The Best Outdoor Concerts in Chicago This Summer

There’s just something about summer in Chicago that makes you want to go drinking in a park, especially when live music is involved. In that spirit, we scoured the city’s summer lineup to find all of the season’s upcoming occasions for al fresco rocking, from high-minded wine sipping at Ravinia to full-throated mullet parties in Tinley Park. Let’s make this summer count, people.

John Legend
John Legend | JStone/Shutterstock

Jack Johnson, Bahamas

An appropriate first concert of the season at Northerly Island. Flowery shirts required.

Future, Migos, Tory Lanez

The Auto-Tune expert, and some of rap’s hottest up-and-comers, in action.


Ever heard of them? They’re the band with that guy with the glasses. The Lumineers, with the suspenders and such, support.

Spring Awakening Music Festival

Armin van Buuren, Diplo, and Martin Garrix headline summer’s big EDM fest.

Chicago Blues Festival

Gary Clark Jr., William Bell, and Billy Branch and the Son of Blues top the world’s largest free blues festival.

Rise Against, Deftones, Thrice

A triple bill of great punk rock. Expect a political joke or two.

Dave Matthews and Tim Reynolds

Dave returns with his virtuoso guitarist buddy for an acoustic evening.

John Legend

Ravinia, the oldest outdoor festival series, kicks off its 2017 season with a true legend. (Sorry.)

Elvis Costello and the Imposters

And then Huntington hosts another legend.

Otis Taylor, Ben Sollee & Kentucky Native

A true storyteller, Taylor provides a unique take on classic Chicago blues.

Old Town School of Folk Music

Old Town School of Folk curates this series of free shows at The Park at Wrigley on select summer Tuesdays.

Paul Simon

Paul always makes for a great evening outdoors

Iron Maiden, Ghost

Yes, Eddie will be in attendance.

Seu Jorge

Performing The Life Aquatic: A Tribute to David Bowie, in which the Brazilian singer covers the Thin White Duke’s hits.

No BS! Brass Band, Dayme Arocena

The spirit of New Orleans runs into East Coast funk for a great party.

Willie Nelson and Family

Something might smell skunky at Willie’s show.

Aretha Franklin

You better not think about the Queen of Soul.

Don Henley

The Eagles’ founding member tours in support of 2015’s Cass County.

Metallica, Avenged Sevenfold

On the WorldWired Tour. Expect much shredding.

La La Land in Concert

Courtesy of the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra. Work on your Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone impressions.

Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, Chris Stapleton

Petty’s first show at Wrigley is part of the band’s 40th anniversary tour. He has a few hits you might have heard.

Sammy Hagar and the Circle

Yep, the Cabo Wabo founder and one-time Van Halen front man still plays music.

Gregory Porter, The Tomeka Reid Quartet

The jazz acts perform for Millennium Park’s Juneteenth abolition celebration.

Hurray for the Riff Raff, Matthew Santos

Cool folk tunes with an energized drive, courtesy of the New Orleans act.

Windy City Lakeshake

Miranda Lambert, Rascal Flatts, and Thomas Rhett headline Chicago’s big country music fest.

Gipsy Kings

You won’t hear better flamenca all summer.


The local hero performs in support of his most recent album, Black America Again.

Def Leppard, Poison, Tesla

Bret Michaels will be so happy to see you, as will the rest of the ‘80s metal dudes.

Body/Head, Diamond Terrifier Cipher, FACS

Kim Gordon and co. play  the cemetery’s annual “Beyond the Gates” summer solstice concert.


German hard rock at its loudest. Pretend you know the words.

Michael McDonald, Boz Scaggs

Might as well take a booze cruise before the Yacht Rock stylings of Mr. McDonald.

Old Town School of Folk Music

Old Town School of Folk curates this series of free shows at The Park at Wrigley on select summer Tuesdays.

Diana Krall

A great evening with the jazz vocalist and pianist.

Lady Wray

A protege of Missy Elliott, the soulful Lady Wray is an act you should know about, stat.

Dead and Company

A few members of the Dead and John Mayer come to Chicago for the first time. And they’re back on July 1.

The Moody Blues

He’s just a singer in a rock and roll band.

Train, O.A.R., Natasha Bedingfield

Relive that crazy game of poker, and wash yourself off in some drops in Jupiter.
James Taylor
James Taylor | Debby Wong/Shutterstock

Styx, REO Speedwagon, Don Felder

Mullets encouraged.

