CHICAGO NEIGHBORHOOD NEWS: Bucktown and Wicker Park, Lincoln Park, Lakeview, Chicago Loop, Lincoln Square, Evanston

Bucktown and Wicker Park: If you’re looking to show off your skills, you’ve got to check out the Monthly Open Mic Night at Volumes Book Cafe. On the first Wednesday of every month, they have an Open Mic Series. Poetry and prose are both welcome and they kindly ask that you limit your selections to 5 minutes. Sign up begins at 6:45 pm and performances start at 7 pm. If you would like to be a featured reader, contact

Lincoln Park: Mark your calendars now for Chicago Hot Dog Fest! From August 9-11, The Chicago History Museum presents the perfect Chicago-style picnic. The fest is Friday and Saturday from 11 am to 9 pm and Sunday from 11 am to 8 pm. There will be a full line-up of bands, family activities, and of course, Vienna Beef Hot Dogs prepared in various regional and ethnic styles by the city’s top hot dog vendors. Vendors include Byron’s Hot Dogs, Luella’s Southern Kitchen, Chicago’s Doghouse, El Campeon, Wilson Dogs, and more. Find more information on the official website

Lakeview: If you need a little relaxation this summer, check out the Zen Meditation Workshop at the Japanese Culture Center. On Sunday July 20 from 12-2 pm, this intro class is recommended for anyone who is new to zen meditation or who wants to deepen their existing practice. Tickets are $30 and can be purchased here.

Chicago Loop: It’s time for the coolest party of the summer! Join The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society for a fabulous party under the stars on Chicago’s most famous yacht, the Columbia Yacht Club on Saturday, July 27 from 7-11 pm. “Yacht Rock the Boat” features an open bar, gourmet food, live music, games, DJ Yacht Rock, and much more.  Proceeds support lifesaving blood cancer research and patient services, bringing help and hope to patients and their families. Tickets are $125 and can be purchased here.

Lincoln Square: It’s time for a weekend of fun in Horner Park! First up is Horner Brew Fest on Friday, July 19 from 6 to 10 pm. Brewfest is an annual fundraiser to support the sustainability initiatives of the Horner Park Advisory Council. You’ll enjoy four hours of cold craft beer from twenty of Chicago’s best local breweries and cider houses, sample tasty treats from local food trucks, and enjoy live music from MB and the Chargers, one of Chicago’s most popular cover bands. Tickets are $40 per person, which includes: admission to the event, a tasting glass, and samples from every attending brewery. Purchase your tickets here now. Then, on Saturday July 20th, it’s Family Day at Horner Park. There will be river activities, live music, games, activities, and more. The night will end with a viewing of E.T. in the park! 

Evanston: What better way to celebrate summer than with a good, old fashioned ice cream social? Join The Evanston History Center for The Annual Ice Cream Social on Saturday, July 27 from 1-3 pm. From 12-2, take your kiddos to the “Let’s Play Trailer” where they can enjoy games and activities geared towards ages 3-12. From 1-2 pm, you’ll hear The Ridgeville Band play and from 2-3 pm, you’ll see Kevin Kelly’s Magic Show. From 1-3 pm, you will have free admission to the Dawes House and can check out the new exhibit “Dry Evanston: The Untold Story”. Complimentary frozen yogurt will be served, courtesy of Evanston’s own YoFresh Yogurt Cafe. This is a rain or shine event!