On the road: Party at Randolph Street market
The outdoor Randolph Street Market returns to the West Loop for its ninth summer season Memorial Day weekend and promises more than 250 select purveyors of items in a garden party atmosphere. Expect interactive art and DIY demonstrations, beauty treatments, airbrush tattoos, seasonal fancy food, live music and more.
10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday, May 26-27, at 1340 W. Washington St., Chicago. General admission tickets purchased online are $8, admission at the door is $10, student tickets with ID are $3 online, $5 at the door. Every paid admission gets a $5 or $10 shopping voucher good toward purchases. (312) 666-1200 or randolphstreetmarket.com.
The intersection of Belmont and Sheffield is the hub of Chicago's trendy Lakeview neighborhood, and the yearly Belmont-Sheffield Music Festival doesn't disappoint. The 28th annual festival kicks off Chicago's outdoor street fest season over Memorial Day weekend. The popular street party showcases tribute bands, food and beverages from neighborhood restaurants as well as artisans offering their handiwork.
Noon to 10 p.m. Saturday to Sunday, May 26-27, on Sheffield Avenue from Belmont Avenue to School Street, Chicago. $5 chicagoevents.com
Ride your bike on LSD
How about bike ride down Lake Shore Drive minus the exhaust fumes with around 25,000 other biking enthusiasts. Bike the Drive is a once-a-year opportunity to enjoy Chicago's skyline when Lake Shore Drive is closed to cars and open to the two-wheeled vehicles. You'll be able to cycle on all lanes of Lake Shore Drive for a 30-mile route (there's also a 15-mile option if you began training last week or so). It's held rain or shine, so don't turn back home if you see a couple of raindrops. There are rest stops with water, food and facilities, too. This year, a 30-minute time extension means riders will have even more time to enjoy great views of the Chicago skyline and lakefront. The post-ride fun includes music and food at a festival in Grant Park.
5:30 a.m. ride; 8 a.m. to noon festival at Jackson Boulevard and Columbus Drive. Sunday, May 27. Registration is $15-$58. bikethedrive.org.
The way to really fly
Why wait until August and Chicago's Air and Water Show when you can marvel at the gravity-defying tricks of the Air Force Thunderbirds at the Rockford AirFest 2012? Other high-flyers include the Black Diamond Jet Team and the Army Golden Knights Black Team. Hometown natives, The Sensations and The Rusted Hearts, will open for Cheap Trick at the kickoff concert at the BMO Harris Bank Center.
11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday to Sunday, June 2-3, at the Chicago Rockford International Airport in Rockford. Concert tickets start at $20, general admission tickets are $10 for adults and $5 for children 5-12 years old. (815) 969-4000 or flyrfd.com/airfest.
Drumming, storytelling, singing and dancing bring the Native American culture to visitors at the 6th annual Miami Indians All Nations Gathering in Rockville, Ind.
Rainsong performs as well as flutists and the Indiana School of Polynesian Arts. Browse crafts and goods and nosh on buffalo burgers and fry bread.
10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday. June 2-3, at 11515 E. U.S. Highway 36, Rockville. Daily admission is $5 for adults, free for children 12 and under. Parking is included with admission. Call (765) 210-7670 or mnigathering.com.
On the right track
Increasing numbers of gardeners are getting railroaded and it's estimated that the U.S. claims as many as 25,000 garden railways. See the piece de resistance of collections at the Chicago Botanic Garden's Landmarks of America Model Railroad Garden, now open for its 13th season. The outdoor display features 18 model trains, nearly 50 miniature American landmarks, 26 bridges and carpets of landscaping made up of over 5,000 tiny trees, shrubs, ground covers and flowering plants.
10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily, weather permitting through Oct. 28, at 1000 Lake-Cook Road, Glencoe. Model Railroad Garden admission is $5 for adults and $3 for children ages 3-12. (847) 835-5440 or chicagobotanic.org/railroad
Worth the trip
Here comes the fun as Abbey Road on the River, North America's largest Beatles fest, descends on Louisville, Ky., Memorial Day weekend. In addition to many Beatles' tribute bands with names like The English Channel, Lucy in the Sky and BritBeat, you can see Jefferson Starship, folk, dance and rock bands and an Elton John and Jimi Hendrix tribute. The celebration attracts more than 35,000 for five fab days of music, a Beatles song contest, free guitar lessons, costume contests and more.
2 p.m. to midnight, Thursday; 11 a.m. to 2 a.m. Friday to Saturday, 10 a.m. to 2 a.m., Sunday, and 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday. May 24-28, at Belvedere Festival Park in Louisville. Event fees vary from $8 to the Ultimate Ticket to Ride, five days of concerts with priority seating privileges for $199. arotr.com.