Guster, Dispatch, Esme Patterson

Take in some light college rock with the Dispatch: America, Location 12 tour.

The Beach Boys, The Temptations

Wouldn’t it be nice (if all the band members were still alive and got along)?

311, New Politics, The Skints

Skate or die, dude.

Lindsey Buckingham and Christine McVie

The Fleetwood Mac members go their own way.

Nine Worlds Ensemble

Celebrate Independence Day with the sounds of this chamber-pop group.

Third Eye Blind, Silversun Pickups

It’s billed as “The Summer Gods Tour.” Do with that what you will.

Buddy Guy, Booker T. Jones

A great chance to see the local blues legend and some soul royalty outside of his usual South Loop digs.

Boston, Joan Jett and the Blackhearts

Just a band out of Beantown and a hard-rocking lady who doesn’t care if she has a bad reputation.

Sheryl Crow

Playing all the hits on her Be Myself Tour.

Sam Hunt, Maren Morris, Chris Janson

The former Kenny Chesney/Keith Urban songwriter is now a bona fide country star in his own right.

Slightly Stoopid, Iration, J Boog

Expect “healthy” amounts of bong smoke and tattoos.

Natalie Prass, Angelica Garcia

From the Pitchfork Music Fest stage to the Pritzker Pavilion, the singer-songwriter puts on a great show.

Old Town School of Folk Music

Old Town School of Folk curates this series of free shows at The Park at Wrigley on select summer Tuesdays.

Chicago, The Doobie Brothers

Chicago in Chicago. What more do you need?

Toto La Momposina, Xenia Rubinos

Check out the musical blend of Colombia’s African, Indian, and Spanish cultures.

Pitchfork Music Festival

LCD Soundsystem, A Tribe Called Quest, and Solange headline the annual hipster-palooza.

Chicago Open Air

Kiss, Korn, and Ozzy Osbourne are the biggest names at the Bridgeview metal fest.


Night one of a three-night stand (or stagger).

OneRepublic, Fitz and the Tantrums

Fitz is worth the admission price alone.

Jimmy Buffett, Huey Lewis

Suburban dads, rejoice!

James Taylor, Bonnie Raitt

Carolina may be on his mind, but this is Wrigley dammit. See these two legends together while you can.

Big Thief, Overcoats

Two indie rock acts you’ll be hearing much more about soon.

Old Town School of Folk Music

Old Town School of Folk curates this series of free shows at The Park at Wrigley on select summer Tuesdays.

Drive-By Truckers, Honeysuckle

Patterson Hood and company are still doing their acclaimed Southern rock thing after 20-plus years.

Umphrey’s McGee

The Chicago favorites return for more jams.

Blondie, Garbage

The Rage and Rapture Tour, featuring two of the most badass women in rock.

Jill Scott, Bell Biv Devoe, Kelly Rowland, Nelly

See the R&B greats at of V103’s third Summer Block Party.

Vans Warped Tour

The long-running punk tour features Anti-Flag, Bowling for Soup, GWAR, and about a billion others.

Violent Femmes, Echo and the Bunnymen

Solid bill of stalwarts.

Andrew Bird, Esperanza Spalding, Mucca Pazza

The whistling violinist singer-songwriter headlines the finest indie rock show at Ravinia this year.

Mamby on the Beach

MGMT, Walk the Moon, Local Natives, and Flying Lotus perform at this annual South Side beach throwdown.

Goo Goo Dolls, Phillip Phillips

Another opportunity to relive your ‘90s glory days.

Amadou and Mariam, Frank Waln

The blind African duo provides one of the best free shows of the summer.

Paul McCartney

Sir Paul returns for more epic sets of Beatles, Wings, and solo classics.

Goo Goo Dolls w/ Collective Soul

Does it get more ‘90s than this?

Stephen Stills and Judy Collins

It’s just like Crosby, Stills, and Nash without Crosby and Nash, but with Judy Collins.

Dierks Bentley, Cole Swindell, Jon Pardi

The three-act country bill is coming in support of Bentley’s 2016 concept album, Black.

The Roots

Fat Tire’s annual Tour de Fat carnival of oddities brings the tireless hip-hop outfit and a bunch of circus performers to Chicago.

Incubus, Jimmy Eat World

Still kicking ass after all these years.
Lollapalooza | Courtesy of Lollapalooza


Chance the Rapper, The Killers, Muse, and Arcade Fire headline North America’s largest music festival.

