Question is which one? And why?
Accordingly, we’ve hand-picked the five festivals you must hit to properly get the most out of summer.
Things are just heatin' up.
Photo: Jeff Marini
For the hootenanny-lovin’ BBQ connoisseur: Windy City Smokeout
Country tunes and BBQ: Could there be a better union? No, sir. A ticket to the Windy City Smokeout grants you entry to basically the cookout of the summer — an immense food fete featuring a roundup of world-renowned pitmasters, from Scott Roberts of Texas’s Salt Lick BBQ to hometown heroes like Barry Sorkin (Smoque) and Charlie McKenna (Lillie's Q). All this in a city with nothing but reverence for the ‘cue. (July 15-17)
2 Dope Queens
For comedy fans, period: The 3rd Annual 26th Annual Comedy Festival
Despite its tongue-in-cheek name, the Onion and A.V. Club’s comedy festival returns for its third year to multiple venues across the city with its finest lineup to date. Headliners include Tracy Morgan and Sarah Silverman, while other can’t-miss shows include a ClickHole live performance, Michael Che, Reggie Watts and 2 Dope Queens. You’ll wanna check out the full roster of funnies here, and look out for after-parties at the Virgin Hotel. (June 1-5)
Mamby on the Beach/Facebook
For festival-goers who’ve been working out all winter: Mamby on the Beach
A two-day waterfront fest featuring summer’s most beach-friendly music lineup with the likes of Chromeo, Mayer Hawthorne and Chet Faker. We say beach-friendly because it’s taking place at Oakwood 41st Street beach, and you better believe it’ll be skin-on-skin-on-skin. Only its in second year, Mamby’s quickly becoming a summer go-to. Start working out now. (July 2-3)
For the indie music festival that doesn’t age discriminate: Pitchfork Music Festival
Though billed year after year as the city’s “hipster music fest,” the truth is Pitchfork brings the most diverse, most mature lineup to the city each summer. Point is: less neonates, better music. Talkin’ Beach House to Anderson Paak, Brian Wilson to Kamasi Washington, and the proverbial “so much more.” Three-day pass? Worth it. (July 16-17)
For old (and young) men who love the sea: Tall Ships Festival
Hop aboard the world’s largest viking ship at the Tall Ships Festival, sailing into Navy Pier at the end of July for a five-day stint. If you’re on the hunt for at least one kid-friendly festival this summer, this is the one. Your inner-child with thank you, too. (July 27-31)
This is the first installment of 37 Things a Man's Gotta Do This Summer, our annual compendium of everything worth seeing, doing, eating, drinking and generally making time for in your neck of the woods between now and September