Save the Dates: Chicago's Top Events in 2014

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Monday, January 13, 2014 - 10:19am

It’s easy to spot a tourist as they bounce from place to place and explore Chicago’s great architecture with childlike wonder. Inspiring readers to take advantage of the city with the same gusto as the tourists, is something the TLT Team wishes all Chicagoans would do every once and while.

So to help make 2014 an amazing year for all tourists, local and out-of-towners, here are “a few” days to mark on your calendar.

February 8-17 – Chicago Auto Show

From vintage rides to futuristic concepts, if you have motor oil in your veins, or are searching for a new car, this is the place to be. (Ticket info)

March 4 – Chicago’s 176th Birthday! 

Swing by your favorite food truck, donut shop, cupcake stand or speakeasy and celebrate the Windy City’s b-day.

April 24 – Dining Out for Life

More than 80 restaurants and 9,000 hungry philanthropists come together for the one-night only fundraiser benefiting the Edge Alliance and HIV/AIDS research. (More info)

April 25-26 – Baconfest! (UIC Forum)

Celebrating all things pork, Baconfest is an artery-clogging festival that will send you straight to hog heaven. VIP tickets are on sale and general admission tickets go on sale in February. (Ticket info)

April 25 – WhiskyFest (Hyatt Regency Chicago)

More than 300 whiskies from around the world. Do we need we say more? (Ticket info)

April 25-27 – Chicago Comic and Entertainment Expo, aka C2E2 (McCormick Place)

Three days of the latest and greatest from the worlds of comics, movies, television, toys, anime, manga and video games.  (Ticket info)

May 3 – Kids and Kites Festival (Montrose Harbor)

Be a kid again and finally have some fun with Lake Michigan’s wind. (More info)

May 3 – Green City Market’s First Day Outside (Lincoln Park)

The unofficial start to another great summer of fresh fruits and veggies. (More info)

May 24 – Fireworks at Navy Pier (Navy Pier)

The weekly celebration of fireworks kicks of Memorial Day Weekend and runs through the summer! (More info)

June 7 – Millennium Park Workouts Kickoff (Millennium Park, Great Lawn)

Free workout classes including Tai Chi, Yoga, Pilates and Zumba. (More info)

June 11 (estimated) – Grant Park Symphony Festival (Jay Pritzker Pavilion, Grant Park)

A free classical concert series on Chicago's lakefront featuring the Grant Park Orchestra & Chorus. (More info)

June 13-15 – 31st Annual Chicago Blues Festival (Grant Park)

Proving that Chicago is the "Blues Capital of the World," this three-day festival is the largest free blues festival in the world with five stages and more than 500,000 blues fans. (More info)

June 13-20 – Chicago Bike Week (Citywide)

The Windy City is well on its way to being a pedal powered city and this could be the biggest bike week we’ve ever seen. This year culminates with a Bike to Work Rally on Friday, June 20th at Daley Plaza. (More info)

July 9-13 – Taste of Chicago (Grant Park – pictured above)

A combination of great food and music – this is Chicago at its finest.  (More info)

July 12 – The Great Bull Run (Hawthorne Race Course)

Grab life by the horns as 24 1,500-pound bulls challenge you to a quarter-mile race.  (Tickets are on sale now.)

July 18-20 – Pitchfork (Union Park)

Details are slim on the annual alternative rock, rap and electronic music festival, so stay tuned. (More info)

August 1-3 – Lollapalooza

The line-up is TBD but early bird tickets go on sale this spring. (Ticket info)

August 16-17 – Air and Water Show (North Ave. Beach)

Grab your beach blankets and water bottles for a weekend of aerial awesomeness. (More info)

September 12-14 – Riot Fest (Humboldt Park)

The line-up is TBD but early bird tickets are already sold out. Stay tuned for general admission tickets. (Ticket info)

September 26-28 – Chicago Gourmet

Showcasing more than 100 of Chicago’s finest restaurants and chefs, this is the white table cloth culinary festival of the year. (Ticket info)

October 3-4 – Great Chicago Fire Festival

Featuring acrobatics, live music, wild mechanical objects, a grand procession and fire spectacle will float down the main branch of the Chicago River. (More info)

October 12 – Bank of America Marathon

After a summer of food and music festivals, 40,000 runners will burn it off.  Registration opens in March. (Race info)

October 24-26 - Green Festival (Navy Pier)

As the days get darker, learn about new ways to go green with some of the nation’s top speakers, eco-friend stores and DIY workshops. (More info)

October 30 - November 2 – SOFA Art + Design Fair (Navy Pier)

The annual art exposition dedicated to bridging the worlds of design, decorative and fine art. (More info)

November 14 – Ice skating begins at the McCormick Tribune Ice Rick (Millennium Park)

Bring your own or rent a pair at the rink, this is a perfect winter date. (More info)

November 22 - BMO Harris Bank Magnificent Mile Lights Festival 

The unofficial start of Christmas on Michigan Avenue and a perfect time to host out of town guests. (More info)

November 25 – Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony and the Christkindlmarket Opens (Daley Plaza)

City Hall kicks off the festival season with the 101st Christmas tree lighting ceremony and the most authentic German Christmas market outside Germany. (More info)

And don’t forget to check out our free museums day page

Joe Piehl's picture
Chicago Editor Joe Piehl
Joe Piehl

A TLT contributor since 2010, Joe is the Chicago Editor. Outside TLT, Joe keeps an eye out for awesome activities and he writes a travel blog: Joe the Explorer.

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