Stretch out the warmer months with a cornucopia of arts in the parks and beyond. Out in the sunshine or under the stars, Chicago’s North Shore brings its reputation for world-class performing arts and visual arts beyond the theaters and galleries. Catch a concert or musical theater, schedule the musician of your choice for a memorable lawn or block party, and hunt for colorful murals and towering sculptures. Movies and plays are afoot, too. As with all outdoor events, keep an eye on the weather and check with the host to see if rain dates apply.
Out Back Summer Sessions
North Shore Center for Performing Arts
9501 Skokie Blvd., Skokie (parking lot)
Come back out and go out back of the North Shore Center for a rousing, safe outdoor summer concert series. Sure to be super popular, these great nights of entertainment will also provide much-needed support for local artists and musicians. With a capacity of 200 people, you’ll want to pick your tickets now from a range of shows, such as The Four C Notes recreating the music of Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons (Aug. 13); modern guitar virtuoso and Chicagoan Fareed Haque and The Secret Tango Society (Aug. 22); or Music Theater Works: Richard Rodgers’ Greatest Hits (Aug. 28–29).
Bad Dates – Drive-In Premiere
The Four C Notes, North Shore Center for the Performing Arts, Skokie
The Big Picture: A Mural Treasure Hunt
Various locations, Evanston
Looking for a creative, free outdoor art activity to really take advantage of these warmer months? The Big Picture: A Mural Treasure Hunt is just the ticket for hours or even days of adventure. This self-guided tour is perfect for all ages and even comes with the possibility of prizes! Follow the interactive Google map to find 17 different Evanston Mural Arts Program paintings all around town while answering fun questions and following prompts on your phone. Learn about the artwork and artists along your journey. Go at your own pace but submit your completed entry by Aug. 30 for a chance to win gift cards and other prizes from Blick Art Materials.
Dustin Harris Mural, Evanston
Art in the Sculpture Park
Skokie Northshore Sculpture Park
McCormick Blvd. between Dempster St. and Touhy Ave., Skokie
This open-air museum presents art in an informal, easy-to-enjoy venue. While some of their usual programming isn’t on the calendar right now, this renown park is great for a Self-Guided Tour of the free public art. Abstract forms mixed with representational pieces, these 70+ pieces tower above as you walk, jog, or bike along the long, two-mile expanse of landscaped pathways (with areas for picnicking, too). Touching the sculptures is encouraged (though no climbing, please) and dogs on leashes are welcome. Follow the North channel of the Chicago River to explore different “galleries” like “New Turf” and “Young Artists.” Open during daylight hours.
Starlight Movies in the Park
Skokie Sculpture Park, Skokie
SPACE To-Go Concerts
Your place! In and around Evanston
A To-Go Concert brings the best of what you love about SPACE right to your home in a portable micro-concert experience. These intimate shows are crafted for you and your family to enjoy and feature a world-class musician or two, a bit of food and drink, and some decor reminiscent of the esteemed venue. Choose from more than a dozen artists like the Gerald McClendon Soulkeeper Trio performing Motown hits and more; Jon Langford of The Mekons and Waco Brothers; solo cello or string trio featuring Anna Steinhoff; or the high energy virtuosity of Funkadesi with their blending of musical styles of India with funk and Afro-Caribbean grooves; plus many more. Prices vary based on the particulars, but start at $750 for a 35-minute performance in Evanston.
Space To-Go Concerts, Evanston Space