Chicago is the place to be this summer

CHICAGO (WLS) -- When summer arrives, Chicago comes alive with a host of events the whole family can enjoy. Many of the events put on by the city are free for everyone to enjoy. Michelle Boone, Commissioner at the Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events, sat down with ABC 7 Eyewitness News to preview some of the fun you can join for 2016.

May 28 -
11 a.m. - Wreath ceremony at Daley Plaza
Noon - Parade begins at State and Lake Streets

June 3-4 -
Chicago Cultural Center (noon-4 p.m. on June 3) and Millennium Park (6-9:30 p.m. on June 3 and 4-9:30 p.m. on June 4)

The festival will showcase the best in local, national, and international gospel entertainers in the city where gospel music originated.

Headliners include: Chicago Mass Choir, New Direction, Kenny Lewis and One Voice, Hezekia Walker, Travis Greene, Shirley Caesar, among others.

June 10-12 -
Grant Park
11 a.m. - 9:30 p.m.

The world's largest free blues festival presents performers on multiple stages playing to more than 500,000 fans, reinforcing Chicago's claim on the title of blues capital of the world.

The highlight of this year's festival is a tribute to the legendary Otis Rush on Sunday, June 12.

Festival headliners include: Shemekia Copeland with guest Curtis Salgado, Lil' Ed and the Blues Imperials with guest Corky Siegel, Tommy Castro and The Painkillers with guest Toronzo Cannon, Fred Wesley and the New JB's, Irma Thomas, Wee Willie Walker & We "R", Eddy "The Chief" Clearwater and Ronnie Earl & The Broadcasters.

Fridays-Sundays, June 24-September 11, weather permitting

Grant Park's Spirit of Music Garden - 601 S. Michigan Ave.

The nation's largest annual outdoor dancing series, Chicago SummerDance will celebrate its 20th year of bringing dancing under stars in Grant Park to people of all ages and skill levels on a 4,900-square-foot, open-air dance floor.

The series offers free one-hour dance lessons by professional instructors followed by two hours of music and dancing.

July 6-10,
Grant Park
11 a.m. - 9 p.m. Wednesday - Friday
10 a.m. - 9 p.m. Saturday and Sunday

The Taste of Chicago is the nation's premier outdoor food festival, showcasing the diversity of Chicago's dining community with area restaurant booths that feature more than 200 menu items.

Highlights include a three-course Citibank Celebrity Chef du Jour dining experience prepared by top local chefs, pop-up restaurants, food trucks, and the Lifeway cooking demos.

Our Petrillo Music Shell headliners include: The Roots, The Decemberists, The Kongos, Billy Idol, The Isley Brothers featuring Ronald and Ernie Isley AND Sheila E

We'll be announcing our restaurants for 2016 next week as well as our Celebrity Chefs

$8.50 for 12 food tickets, $45 Celebrity Chef du Jour, ticket prices vary for Petrillo concert seating, free lawn seating

August 20-21 -
North Avenue Beach
10 a.m. - 3 p.m.

The U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds and the U.S. Army Parachute Team Golden Knights return to the lakefront for one of the largest free events of its kind.

Presented by Shell, The longstanding summer tradition includes a wide variety of civilian acts with daredevil pilots performing their aerial stunts in the skies above Lake Michigan.

September 1-4 -
Chicago Cultural Center and Millennium Park
11 a.m. - 9:30 p.m.
This Labor Day weekend tradition showcases Chicago's vast jazz talent along with national and international artists to entertain, encourage, and educate a jazz audience of all ages.

Headliners include: Orbert Davis, Charlie Haden's Liberation Music Orchestra Directed by Carla Bley, Benny Golson Quartet, Anat Cohen Quartet, John Scofield/Joe Lovano Quartet The Bad Plus play Ornette Coleman's Science Fiction featuring Tim Berne, Ron Miles & Sam Newsome AND Candido Camero's 95th Birthday Celebration

June - September,

Millennium Park Summer Film Series
Tuesdays, June 21 - August 30, at 6:30 p.m.

Chicagoans and visitors alike are invited to enjoy outdoor movies downtown as the popular Summer Film Series returns to Millennium Park,

Guests may take a seat at the Jay Pritzker Pavilion or lounge on the Great Lawn as crowd-pleasing movies are presented on a state-of-the-art, 40-foot LED screen.

This year's line-up kicks off with the Chicago classic Ferris Bueller's Day Off in celebration of the film's 30th anniversary and then continues with other exciting titles including Thelma & Louise, Finding Nemo AND Purple Rain.

Additionally, this year's series includes the first-ever "Full Moon Double Feature" showing of Moonstruck and Silence of the Lambs, as well as an "Audience Choice" night where fans will be able to vote on a favorite Chicago film to be screened in the park.

Millennium Park Summer Music Series
Mondays and Thursdays, June 6 - August 25, 6 p.m.
The 2016 Millennium Park Summer Music Series will offer an exciting line-up of 18 FREE outdoor concerts at the Jay Pritzker Pavilion in Millennium Park (except where noted on the website).

The Millennium Park Music Series (formerly 'Downtown Sound' and 'Made in Chicago: World Class Jazz') has been reimagined to feature a wider variety of genre-defying music from top local, national and international artists - both established and emerging.

Highlights include the indie-rock band Blonde Redhead (series kickoff); legendary salsa and Latin jazz artist Eddie Palmieri; Swedish indie-folk singer Jose Gonzalez; the king of Juju music, King Sunny Ade; Chicago improvised jazz legend Phil Cohran; and the critically acclaimed blues ensemble Heritage Blues Orchestra.

Millennium Park Summer Workouts
Saturdays, June 4-September 3, beginning at 7 a.m.

Instructors lead Tai Chi, Yoga, Pilates and Zumba classes accompanied by music, DJs and drumming. Each class is 45 minutes

All workouts are FREE and take place on the Great Lawn.

Additionally, for Chicagoans and visitors looking for a midweek workout, Wednesday Yoga returns this year on Wednesdays, June 1-August 31, 7:30-8:15 a.m.
Copyright © 2021 WLS-TV. All Rights Reserved.