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Free Neighborhood Festivals in Illinois

Don't have the money to go out, but want to have some fun this weekend? No problem! Whether you're into music, family fun, art, pets, or a little of everything, there's something for everyone at free festivals. Here are some yearly neighborhood festivals in Chicago that are free and entertaining!


Kids and Kites Festival

The Kids and Kites Festival is held in Lincoln Park, with this year's date being May 4. There are free kite kits courtesy of the City of Chicago (as long as supplies last), so kids can have a blast learning how to make, decorate, and fly their own kites. You can also watch pros fly their kites and see balloon artists make their crazy creations.

The Chicago Gospel Music Festival

Popular past performers at this exciting festival include the Elder Thomas Singers, LaVarnga Hubbard, Hector Dominguez, and Pastor Dan Willis and the ChoZen Youth Choir. Kids can check out open mic shows and youth choirs. It will be held May 31-June 1 at Millennium Park and the Chicago Cultural Center.


Southport Art Fest

Grab your art-loving friends and explore cool art made by local artists in Chicago's Southport Corridor, July 13–14. Jewelry, paintings, photography, and sculpture will be on display.

Chicago Jazz Festival

Wondering how to beat the summer heat? Chilling out with the live music of the Chicago Jazz Festival is the answer. Stay cool at this free lakefront music festival (August 23 to September 1) that showcases all forms of jazz. Food and drink vendors sell goods that hit the spot when you get hungry or thirsty.


Lincoln Park Zoo Fall Fest

Check out the Lincoln Park Zoo's Fall Fest, which takes place over five weekends starting September 29. It includes a corn maze, a pumpkin patch, a hay mountain kids can climb up, and a Ferris wheel. On the last weekend's Sunday (October 29), kids can trick-or-treat for free at the Spooky Zoo. Admission is free, but there's a fee for rides.

Spooky Pooch Parade

Love dogs? Love costumes? Love to see dogs wearing costumes? Then make a beeline for the Spooky Pooch Parade, held October 13 this year in the Chicago Botanic Garden. For two hours, pets and their owners can strut their stuff for fun and awards. It's free to watch the parade, but if you're bringing a dog, there's a registration fee.


Magnificent Mile Lights Festival

November 22–23 are the dates of the Magnificent Mile Lights Festival, where folks can view a Christmas tree lighting and parade on Michigan Avenue. Enjoy the family-friendly fun and festivities that end with fireworks by the Chicago River.

Chinese New Year

Bring your friends and family out to enjoy the Chinese Lunar New Year Parade in Chicago's Chinatown, which will be on February 5 in 2020. Enjoy cool floats, colorful dragon dancers, and marching bands. You can also swing by the Navy Pier's Chinese New Year Celebration for music, crafts, food, and performances.

Despite these festivals being free, you can always go to to get an online personal loan. Loans are as much as $4,000 and we can help you get some extra money in your pocket to get the most out of Illinois’s festivals!

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