. King, Byron Stingily, Dajae, Lidell Townsell, Faith Howard, Paris Brightledge, First Lady, Peven Everett Trio, Vick Lavender Ensemble, Superjane’s DJ Heather, Lady D and much more.
The Foreign Exchange
WGCI Summer Jam 2016
Live concert featuring Fetty Wap, Young Jeezy, 2 Chainz, T.I. Migos, Lil Durk and Migos
Rachelle Ferrell, Robert Glasper & Avery Sunshine
Country Club Hills Theatre
Patti LaBelle & The Commodores
Duran Duran with Chic feat. Nile Rogers
Nikki Giovanni & Morris Gearring
Oscar Brown, Jr. Celebration
Will Downing and Peabo Bryson
Country Club Hills Theatre
Kindred The Family Soul
Jill Scott and Common
Horseshoe Casino/Hammond, IN
Bud Biliken Day Parade
39th and Martin Luther King Drive to Washington Park
Patti Austin and Lalah Hathaway
Country Club Hills Theatre
10th Annual Global Mixx Music & Film Forum
SAE Institute Chicago
A two-day conference that hosts an array of panels, workshops, showcases and mentoring sessions for established professionals and aspiring talent seeking a career in film, music, marketing, journalism and creative media.
No matter how many times Ms. Hill is delayed during her concerts, her loyal fanbase continues to come out to sold out venues waiting to hear her hits from The Fugees, to the Miseducation masterpiece and her latest musical works. This is a ‘must-see’ and ‘don’t-to-miss’ show.
Stay tuned throughout the summer for the latest events, festivals, neighborhood programs and social gatherings around our beautiful city.
Have a hot restaurant, cool event, dope find? Make sure to email us your event: firstname.lastname@example.org