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Chicago North Halsted Market Days 2014

MARKET_DAYS_ chicago

I met someone the other day who just moved here to Chicago a couple weeks ago and had never heard of Market Days.


North Halsted Market Days is an annual two-day festival and celebration in Chicago. It is the Midwest’s largest two-day street festival with annual attendance between 200,000 and 300,000 people. It is the second largest festival in Chicago, next to Taste Fest.

Market Days takes place in the Boystown section of Lakeview up and down North Halsted Street from Belmont Avenue to Addison Avenue. The half-mile long event usually is scheduled for the second weekend in August. For 2014, the dates are August 9th and 10th. Market Days first began in 1981 with humble and gay-centric beginnings. Over the years, the overall vibe of the event is still very gay but welcoming and open to all. Halsted Street is closed to vehicular traffic from Saturday morning at 7am until Monday morning at 1am to accommodate the event.

The festival consists of 3 head-liner music stages, 2 local band stages and several areas where guests can dance to DJ’s spinning in the street. Spanning six city blocks, North Halsted Market Days features numerous musical acts throughout the weekend. Many of these artists are top-name headliners, some are local and some are more classic in nature. In the last couple years, Taylor Dayne, Wilson Phillips, Olivia Newton-John, David Cassidy, and Wonder Woman Lynda Carter have all performed at this Chicago festival.

North Halsted Market Days showcases a vast array of different types of food, artwork, unique crafts, clothes, jewelry and just about anything you can think of. There are also tents showcasing local Halsted Street businesses, as well as public service organizations and companies both large and small. Many give away small souvenir items and offer special deals and discounts to attendees.

Most of the businesses along Halsted Street are open during the day with many staying open late each night. The 20+ bars and restaurants on Halsted Street see a significant increase in patronage. If you go to any of the clubs or restaurants after 11pm, be prepared to wait in long lines.

Visitors come from all over the US to celebrate, party and truly experience this unique festival weekend in Boystown. Keep in mind the crowds swell from about 1pm-7pm, making it very difficult to move along the street. There is a suggested donation of $10 each day to attend.