Streeterville Community Events

Once you move into Streeterville, you’ve got to get used to being — or at least living in — the center of attention.

While it might seem hard to make events in Streeterville stand out (after all, life tucked between the Magnificent Mile and Navy Pier rarely lacks for fun), there are plenty of special occasions that make the neighborhood’s rich lifestyle richer still.

Streeterville community events hit every page of the calendar, every age group, and seemingly every interest.

Magnificent Mile Lights Festival: Each year, on the Saturday after Thanksgiving, more than 1 million people line the Mag Mile to get in the holiday spirit as a parade traces the grand boulevard while holiday lights in the trees come to life, marking the parade’s progress. More than 200 trees are illuminated en route to the City of Chicago’s official Christmas tree lighting ceremony.

Chicago Air and Water Show: Probably the most popular of all events in Streeterville, this is the largest free show of its kind in the United States. The annual August event is designed for best viewing at Oak Street Beach, just north of Navy Pier. Now in its 60th year, the show routinely features top civilian stunt pilots, military aircraft, U.S. Navy Blue Angels, U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds and U.S. Army Golden Knights parachute team — along with roughly 2 million spectators over two days.

EXPO CHICAGO: Picking up where the seminal contemporary art fair, Art Chicago, left off, EXPO CHICAGO is an annual highlight of the art calendar. The 2018 edition is a three-day September event featuring 135 exhibitors from 27 countries and 63 cities. Original works by emerging and established artists share space beside books, prints, collectibles and photography.

Navy Pier Is Peerless

Chicago’s landmark landing is more than a 200-foot Ferris wheel and spectacular vistas. Navy Pier has a full slate of Streeterville community events. Free plays, musical performances and weekly outdoor movies are among the offerings. Or, if you’re more action oriented, weekly Rush Hour Workouts let you work up a sweat on the Wave Wall Performance Platform on the South Dock. But when you’re highlighting events in Streeterville, here are some of the Pier’s mainstays and new ventures:

  • Aon Summer Fireworks at Navy Pier: Spanning summer’s bookend weekends — Memorial Day and Labor Day — twice weekly fireworks shows light up the night sky. Shows are Wednesdays at 9:30 p.m. and Saturdays at 10:15 p.m.
  • Water Colors – Free Jazz Series: In partnership with the Jazz Institute of Chicago, Navy Pier hosts weekly live jazz performances on the Lake Stage in Polk Bros These 90-minute sets hit the stage at 6:30 p.m. from July through August.
  • Quinceañera Photo Day: Teaming with the National Museum of Mexican Art, Navy Pier launched a program this year offering free professional photos to 15-year-old birthday girls wearing their quinceañera Registration is required, but a free digital download of the photo is provided, along with a free ticket for a ride on the pier’s Ferris wheel.
  • Chicago Flower & Garden Show: Annually drawing more than 40,000 attendees to the Pier’s Festival Hall, this March show prepares gardeners of every stripe for the coming spring with displays exploring every facet of horticulture.