Joliet possesses a truly distinct cultural flavor enhanced by an enviable collection of performing arts venues, museums, galleries, popular festivals and more.
The community is particularly proud of its unique expressions of public art, revealed in a series of spectacular ethnic heritage murals detailing Joliet’s vibrant history, ethnic diversity and natural beauty. Friends of Community Public Art, a nonprofit group of nationally and internationally recognized artists, has created and placed more than 100 murals, mosaics and sculptures throughout downtown and the greater Joliet area.
One of the city’s most cherished cultural landmarks is the beautiful Rialto Square Theatre – a circa 1926 performing arts facility often referred to as the “Jewel of Joliet.” The 1,900-seat theater offers a full calendar year of performances, including concerts by well-known artists, Broadway musicals, comedy acts and dance presentations. It also serves as a unique venue for graduations, bridal expos, weddings and other special events. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the Rialto is recognized among the most beautiful theaters in the country.
Another world-class entertainment destination in town is Billie Limacher Bicentennial Park, nestled in historic downtown Joliet. The park is one of the city’s best-kept secrets, featuring a riverwalk promenade, indoor theater and band shell. The complex is the site of many community gatherings, including the free Concert on the Hill summertime series, Waterway Daze and the holiday favorite Festival of the Gnomes.
Both the Rialto Square Theatre and Bicentennial Park, along with Joliet Junior College’s performing arts center and other area venues regularly present performances by a number of outstanding local troupes and organizations. The Joliet Drama Guild, Alphabet Soup children’s theater, the Metropolitan Youth Symphony Orchestra, the Joliet Area Theatre Organ Enthusiasts, area high school performing arts groups and others are all featured locally throughout the year.
On a Friday in June, the Joliet Chamber hosts its annual street fest, New Orleans North, featuring New Orleans bands and Cajun food. On a Saturday in September, the Joliet Chamber hosts another annual street fest, Fiesta En La Calle, featuring Latin music, food and products for sale. These one-night events draw several thousand visitors to Joliet City Center for food, music and fun. Mark your annual calendar and join the celebrations.
Joliet’s calendar is also full of highly-anticipated annual events and community gatherings. In addition to the events held at Bicentennial Park, the Joliet Park District is proud to present the Taste of Joliet. The City of Joliet also presents nitro nite, Star Wars Days, Blues & Brews on 66, the Race Fan Rally, KidzFest, Independence Day festivities and the Christmas Parade and Tree Lighting Ceremony – to name a few! Live music is a favorite Joliet pastime, as well, and can be enjoyed any time of year.
This rich blend of culture comes together to enhance the overall quality of life discovered in Joliet.