Nothing says summer like a festive outdoor fete. Lucky for us, St. Louis has a full slate of art and entertainment under the summer sun and stars—many with the welcoming perk of free admission. So, as the season starts to heat up, be sure to save the date for these festival favorites.
PARTIES IN THE PARK
Second Wednesdays monthly through September, 5-8:30 p.m.
For the ultimate outdoor happy hour experience, Parties in the Park on Central Avenue in downtown Clayton gives attendees the opportunity to catch up with friends over drinks, light bites and live music from Odds Lane on June 11; Super Majik Robots, July 9; The VCRs, Aug. 13; and Griffin and the Gargoyles, Sept. 10. Free. partiesinthepark.org
JUNGLE BOOGIE CONCERT SERIES
Fridays through August, 5-8 p.m.
Move to rock, pop and soul music as Saint Louis Zoo’s family-friendly outdoor concert series returns with Groovethang, May 23; Dirty Muggs, May 30; Miss Jubilee and the Humdingers, June 6; NASHVEGAS, June 13; Big Brother Thunder & the Master Blasters, June 27; GalaxyRed, July 4; American Idle, July 11; Pennsylvania Slim, July 18; The VCRs, July 25; Coco Soul, Aug. 8; Griffin and the Gargoyles, Aug. 15; Ticket To The Beatles, Aug. 22; and FatPocket, Aug. 29. Free. stlzoo.org
WHITAKER MUSIC FESTIVAL
Wednesdays June 4-Aug. 6, 7:30 p.m.
From internationally renowned jazz to local rock, blues and soul, the Whitaker Music Festival will once again deliver the classic outdoor summer concert atmosphere, with Peter Martin Quartet, June 4; Al Holliday & the East Side Rhythm Band, June 11; Marsha Evans & the Coalition, June 18; Javier Mendoza, June 25; Old Salt Union, July 2; Big Brother Thunder & the Master Blasters, July 9; Nigel Mooney, July 16; Augusta Bottoms Consort, July 23; Melissa Neels Band, July 30; and the Gene Dobbs Bradford Blues Experience, Aug. 6. Free. mobot.org
Select Tuesdays through August, 6-8 p.m.
Take in music under the stars on the lawn of the Missouri History Museum again this summer as Twilight Tuesdays returns with The James Family: A Tribute to Ike and Tina Turner on May 27; Dogs of Society: A Tribute to Elton John on June 3; and Big Brother Thunder & the Master Blasters on Aug. 26. Free. mohistory.org
CITY CONCERT SERIES
Select Saturdays through September, 8-10 p.m.
Chesterfield Amphitheater hosts music under the summer stars as local and regional talent takes the stage, including Wayman’s Revelation—A Premiere Tribute to Steve Perry’s Journey, June 7; Breakfast Club, June 21; Well Hungarians, July 26; Spin the Bottle, Aug. 9; Magazine—Tribute to Heart, Aug. 23; Dogs of Society—Tribute to Elton John, Sept. 6 (7-9 p.m., this concert only). Free. chesterfieldamphitheater.com
ST. LOUIS BREWERS HERITAGE FESTIVAL
June 13-14, 6-10 p.m.
More than 100 beers from 30-plus local breweries will be on tap for the eighth annual Saint Louis Brewers Guild Heritage Festival in Forest Park. Sample an assortment of brews and food truck fare and hear live bands at Central Field. $35 and up; stlbg.com.
LET THEM EAT ART
Maplewood’s whimsical art and entertainment festival, Let Them Eat Art, will highlight the talents of local artists, musicians, chefs and more through live artist demonstrations, musical performances and food tastings. Free. cityofmaplewood.com
FESTIVAL OF NATIONS
Experience an eclectic array of ethnic music, dance and food at St. Louis’ largest multicultural event, Festival of Nations, in Tower Grove Park. An international food court, family arts and crafts, and live entertainment will highlight this year’s celebration of cultures. Free. festivalofnationsstl.org.
ART FAIR AT QUEENY PARK
Be immersed in artwork from across the country at the Art Fair at Queeny Park. As one of the longest-running art fairs in the bi-state region, the three-day event gives guests the opportunity to marvel at original fine art and crafts, as well as participate in a range of activities, including wine tastings and prize drawings, at the Greensfelder Recreation Center in Queeny Park. Free. artfairatqueenypark.com
BIG MUDDY BLUES FESTIVAL
From blues to soul, R&B, rockabilly, gospel and jazz, the Big Muddy Blues Festival continues to keep St. Louis’ music roots alive. Regional and local bands will be showcased on two satellite stages, with the main stage featuring award-winning national headliners on Laclede’s Landing. Free satellite stage shows; cost varies for mainstage entertainment. bigmuddybluesfestival.com
Aug. 30-Sept. 1
Celebrate the culture of Japan through art, dance, food and entertainment during the Japanese Festival at the Missouri Botanical Garden. The annual event, which draws thousands each year, is one of the largest and oldest festivals of its kind in the nation. mobot.org
SAINT LOUIS ART FAIR—CLAYTON
Indulge your senses at the annual outdoor Saint Louis Art Fair in downtown Clayton: Wander through galleries from artists across the nation, hear live music on multiple stages, feast on local fare and get creative with children’s art activities. Free. culturalfestivals.com
Outkast, Arctic Monkeys, Cake and Grouplove will headline one of the Midwest’s most popular music festivals, Loufest. The 2-day concert fest will feature multiple stages of music, a Nosh Pit, Market Square and a children’s activity area at Central Field in Forest Park. $95, 2-day pass; $350, VIP 2-day pass. loufest.com
GREAT FOREST PARK BALLOON RACE
Touted as the oldest and biggest free hot-air balloon festival in the world, the 42nd annual Great Forest Park Balloon Race will once again cap off our city’s summer. Witness colorful balloons light up the night sky during the Balloon Glow on Central Field, and return the following day to cheer on your favorites as they take flight amid live entertainment and children’s activities. Free. greatforestparkballoonrace.com
TASTE OF ST. LOUIS
For the first time, the festival-favorite Taste of St. Louis will be staged in Chesterfield. The 10th anniversary event, dubbed the ‘ultimate food experience,’ will serve up the region’s top restaurants, the Chef Battle Royale Culinary Competition, an art and wine walk, and live music and children’s activities in Chesterfield Village and at the Chesterfield Amphitheater. tastestl.com
FAIR SAINT LOUIS
Be a part of ‘America’s biggest birthday party’ in an all new way this year as Fair Saint Louis celebrates on Art Hill in Forest Park, the grounds once graced by the 1904 World’s Fair.
Fair Saint Louis has partnered with stl250 to bring fairgoers a once-in-a-lifetime experience on this 250th anniversary year of the city’s founding. Festivities will include a full lineup of concerts, exhibitions, running events, a parade—and of course, fireworks.
The 132nd annual Veiled Prophet Parade will travel through Forest Park on July 4, while the Freedom 4-Miler and Family Fun Run will kick off the fun on July 5.
Among those taking the stage will be Smash Band, Thompson Square and The Band Perry on July 3; Gavin DeGraw, Matt Nathanson and Bonnie Raitt on July 4; and En Vogue, Capital Cities and The Fray on July 5.
And some of the biggest firework displays will end each night with a bang. Happy Fourth! For more information, visit fairsaintlouis.org.