The reputation and skyline of Illinois is dominated by the famous name of Chicago, with its bright lights and towering skyscrapers. But the land of Abraham Lincoln holds so much more than the iconic landscape of the Windy City - and much of this fun lies in Illinois’ thriving festival scene, with much to offer throughout the year. Whether you fancy music, films, food or something utterly unusual, you can find it here - events are even dedicated to things as wacky and wild as pumpkins, apples and scarecrows.
Lollapalooza is perhaps the biggest festival in all of Illinois. This annual music extravaganza brings together hundreds of thousands of music fans with a massive program of the very biggest names in alt-rock, heavy metal, EDM, hip hop and punk. Previous performers here have included hugely iconic artists like Kanye West, Pearl Jam, The Cure and Coldplay - if they’re a big name, you can find them here. Other music festivals throughout Illinois offer jazz, blues, pop and plenty to keep you tapping your toes and shaking your stuff.
Taste of Chicago is a scrumptious sensation for your taste buds. This is one of the biggest outdoor food festivals in the world, and a wide range of food-based vendors offer samples of their very best produce and products. You’ll find restaurants, food trucks, pop-up shops, markets, celebrity chefs, demonstrations and loads of family attractions. Slurp and sup to your heart’s content! There are also lots of music performances here, and previous attendees have included names like Billy Idol and Robin Thicke.
Another popular family event is the Clark Street Spooktacular, a spectral celebration of ghosts, ghouls and goblins. It’s a spooky and spine-chilling festival with Halloween-centric events for comers of all ages. Spooks, sweets, scarecrows and scares – come along and shock yourself silly!
Illinois also hosts many film festivals for fiends of the screen. Chicago Film Festival features hundreds of films from big and small figures from across the world of cinema, with work from the likes of Wim Wenders, Martin Scorsese and Mike Leigh. Chicago Underground Film Festival offers a more unique program with weird and unusual films and documentaries, often featuring some of cinema’s most shocking and controversial offerings.