Tony Bennett

90 years old and still smooth as ever.

Rod Stewart

72 and still looking for hot legs.

Darius Rucker

The former Hootie and the Blowfish front man continues his solo success.

Rancid, Dropkick Murphys, Bouncing Souls

Punk never dies (it just gets a little older).

Old Town School of Folk Music

Old Town School of Folk curates this series of free shows at The Park at Wrigley on select summer Tuesdays.

Foreigner, Cheap Trick, Jason Bonham’s Led Zeppelin Experience

Expect some serious air-guitar action at this one.

Billy Joel

The piano man doesn’t know the word quit.

Carlos Santana

Keeping it smooth.

Florida Georgia Line, Backstreet Boys, Nelly

And the Grammy for weirdest billing of the year goes to…

Nickelback, Daughtry

Go to this show. We dare you.

Kings of Leon

If your sex is on fire, go see a doctor.

Chicago Symphony Orchestra: A Tribute to Ira Gershwin

Hear the iconic “Rhapsody in Blue” as well as favorites from Fred Astaire and Gene Kelly films.

Punch Brothers

Some of the best bluegrass and Americana you’ll ever see.

Dashboard Confessional, All-American Rejects

Bring plenty of tissues to this emo extravaganza.


Bring your mom and best Gwyneth insults.

Pretty Lights

It’s a two-night stand for Pretty Lights’ touring festival, featuring sets from EDM and rap heavyweights.

Chicago Symphony Orchestra: <em>Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring</em>

The live performance of the film score might even be better than the book. Continue to nerd out the following two evenings when the the CSO gives the rest of the trilogy the same treatment.

Lady Antebellum, Kelsea Ballerini, Brett Young

Seven Grammys, 52 awards and counting.

Old Town School of Folk Music

Old Town School of Folk curates this series of free shows at The Park at Wrigley on select summer Tuesdays.

Green Day

The Revolution Radio Tour brings the Bay Area trio to the home of the Cubbies.

Lady Gaga

Hopefully the Green Day fans didn’t trash the place the night before...

Alanis Morissette

If you’re going, hopefully there’s no rain and it’s not your wedding day

Zac Brown Band

Zac and the Band’s third time at Wrigley. He must like the place.

John Mellencamp

What happened to the Cougar?


Memorize your Pitch Perfect jokes before seeing the a cappella group.

Lifehouse, Switchfoot

If you’re stilling hanging by the moment or hanging 10.

Depeche Mode

Cake on the black eyeliner to catch Dave Gahan and the boys.
Stevie Nicks
Stevie Nicks | JStone/Thrillist

North Coast Music Festival

Deadmau5 and Eric Prydz, Damian “Jr. Gong” Marley, and Ween headline the always eclectic end-of-summer bash.

Michael Bolton, Gladys Knight

No, not the guy from Office Space.

John Mayer

Yeah, he’s cheesy, but the dude can wail.


With plenty of red red wine.

Deep Purple, Alice Cooper

From the band that brought you “Smoke on the Water,” the first riff everyone learns on guitar, and the shock rocker who taught you about Milwaukee.

Sublime With Rome, The Offspring

We want to hate this show. But we want to see The Offspring more.

Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons

Do something nice for once in your life. Take grandma to a show.

Young the Giant, Cold War Kids, Joywave

Two SoCal indie rock outfits and an opener that might just be the most interesting act on the bill.

Stevie Nicks

Stop dragging her heart around. The Fleetwood Mac frontwoman packs a lot of power into a 5’1” frame.

Riot Fest

Nine Inch Nails, Queens of the Stone Age, and Jawbreaker headline the annual punk carnival

Smokey Robinson

Bring tissues to wipe up the tracks of your tears.

Luke Bryan, Brett Eldredge

Bryant named this the “Huntin', Fishin' and Lovin' Every Day Tour” in case you were curious what he’ll be singing about.

TLC, Biz Markie, Mark McGrath

Nostalgia knows no bounds

Counting Crows, Matchbox Twenty

See above.

Sturgill Simpson

Two words to describe this country star: Bad. Ass.

AAHH! Fest

Common’s yearly hip-hop fest hasn’t announced its lineup, but you can bet it’ll be great.

Brad Paisley, Dustin Lynch

Let Brad sing you a “Whiskey Lullaby” while you sip or slam your drink of choice.

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Jay Gentile is a Thrillist contributor and the publisher of local music magazine Chicago INNERVIEW. Follow @innerviewmag