Where to hear free music in Chicago this summer

When it comes to free concerts, you won’t have to look far in Chicago this summer. From performances in the neighborhood parks to world-class performances in Grant Park, music fans of all stripes are spoiled for choice. Slather on the sunscreen, pack a picnic basket, and check out these free music concerts on the schedule in Chicago this summer.

Chicago Park District

If you’re looking for a free concert, you might not have to look past your neighborhood park. Chicago Park District’s famed Night Out in the Parks program has soul, R&B, jazz, blues, world music and so much more on the schedule all summer. Concerts are free, and upcoming shows include Afro-Puerto Rican music at Kelvyn Park (June 16), I Love Music at Fuller Park (June 27), and a Drum Circle at Mozart Park (July 15).

Grant Park Music Festival

Instead of hitting a fast food place for dinner after work — again — pack a dinner, grab a blanket and plan to hear performances of classical music with the iconic Grant Park Music Festival. This year’s season runs June 15 through August 20 in Millennium Park (201 E. Randolph St., Chicago) and includes performances of works by Chopin, Cole Porter, and so many more composers. Don't forget the Independence Day Salute on July 4.

McAninch Arts Center

The suburbs will offer quite a few free concerts this summer, too. McAninch Arts Center (425 Fawell Blvd., Glen Ellyn) is located on the College of DuPage’s campus in Glen Ellyn and will host the 2016 Lakeside Pavilion Free Outdoor Summer Series. Upcoming shows include performances by The Buckinghams (July 29), Walter “Wolfman” Washington & The Roadmasters (August 4), and New Philharmonic Lakeside Pavilion Concert (August 12). Concerts start at 7:30 p.m., and the full calendar of events is available online.

Millennium Park

With festivals and concerts on the schedule, Millennium Park (201 E. Randolph St., Chicago) has a number of free performances planned. Must-see events include the Chicago Gospel Music Festival (June 3 and 4) and the park’s Summer Music Series, which starts June 6. You won’t need to worry about grabbing a great seat, as the park has a stellar sound system.

Naperville Rollin’ on the River

Americana, rock, folk and so much more will be on the schedule for this year’s Rollin’ on the River. The summer season starts June 10 with guitarist Andrew Huber taking the stage, and performances are held at Jackson Avenue and Webster Street in Naperville. Heads up: The season runs through August 5.

Rush Hour Concerts

You’d like to hear a live performance or two this summer, but maybe you’re short on time. What’s a fan of classical music to do? That’s where the Rush Hour Concerts come in. Held on Tuesdays at St. James Cathedral (65 E. Huron St., Chicago) starting at 5 p.m., the free concert series kicks off June 7. Performances are 30 minutes in length, and upcoming shows include performances of folk songs, classical music, and other musical genres.

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