Hey Chicago, are you ready for another year of music, mud and fence-jumpers? (Brock Brake/ For RedEye )
Approximately 50,000 American Apparel-clad kids will get their bump 'n' grind on at R. Kelly's Sunday Pitchfork set, but don't sweat it if you didn't score tickets. Take your pick of lower-key neighborhood fests such as Taste of River North, Celebrate Clark Street and Sheffield Garden Walk and Music Festival, where the beer is cold, the food is plentiful and the admission cost is much cheaper. Of course, if you are headed to Pitchfork, make sure to play along with our bingo game on Twitter and Instagram; follow @redeyechicago and tag your photos #p4kbingo. Fest on, folks, fest on. firstname.lastname@example.org @redeyeeatdrink
Pitchfork Music Festival
When: 3-10 p.m. Friday; noon-10 p.m. Saturday and Sunday
Where: Union Park, 1501 W. Randolph St.
How much: $50 for single-day passes
Don't miss: With more than 40 established and on-the-brink musical acts booked this year, it's hard to spotlight just a few. Check out our picks for which acts to see—from hardest rockers to softest crooners—plus play along with our Pitchfork bingo game on Twitter and Instagram. When you need a break from the music, hit up the Jeni's Splendid Ice Cream stand to get a taste of these coming-soon-to-Chicago treats.
After-parties: The music doesn't end when the lights go down at Union Park; head to pitchfork.com for a list of official after-parties, including a Pissed Jeans show at Reggies (10 p.m. Saturday) and an Autre Ne Veut set at Lincoln Hall (10 p.m. Sunday).
Taste of River North
When: 5-10 p.m. Friday; noon-10 p.m. Saturday; 11 a.m.-8 p.m. Sunday
Where: Ward Park, 630 N. Kingsbury St.
How much: $5 suggested donation
Don't miss: Pack a few weeks' worth of eating into one day with cuisine from River North restaurants and bars including American Junkie, Jake Melnick's Corner Tap, Stout Barrel House & Galley, Theory, Zocalo and more. Two music stages host headliners The Sheepdogs (6:30 p.m. Sunday) and Illinois natives Lucky Boys Confusion (Friday at 8:30 p.m.) along with other local acts.
Mini-detours: Really? You're still hungry? Snack on tasty fries and reasonably priced classic cocktails on the patio at The Motel Bar (600 W. Chicago Ave.) or grab some sunshine and drinks on the rooftop at Citizen Bar (364 W. Erie St.)
Celebrate Clark Street
When: 1-11 p.m. Saturday; 1-10 p.m. Sunday
Where: Clark Street between Morse Avenue and Estes Avenue
How much: $5 suggested donation
Don't miss: The delicious smell of fired-up grills and the up-tempo drum beats floating through Rogers Park likely are coming from this diverse global street fair. Take in international music ranging from Afro-pop to French Canadian-Spanish vocals while sampling flavorful ethnic eats and browsing arts and crafts.
Mini-detours: Head to The Glenwood (6962 N. Glenwood Ave.), a gay-friendly neighborhood bar, for a cold beer or two post-fest, or revel in the divey confines of The Red Line Tap (7006 N. Glenwood Ave.) adjacent to Heartland Cafe.
Sheffield Garden Walk and Music Festival
When: Noon-dusk Saturday and Sunday
Where: Webster Avenue at Sheffield Avenue
How much: $7; $10 after 3 p.m.
Don't miss: The phrase "Garden Walk" doesn't sound rocking, but surprisingly cool local acts JC Brooks & The Uptown Sound (8:15 p.m.) and Archie Powell & The Exports (2:30 p.m.) both are booked for Saturday. As for the actual garden tours, they're a great way to snoop on your neighbors' baller landscaping, and maybe even pick up a few tips about how not to kill that basil plant in your window. Pick up a map and head out on your free, self-guided tour beginning at noon both days at the booth in front of St. Vincent de Paul Church (1010 W. Webster Ave.)
Mini-detours: Maybe un-pop the collar of your polo shirt before grabbing a drink at one of the most badass beer bars in town, Local Option (1102 W. Webster Ave.), just a stone's throw from the festival's intersection. If you're hungry, a quick walk down Sheffield Avenue to Butcher & The Burger (1021 W. Armitage Ave.) for build-your-own burgers plus custard and milkshakes should fill you up.
Chinatown Summer Fair
When: 10 a.m.-8 p.m. Sunday
Where: Wentworth Avenue between E. Cermak Road and 24th Street
How much: Free
Don't miss: It would take months of serious eating to make it through all the spicy, fragrant, sweet and delicious treats served by restaurants and bakeries in Chinatown. Get a crash course in the diversity of regional dishes with snacks from Lao Sze Chuan, Ken Kee, Ahjoomah's Apron, Three Happiness Restaurant and many more. Opening ceremonies kick off at 1 p.m. and are followed by martial arts demonstrations, drumming, breakdancing and other performances.
UPCOMING FESTS: July 25-28: Fiesta del Sol (Pilsen); July 26-28: Jeff Fest (Jefferson Park); July 27-28: Taste of Lincoln Avenue (Lincoln Park), Wicker Park Fest, Uptown Summer Festival
See RedEye's full summer fest calendar at redeyechicago.com/fests.