How to celebrate Juneteenth in Chicago

Juneteenth commemorates the end of slavery in the United States. Officially observed on June 19, this holiday commemorates the day in 1865 that news of the emancipation proclamation (issued more than two years earlier on Jan. 1, 1863) reached Texas, the last Confederate state to practice slavery.

Whether your ideal celebration is cultural, educational, or just a plain good time — Juneteenth serves as the perfect occasion to learn more about Black culture, traditions, and the contributions of Black Chicagoans past and present. Here’s what’s going on in Chicago for Juneteenth 2023.

Cultural events for Juneteenth

Juneteenth South Side Tour with Shermann “Dilla” Thomas: Take a ride with Chicago’s own urban historian, Sherman “Dilla” Thomas! This Juneteenth-themed edition of his bus tour will depart from the South Side Culture Center on Monday, June 19 for a two-hour adventure highlighting the historical context of different landmarks and neighborhoods. In the Juneteenth spirit of fellowship, participants can look forward to a beach party at the tour’s close. 

Juneteenth celebrations in Chicago

Juneteenth BBQ at DuSable Black History Museum: Enjoy a community barbecue on the historic lawn of the DuSable Black History Museum in a special celebration of Juneteenth and the 50th anniversary of hip hop with a special performance from Kool Moe Dee. A family-friendly event, the barbecue will also feature food vendors, live entertainment, and activities for the kids. 

Juneteenth Village Fest: Come jam with Angie Stone, Marsha Ambrosius, Talib Kweli, BJ The Chicago Kid, and Kindred and the Family Soul at Juneteenth Village Fest. This free event in Douglass Park provides a space for the community to commemorate Juneteenth with programming that highlights Black culture and the resilience, solidarity, and progress of Black communities.

Chicago neighborhood Juneteenth events

The 1865 Juneteenth Fest in Garfield Park: The 1865 Coalition is a collaboration of community organizations members who have come together to host a three-day Juneteenth celebration in Garfield Park. The event will run from June 17 – 19 and will cultural workshops,  live music, food, a Father’s Day grill-off, and more.

More information and more Juneteenth events can be found here.