Millennium Park to host hundreds of FREE events this summer

Spend your summer with Shirley Caesar, Blonde Redhead, Ferris Bueller, Storm Large, Eddie Palmieri, Charlie Chaplin, Rachel Barton Pine, Deborah Cox, Tortoise, Orbert Davis and others
Download the updated Millennium Park app for today’s events, interactive maps and more

CHICAGO, 2016-May-31 — /Travel PR News/ — This summer, Millennium Park will host hundreds of FREE events, May through September—including outdoor concerts featuring classical, opera, indie rock, world music, gospel music, Broadway, blues, jazz, Mariachi and more; films shown on a state-of-the-art, 40-foot LED screen—plus workouts, art exhibitions, family fun, nature programs, tours, open rehearsals and more.

“This summer, we invite Chicagoans and visitors to experience the stunning art and architecture of Millennium Park, which provides an amazing backdrop for hundreds of free cultural programs each year,” said Mayor Rahm Emanuel. “Millennium Park has become part of the cultural fabric of Chicago, bringing children and families together from all parts of the city to experience world class culture for free. With five million visitors to Millennium Park last year alone, I am proud to see it become Chicago’s second-largest tourist attraction and watch its popularity grow year after year.”

New this summer, an updated Millennium Park app provides details on all the events, viewable by date or series. The app allows users to “favorite” upcoming events and save them to their calendar, and to explore the park through maps and photography. Created by Jason Pickleman of JNL Graphic Design, Nicholas Gracilla of Neoteric Design and Cory Hohs of Janitor Ltd., it was made possible by the Millennium Park Foundation.

“Watching a free concert or movie under the stars in Millennium Park has become a Chicago summertime tradition,” said Donna LaPietra, chair of the Millennium Park Foundation. “Our updated app will make planning easier, so our guests may enjoy even more events—set against the dramatic skyline of downtown Chicago.”

Live music has been a hallmark of Millennium Park since its founding, and this summer is no exception. The Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events (DCASE) and its partners are pleased to present a diverse lineup of Chicago artists as well as musical acts from across the U.S. and the globe.

The 2016 Millennium Park Summer Music Series will offer an exciting line-up of 18 outdoor concerts on Mondays and Thursdays, June 6–August 25 (except where noted) at the Jay Pritzker Pavilion. The 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 of the season include the indie-rock band Blonde Redhead (series kickoff); legendary salsa and Latin jazz artist Eddie Palmieri; Swedish indie-folk singer José González; the king of Juju music, King Sunny Ade; Chicago improvised jazz legend Kelan Phil Cohran opening for DJ Spooky’s Rebirth of a Nation; the critically acclaimed blues ensemble Heritage Blues Quintet; and Tortoise (series finale). All performances are FREE, at the Jay Pritzker Pavilion.

The 31st Chicago Gospel Music Festival is returning to Millennium Park, June 3–4. The two-day festival offers national, international and local Gospel artists at the Jay Pritzker Pavilion including headliners Hezekiah Walker and the Love Fellowship Choir, Travis Greene, Shirley Caesar, William Murphy, Brian Courtney Wilson and many more. The event will also feature special Gospel Music-themed workouts on Saturday morning. Admission is FREE. For details, visit

The 38th Annual Chicago Jazz Festival is a favorite Labor Day Weekend tradition, September 1–4. On Thursday, the festival opens at the Chicago Cultural Center before moving to the Jay Pritzker Pavilion with Orbert Davis’ Soul Migration. Friday’s headliners include Oliver Lake and Charlie Haden’s Liberation Music Orchestra. The Bad Plus, the Anat Cohen Quartet, Eric Alexander/Harold Mabern Quartetand others headline on Saturday. And the festival comes to a close on Sunday with Candido’s 95th Birthday Celebration featuring M.F. Production’s Latin All Stars. Produced by DCASE and programmed by the Jazz Institute of Chicago, festival admission is FREE. For details, visit

The 18th Annual World Music Festival Chicago rounds out the city’s summer music festivals from September 9–25 in various locations including at Jay Pritzker Pavilion on Saturday, September 17 at 3–6pm. The city-wide, multi-venue festival has attracted over 750,000 concertgoers and has presented more than 750 artists and ensembles from over 80 countries since it began in 1999—making it the largest world music festival in the U.S. Artists will be announced at a later date. The festival is presented by DCASE; admission is FREE. For details, visit

