The final weekend before Chicago Public Schools classes start looks to be a hot one, both weather-wise and with the many events happening in the area. Soak up every bit of summer break with festivals centered around jollof rice or basketball. And, love it or hate it, the Air and Water Show is back in all its ear-shattering glory.
Here are five picks for the next few days ahead.
For more ideas, see the full WBEZ Summer 250, our curated guide of 250+ events for planning the waning weeks of Chicago summer, 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.
Lot Jams: Radio Free Honduras
This summer’s Lot Jams series offers free, pop-up concerts around Albany Park. The Radio Free Honduras night mixes Honduran Punta, known for its interactive call-and-response, with Spanish flamenco and jazz fusion. Tapestry Health, 3737 W. Lawrence Ave. Free.
Try plenty of varieties on this one-pot rice dish native to many countries in West Africa. Festivalgoers will also get to help pick the winner of the “Jollof Wars” that pit representative dishes from each country against each other. The Promontory, 5311 South Lake Park Ave. From $25.
Dance for Life
For 32 years, Dance for Life has raised money for an emergency fund to help members of Chicago’s dance community. This year will feature performances from the Joffrey Ballet, Hubbard Street Dance Chicago, BOOM CRACK! Dance Company, Hiplet Ballerinas and South Chicago Dance Theatre. Don’t miss the afterparty at VenueSix10. Auditorium Theatre, 50 E. Ida B. Wells Drive. From $25.
Sunday in the Park with Lyric Opera
Opera under the stars: Lyric Opera music director Enrique Mazzola conducts favorites from the 2023-2024 opera season in this free concert in Millennium Park. 201 E. Randolph St. Free.
Air and Water Show (and practice)
It’s a bird! It’s a plane! Specifically it’s the Thunderbirds screaming across the sky over downtown Chicago. Watch fighters and parachute teams perform death-defying stunts over Lake Michigan at the Chicago Air and Water Show. The best view is from North Avenue Beach, but really it’s wherever you can find a great rooftop in the city. Here’s a helpful WBEZ guide to the event. North Avenue Beach and along the lakefront. Free.
Bianca Cseke is a digital producer at WBEZ.