Chicago Riverwalk 2022 Summer Season Announced

Chicago’s second waterfront invites locals and visitors to enjoy world-class arts, dance and music programming, restaurants, tours and more with a beautiful city backdrop

Chicago Riverwalk 2022 Summer Season Announced

Chicago’s second waterfront invites locals and visitors to enjoy world-class arts, dance and music programming, restaurants, tours and more with a beautiful city backdrop

CHICAGO—Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot and the Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events (DCASE) spotlight a slate of engaging summer arts and recreational programming taking place on the Chicago Riverwalk, a magnificent urban space located on the south bank of the Chicago River.  The award-winning, pedestrian-friendly Chicago Riverwalk stretches 1.25 miles from Lake Michigan to Lake Street offering restaurants, wineries and bars, live music and performances, public art, urban recreation and more.

Programming on the Chicago Riverwalk is presented by the City of Chicago and produced by DCASE in collaboration with the Department of Assets and Information (AIS), the Chicago Park District and cultural partners from around the city. Highlights of DCASE arts programming this summer include Blues on the Riverwalk (June 9 & 10) bringing the best of the Chicago Blues Festival to The Confluence (between Franklin and Lake Streets) and Sounds of the Riverwalk, a 12-week free music series offered select Sundays at 1pm, June 19 through early October featuring different musicians from the Chicago Band RosterArt on theMART, the largest digital art projection in the world, covering over 2.5 acres of theMART’s river-facing façade, announced new installations inspired by the city’s Year of Chicago Dance to be showcased throughout the summer. Also celebrating the Year of Chicago Dance, Links Hall presents Dance on the Walk showcasing the city’s dynamic dance scene with free performances plus pre-show classes for all skill levels. Details below and at ChicagoRiverwalk.us.

“The Chicago Riverwalk is an urban oasis in the heart of our city,” shares DCASE Commissioner Erin Harkey. “We’re thrilled to bring some of our best Chicago-based artists from the Chicago Blues Festival and the Chicago Band Roster to perform live with our beautiful city as the backdrop. The array of fantastic arts and recreational programming scheduled this summer further enriches the waterfront experience for everyone.”

Vendors in the Riverwalk concession program are now open including:

  • Island Party Hut
  • Beat Kitchen on the River
  • Northman Beer & Cider Garden
  • Chicago Brewhouse
  • Mercury Cruise lines Chicago’s First Lady Cruises
  • City Winery
  • O’Brien’s Riverwalk Café
  • Urban Kayaks
  • Downtown Docks
  • Chicago Electric Boats
  • Chicago Cycle Boats
  • Sweet Home Gelato
  • Tiny Tapp & Café 

Community Marketplace will reopen later this summer with a new selection of vendors.  Building on the Riverwalk’s successful concession program, the Community Marketplace was constructed in 2019 to expand the program to minority and women-owned businesses representing the cultural diversity of Chicago’s neighborhoods.  Construction of a new Chicago Riverwalk elevator will delay the opening of the Community Marketplace.  

To view the full reopening schedule and list of participating vendors, please visit ChicagoRiverwalk.us.

Chicago Riverwalk 2022 Summer Programming

Blues on the Riverwalk

June 9 & 10: 12pm – 1pm and 5 – 6pm

The Confluence (between Franklin and Lake Streets)

With a diverse lineup celebrating the blues’ past, present and future, the Chicago Blues Festival celebrates the world-renowned Chicago Blues legacy. In addition to Millennium Park performances (June 9 – 12), for the first time the festival expands citywide, bringing top musicians into two south and west side neighborhoods that birthed Chicago Blues, as well as the Chicago Riverwalk. 

Blues on the Riverwalk performances started yesterday and will also take place today, Friday, June 10 from 12-1pm and 5-6pm at the Confluence located between Franklin and Lake Streets and include performances by Harmonica Hinds DuoVino Louden DuoGerry Hundt, and Fruteland Jackson. Full schedule and details on the website at ChicagoBluesFestival.us

Sounds of the Riverwalk

Starting June 19 through early October, select Sundays at 1pm

The Confluence (between Franklin and Lake Streets)

Sounds of the Riverwalk is returning for its second year and will expand to a 12-week music series featuring musicians from the Chicago Band Roster. The free, public performances will start June 19 and run through early October. Concerts take place on Sundays at 1pm at the Confluence, located between Franklin and Lake Streets on the Chicago Riverwalk. A full schedule of events can be found at ChicagoRiverwalk.us.