Of course, Chicago’s acclaimed FREE outdoor classical music festival—the Grant Park Music Festival, June 15–August 20—celebrates its 82nd season this year, with the Grammy® Award-nominated Grant Park Orchestra led by Artistic Director and Principal ConductorCarlos Kalmar and the award-winning Grant Park Chorus led by Chorus Director Christopher Bell, in a summer of world premieres, Festival favorites and world-renowned guest artists—including Storm Large of Pink Martini fame on June 22; an Independence Day Salutefeaturing National Youth Choir of Scotland on July 4; Movie Night: Charlie Chaplin’s City Lights on July 6; violinist Rachel Barton Pine on July 13. Most performances are Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays at the Jay Pritzker Pavilion, presented by the Grant Park Orchestral Association in partnership with the Chicago Park District and DCASE. Start times vary. For the complete schedule, visit

Millennium Park Presents, May 26–September 9 (select dates), is a series of one-night-only performances curated by DCASE to showcase opera, dance, Broadway hits, classical and House music, Mariachi and more—performed by some of Chicago’s best-loved cultural institutions. This summer’s lineup includes Paint the Town Red presented by the Chicago Children’s Choir on Thursday, May 26 at 11am and 6:30pm; the Chicago House Party presented by DCASE on Saturday, May 28 at 3–9pm; Mahler’s “Resurrection” Symphony presented by Northwestern University Bienen School of Music on Sunday, May 29 starting at 6:30pm; the 2nd annual Chicago Mariachi Festival presented by the Mariachi Heritage Foundation on Sunday, June 26 at 3–9pm; the annual Broadway in Chicago Summer Concert on Monday, August 15 at 6:15pm—featuring R&B superstar Deborah Cox; the Chicago Dancing Festival finale, Dancing Under the Stars, on Saturday, August 27 at 7:30pm; a Summer Music Summit Concert featuring Midwest Young Artists Conservatory presented by the Lang Lang International Music Foundation on Sunday, August 28 at 6:30pm; and the Stars of Lyric Opera presented by Lyric Opera of Chicagoon Friday, September 9 at 7:30pm. All performances are FREE, at the Jay Pritzker Pavilion.

Additionally, Millennium Park Presents Make Music Chicago on Tuesday, June 21 at 11am–4pm. Make Music Chicago, presented by Rush Hour Concerts, links Chicago with over 700 cities worldwide for an annual music-making celebration on the Summer Solstice. Enjoy free musical events in Millennium Park’s Wrigley Square, including the Midwest Premiere performance of Guerrilla Fanfare by Kevin James co-presented with Ear Taxi Festival. Grant Park Music Festival Open Rehearsal at the Jay Pritzker Pavilion is also part of Make Music Chicago. For the complete schedule, visit

On Wednesday, September 14 at 7pm, the 3rd Annual Fifth Star Awards presented by DCASE and Allstate Insurance Company will celebrate Chicago’s creativity with a night of stars under the stars, honoring legendary Chicago artists and cultural institutions with electrifying live performances and moving video tributes. Admission is FREE for this public celebration at the Jay Pritzker Pavilion. For a list of the 2016 honorees and performers to be announced soon, visit

If outdoor movies are your thing, the Summer Film Series, Tuesdays, June 21–August 30 at 6:30pm is a must-see. Take a seat at the Jay Pritzker Pavilion or spread out a blanket on the Great Lawn to watch your favorite films on a state-of-the-art, 40-foot LED screen. The series is co-curated by DCASE and the Millennium Park Foundation. Highlights of the series include Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (1986; PG-13, 103 min.) on June 21, celebrating the 30th anniversary of this iconic ‘80s classic; a Full Moon Double Feature on July 19 showing Moonstruck(1988; PG, 102 min.) and Silence of the Lambs (1991; R, 118 min.); Purple Rain (1984; R, 111 min.) on August 23; and Audience Choicenight on August 30, for which audience members will vote on their Favorite Chicago Film throughout the summer. Before each feature film, a locally-produced ChicagoMade short film will be screened, showcasing work by Chicago-based filmmakers. Admission is FREE.

Another outdoor film will screen on Tuesday, June 7 at 6:30pm as part of a special Chicago Blues Festival Preview. Mavis! (2015; Unrated, 80 min.) is a film about Mavis Staples and the Staple Singers. Before the screening, enjoy a FREE live performance by Blues artistNellie “Tiger” Travis at 6pm.

For the fitness-minded—Millennium Park will once again offer FREE Summer Workouts on the Great Lawn funded by McDonald’s Active Lifestyles, Saturdays, June 4–September 3 featuring music during yoga and pilates and drumming during Zumba®. Workouts are 45 minutes with classes in Tai Chi at 7am, Yoga at 8am, Pilates at 9am and Zumba, a Latin-inspired calorie-burning dance fitness party, beginning at 10am. On Wednesdays, June 1–August 31, Wednesday Yoga is offered 7:30–8:15am.

