Here are five things to do this weekend in Chicago, including festivals all about hot dogs or veggies, an outdoor picnic, and family-focused events.

Chicago Hot Dog Fest

Chicago Hot Dog Fest

Photo courtesy of Chicago History Museum.

Aug. 11-13

Chicago History Museum will once again host this ode to the hot dog with vendors like Downtown Dogs, Edzo’s, Pinstripes and more. Plus, don’t miss live music and speakers talking about everything from baseball in Chicago and the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair to hot dog myths and a defense of ketchup.

End of Summer Bash

NEWCITY's End of Summer Bash

Photo by Timothy Hiatt.

Aug. 12

Visit NEWCITY for this free event in the Plaza. Enjoy live music, face painting, mini golf, bag toss and more. You can also help decorate a large mural.

Grant Park Music Festival’s Pastoral Picnic in White

Grant Park Music Festival

Photo by Christopher Neseman.

Aug. 12

Before the Grant Park Orchestra takes the stage at Jay Pritzker Pavilion to perform Tchaikovsky’s Manfred Symphony and a world premiere by Pulitzer Prize-winner Aaron Jay Kernis, head out to Millennium Park for this free themed picnic. Wear your best white outfit and pack a picnic with your favorite goodies.

Veggie Fest

Veggie Fest Chicago

Photo Markus Spiske on Unsplash.

Aug. 12-13

One of the largest vegetarian festivals in North America, this free two-day event will feature veggie-centric vendors, live music, an art show, speakers, family activities and more.

Seadog X Chicago Children’s Museum Package

Seadog and Chicago Children's Museum

Photo courtesy of Zapwater.


Spend a fun-filled day with your family on the water before heading to Chicago Children’s Museum. This ticket package includes a 30 minute Lakefront Speedboat tour ticket and a ticket for the museum.

Give Back Opportunity:

  • Student Alliance for Homeless Youth will host their annual School Supply Drive this weekend and next. Main South High School students will collect school supplies Aug. 12-13 at the Office Depot in Niles (8331 W. Golf Road) and New Trier and Loyola Academy students will collect supplies Aug. 19-20 at the Office Depot in Evanston (2722 Green Bay Road). Stop by to donate school supplies for children living in local shelters.

Looking Ahead:

  • On Aug. 16, Celebrate Highwood will host the 7th annual Garlic Fest at Everts Park (130 Highwood Ave., Highwood). Head out to try savory and sweet garlic treats like pasta, sandwiches, candy and cocktails.


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Anna Carlson writes the weekly 5 Things to Do column and monthly Recommended Events. A graduate of Glenbrook South High School and the University of Missouri, she loves cheering on the Cubs and Blackhawks and also fears she watches too much Netflix.