Cutting edge fest
If you've yet to explore the hip neighborhood of Wicker Park, consider doing so during Wicker Park Fest, featuring some of the best in current and emerging music. The annual street festival is an economical alternative to Chicago's other big ticket music fests with its three stages of continuous live music, a dedicated children's fun area, performance art and dozens of local vendors. Wicker Park Fest expects to see more than 70,000 people on hand to hear the likes of Walkie Talkies, The Dirty Pigeons, Meat Puppets, Roky Erickson and Ted Leo and the Pharmacists. Bring the little hipsters for face painting, train rides, mini golf, a bounce house, reptile house and performances by Mary Macaroni and The Boogers.
Noon to 10 p.m. Saturday to Sunday, July 27-28. Milwaukee Avenue between North Avenue and Paulina Street, Chicago. Suggested gate donation is $5. (773) 384-2672 or wickerparkfest.com
The streets of Pilsen will sizzle when Fiesta del Sol puts up its tents filled with bouncy live music, interesting wares and authentic Mexican food. Celebrating its 41st year, Fiesta del Sol started as a one-block festival and today is the largest Latino festival in the Midwest. Bring the kids for their own activities in the children's area, browse the art pavilion and take in entertainment and sports tournaments.
5 to 10 p.m. Thursday, July 25; 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Friday to Saturday, July 26-27; 11 a.m. to 10 p.m., Sunday, July 28. 1400 W. Cermak Road Chicago. (312) 666-2663 or fiestadelsol.org.
Call of the wild
Now in its 20th season, Jammin' at the Zoo at Lincoln Park Zoo offers top-notch entertainment in a classic Chicago setting. Concerts are held on the zoo's south lawn. This year Michael Franti & Spearhead will perform. Bring a blanket or small chairs because it's lawn seating on a first-come, first-serve basis. You can arrive early and enjoy dinner from Park Place Café and stop by the Kovler Lion House and Kovler Sea Lion Pool, which will be open during the event. Proceeds benefit Lincoln Park Zoo's animals and programs.
6 p.m. gates open; 7:15 p.m. opening act begins. Lincoln Park Zoo, 2200 North Cannon Drive, Chicago. Advance tickets are $24 for adults, $13 for children ages 4-12; at the gate tickets are $29 for adults, $15 for children. (312) 742-2283 or lpzoo.org/events/calendar/jammin-zoo
Come for the thunder of chain saws and the sound of choppers at the 54th anniversary celebration of the Lumberjack World Championships in Hayward, Wis. The three-day event features men and women competing in logrolling, speed climbs, sawing, chopping and chain saw contests. Lumberjacks and lumberjills from the United States, Canada, Australia, Czech Republic and New Zealand compete for the gold.
6 to 9 p.m. Thursday to Saturday, July 25-27. Tickets are single or multiday and cost $15-$60. lumberjackworldchampionships.com
Taste of Wisconsin in Kenosha is a harbor-front festival featuring locally produced specialties as well as cooking demonstrations, gardening workshops and music on three stages. Nearly 50 vendors and three beverage gardens provide lunch, dinner and snacks. Kids' activities round out the festival.
3 to 11 p.m. Friday, July 26; 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Saturday, July 27; and 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Sunday, July 28, in downtown Kenosha at Lake Michigan. Free admission. tasteofwi.com.
A little night music
The majestic 1889 opera house in Woodstock, Ill., is home to the annual Mozart Festival. The intimate size of the hall means that the audience is enveloped by music performed by internationally recognized guest artists and conductors. This year's 27th annual festival features three orchestral concerts on three consecutive weekends in July and August. Performers include San Francisco Symphony resident conductor Donato Cabrera and award-winning pianist Vassily Primakov; cellist Nazar Dzhuryn and French saxophonist Daniel Gauthier; and violinist Igor Gruppman.
8 p.m. Saturday and 3 p.m. Sunday, July 27-28; Aug, 3-4 and 10-11. 121 Van Buren St., in Woodstock. Order single ($33-$55) or series ($90-$133) tickets at (815) 338-5300 or WoodstockOperaHouse.com.