Millennium Park will showcase six recent sculptures by American artist Chakaia Booker in an exhibition in the Boeing Galleries—runningApril 30, 2016, through April 2018. A seventh, site-responsive sculpture (a new work) will be added in September 2016 in the South Boeing Gallery. The Plain Dealer says, “The art of Chakaia Booker, who creates spectacular sculptures from discarded tires, melts expectations like burning rubber on pavement.” The exhibition is FREE; hours are 6am–11pm daily. Exhibition support to the Millennium Park Foundation is made possible by the Boeing Endowment with additional support from the Richard Driehaus Endowment. The sculpture selection committee is managed by the Millennium Park Foundation.

Families are invited to join the fun all summer long with activities, including music and arts and crafts, for kids of all ages, at the Family Fun Festival, June 20–August 21, 10am–2pm. The daily schedule includes Wiggleworms® at 10am with the Old Town School of Folk Music, a Reading Circle at 11am and Family Performances at 1pm. Activity Zone partners change weekly and include Lurie Garden, (new), Barrel of Monkeys, Chicago Architecture Foundation, Chicago History Museum, Museum of Science and Industry, Art Institute of Chicago, Lookingglass Theater and the Swedish American Museum. The series is presented by the Millennium Park Foundation (grant support provided by Lloyd A. Fry Foundation, managed by the Millennium Park Foundation), under the tent at Chase Promenade North. Admission is FREE.

And for teens and visitors of all ages, the After School Matters Summer Program on Mondays–Fridays, June 27–August 12, 9am–1pmwill showcase Chicago teens discovering their potential all summer long—including furniture painting, hat design, mural creation and more (under the tent at Chase Promenade South)—and After School Matters Jazz Band rehearsals and performances (Wrigley Square). After School Matters provides opportunities for Chicago teens to develop their talents in the arts, communications, science, sports and technology, while gaining critical skills for work, college and beyond. For details, visit

Lurie Garden is a 5-acre urban oasis for fun and enrichment in the Southeast corner of Millennium Park, open daily 6am–11pm. FREE summer event include the annual Lurie Garden Plant Sale on Saturday, June 4, 10am–2pm (with hands-on gardening programs and tips) and several lecture-demonstrations for all ages including Insect Habitats on June 18; Raptors! on June 21, July 19 and August 23; Art in the Garden on June 26 and July 24; Stories, Songs and Circle Games (ages 4–6) on July 10 and August 7; Wildlife! on July 12 and August 9; and Stories and Ecology on July 17 and August 14. Lurie Garden is supported by the Ann and Robert H. Lurie Foundation Endowment managed by the Millennium Park Foundation. For details and registration information, visit Stay in touch with Lurie Garden by liking us on Facebook (The Lurie Garden) and following us on Twitter and Instagram, @LurieGarden.

Throughout the summer, take advantage of FREE Lurie Garden Tours, May 12–September 23 offered Thursdays and Fridays 11am–1:15pm and Sundays 11am–2:15pm. Take a 20-minute guided tour to learn about the Garden’s design and history, perennial plants and wildlife. Or take a guided walk of the entire Park and learn more about its history, art and architecture—as part of the FREE Millennium Park Greeter Service offered daily, May 27–October 9 (except May 30, July 4 and September 5) at 11:30am and 1pm. Greeter walks depart from Randolph Lobby at the Chicago Cultural Center, 77 E. Randolph Street. Space is limited to 10 people.

Millennium Park is located on Michigan Avenue, bordered by Randolph St. to the north, Columbus Dr. to the east and Monroe St. to the south. The Park is open 6am–11pm daily. Convenient parking is located in the Millennium Park Garage (entrance on Columbus at Monroe or Randolph) and Grant Park North. For the latest news and events, visit, call 312.742.1168, like us on Facebook(Millennium Park) and follow us on Twitter and Instagram, @Millennium_Park.


Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events

The Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events is dedicated to enriching Chicago’s artistic vitality and cultural vibrancy. This includes fostering the development of Chicago’s non-profit arts sector, independent working artists and for-profit arts businesses; providing a framework to guide the City’s future cultural and economic growth, via the 2012 Chicago Cultural Plan; marketing the City’s cultural assets to a worldwide audience; and presenting high-quality, free and affordable cultural programs for residents and visitors.


Jamey Lundblad    312.744.2493,

Christine Carrino    312.744.0573,