This weekend in Chicago brings the highly anticipated Pitchfork Music Festival and Beyoncé within blocks of each other — but if big concerts aren’t your speed, don’t worry. The city has so many other events to check out, whether you’re interested in music, tacos, floating down the Chicago River or something else entirely.
Here are five picks for the few days ahead. For more ideas, see the full WBEZ Summer 250, our curated guide of 250+ events for planning your best Chicago summer ever, with easy sorting to help you pick what’s right for you. You can also text “SUMMER” to 312312 for weekly picks in one of three categories: family-friendly, outdoor concerts or the best of all events.
Millennium Park Summer Music Series: Stephen Marley
The second eldest son of Bob Marley is a legend in his own right, racking up eight Grammy Awards over his career. He’s also proven his chops as a producer: In 2022, he released Celebrating Nina: A Reggae Tribute to Nina Simone. Millennium Park, 201 E. Randolph St. Free.
Horner Brew Fest
Crack open a bottle of cold craft beer or cider from more than 30 breweries at Horner Park, the last remaining city park with a grove of healthy ash trees. This fundraiser supports the Horner Park Advisory Council’s sustainability initiatives to keep the North Side green. Horner Park, 2741 W. Montrose Ave. From $50.
Friends of the Chicago River: Chicago River Float
Float down the North Branch of the Chicago River with more than 300 friends on inner tubes, kiddie pools, and floaty toys. All proceeds go to cleaning the river through the non-profit organization Friends of the Chicago River. River Park, 5100 N. Francisco Ave. $50.
Tacos y Tamales Fest
Tacos y Tamales Chicago returns to Pilsen to bring together a variety of flavors and dishes from Latin America. In addition to food vendors, art and other craft vendors will have booths for browsing and live musical and dance performances will keep spirits high. South Peoria and W. 16th streets. $10 suggested donation.
Millennium Park Summer Music Series: Kurt Vile and the Violators
Don’t be fooled by his slacker attitude, Philly psychedelic rocker Kurt Vile has been blessed by the likes of Neil Young and Thurston Moore. Last year the former lead guitarist of the War on Drugs released an album that’s full of spacey self-reflections and a signature twang reminiscent of Young. Millennium Park, 201 E. Randolph St. Free.
Bianca Cseke is a digital producer at WBEZ.