19-JunMike DangerouxBlues
26-JunFumeeJazz
10-JulDavid ChiribogaWorld/Traditional/Indigenous
17-JulWright GatewoodCountry/Americana/Folk
24-JulShi An CostelloClassical
7-AugLa ToscaJazz
14-AugLapis TrioJazz
21-AugLuna Blues MachineWorld/Traditional/Indigenous
11-SepFreedom Song LeadersGospel/Spiritual
25-SepFriends of the GamelanWorld/Traditional/Indigenous
2-Oct5th Wave CollectiveClassical

Art on theMART (AOTM)

On view twice nightly at 9pm and 9:30pm

The Jetty (between Wells and Franklin Streets)

Art on theMART is the world’s largest and longest-running digital public art projection, displaying original video works across the 2.5-acre riverside façade of theMART in downtown Chicago every night. With rotating displays throughout the year, Art on theMART lends visibility and recognition to a wide variety of artists locally, nationally and internationally.

This spring’s programming features three new pieces. Floe by Carrie Hanson and The Seldoms, which celebrates the Year of Chicago Dance while delving into a conversation on climate change. Also highlighting climate change is Choral by Marlena Novak and Jay Alan Yim, featuring a stunning variety of coral species set to a mesmerizing otherworldly soundtrack. Rounding out programming is a commissioned piece by world-renowned artist and Chicago native Nick Cave’s Ba Boom Pa Pop, which spotlights his famous “soundsuits.” Art on theMART’s spring programming is on view twice nightly at 9 pm and 9:30 pm through June 29, 2022.

Art on theMART’s summer programming, featuring Billiken by local producers Shkunna Stewart and Wills Glasspiegel and explore by German video artist Jonas Denzel, is slated to premiere on June 30, and will run nightly at 9pm through September 7 alongside Nick Cave’s Ba Boom Pa Pop in the 9:30pm slot. Details at artonthemart.com.

Make Music Chicago

Tuesday, June 21, 12-3:30pm

Various Riverwalk locations

Join the International Music Foundation for their annual presentation of Make Music Chicago on the Riverwalk that includes interactive/participatory events. Come listen to bluegrass and folk bands, showtunes and kids DJs, take a free guitar, kazoo or harmonica lesson, or bring your ukulele for a uke jam. All ages welcome; a complete schedule of events can be found at makemusicchicago.org.

Every June 21st, Make Music Chicago brings together Chicagoans to celebrate their ability to make music, regardless of age, ability or preferred musical style. Unlike a typical music festival, Make Music Chicago is open to anyone who wants to take part. Every kind of musician—young and old, amateur and professional—takes to the streets, parks, plazas, and porches of Chicago to share music of all genres with friends, neighbors and strangers. All of it is free and open to the public. 

Chicago Park District Fishing Program

Starting June 25, Saturdays and Sundays from 10am – 4pm and Thursday and Friday from 12-6pm

The Jetty (between Wells and Franklin Streets)

Join the Chicago Park District (CPD) on the Riverwalk to learn about what makes the Chicago River so incredible in this free family program. Located at “The Jetty” (between Wacker and Wells St) this program offers visitors the opportunity to catch a fish, hold a beaver skull, and learn about the ecosystem of the river hidden beneath the surface. Did you know that the River is now home to over 40 unique species of fish? CPD’s team of educators is on-site every Thursday and Friday from 12-6pm, and Saturdays and Sundays from 10am- 4pm rain or shine through mid-August.

Dance the Walk with Links Hall

August & September, Dates TBA

Multiple locations, including The Confluence (between Franklin and Lake Streets) & Columbus Plaza 

Links Hall celebrates the Year of Chicago Dance with free performances and community workshops on the Riverwalk. Movers, makers, musicians (and perhaps a flash mob or two!) showcase the city’s dynamic dance scene. Chicagoans are invited to take their turn on the “dance floor” at pre-show classes for all ages and abilities. Full schedule and artists to be announced in July. Details at linkshall.org

A home for performers across disciplines, Links Hall is an artistic incubator and venue dedicated to supporting local artists. For 43 years, Links has hosted residency and sponsorship programs, artist-curated festivals, low-cost studio rentals, and more.

InstaGreeter Tours

Now through September 4, 11:30am on Friday, Saturday and Sunday

Columbus Street Plaza

Enjoy the Riverwalk with a Chicago Greeter, a program of Choose Chicago celebrating 20 years of hosting visitors to Chicago. Locals and visitors alike can experience free one-hour walks leaving at 11:30am Friday, Saturday and Sunday from Columbus Plaza. Greeters can highlight the architecture, history and places to eat and drink on the Chicago Riverwalk and more. choosechicago.com/chicago-greeter

Public Art

Artist Andrea Carlson’s You are on Potawatomi Land, a series of five large-scale banners near Michigan Avenue, will remain on display throughout 2022 as part of Art on theMART. 

Other public art installations on display at the Chicago Riverwalk include Echo Hecho Fresco by Alberto Aguilar at the Columbus underbridge, The People in Your Neighborhood by Dont Fret at The Confluence, The Radiance of Being mural by Kate Lynn Lewis at the Community Marketplace, as well as the Riverwalk Gateway by Ellen Lanyon, Allium by Carolyn Ottmers, and the Vietnam Veterans Memorial.

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