Pokémon Go Fest Chicago marked the first anniversary of Pokémon Go this summer, with plans to kick off a series of mystery challenges and rewards for Pokémon Go players worldwide.

Unfortunately things didn't exactly go to plan, with major connection issues undermining players' ability to take part.

The event is the first official gathering of players, and was set to debut one of the most anticipated features - the arrival of Legendary Pokémon - but instead of the planned mass Legendary raiding, those Legendaries and the various in-game bonus rewards were unlocked for free instead.

Here on this page, we'll highlight what happened at Go Fest, the festival's original plans, and what you can expect from the Safari Zone event in Europe later in the summer.

Unusual Sightings event in Europe

Coming not long after the delay of the Safari Zone events in August, Niantic has announced major European cities will see "unusual Pokémon sightings" until August 21st - including several UK locations. The sightings confirmed so far include:

  • Unown (usually incredibly rare, letters E-U-R-O-P only)
  • Kangaskhan (usually region-exclusive to Australasia)

It was added Unibail-Rodamco shopping centres would play host to these unusual spawns, as well as their PokéStops having Lures enabled on the weekends of August 12th and August 19th.

Cities that will see unusual sightings include:

  • Vienna, Austria
  • Prague, Czech Republic
  • Copenhagen, Denmark
  • Helsinki, Finland
  • Dijon, France
  • Lille, France
  • Lyon, France
  • Marseille, France
  • Nice, France
  • Paris, France
  • Rennes, France
  • Berlin, Germany
  • Bochum, Germany
  • Gera, Germany
  • Leipzig, Germany
  • Mönchengladbach, Germany
  • Munich, Germany
  • Oberhausen, Germany
  • Recklinghausen, Germany
  • Milan, Italy
  • Naples, Italy
  • Rome, Italy
  • Oslo, Norway
  • Warsaw, Poland
  • Lisbon, Portugal
  • Bratislava, Slovakia
  • Badajoz, Spain
  • Barcelona, Spain
  • Cádiz, Spain
  • Madrid, Spain
  • Sevilla, Spain
  • San Sebastián, Spain
  • Valencia, Spain
  • Valladolid, Spain
  • Stockholm, Sweden
  • Zürich, Switzerland
  • Amsterdam, The Netherlands
  • Leidschendam, The Netherlands
  • Zoetermeer, The Netherlands
  • Belfast, United Kingdom
  • Birmingham, United Kingdom
  • Cardiff, United Kingdom
  • Glasgow, United Kingdom
  • London, United Kingdom
  • Manchester, United Kingdom

Pokémon Go Safari Zone and Big Heritage events in Europe and the UK

It's not just the US that gets a special event like Go Fest this summer.

However, following the events of Chicago, the August dates in Denmark, Czech Republic, Sweden and the Netherlands have been postponed until a date later in the autumn. Japan's August event, as well as September dates in Germany, France and Spain are currently to continue as planned.


Mainland Europe will experience Safari Zone events, of which the benefits are twofold. Similar to Go Fest, players will be able to see Pokémon not usually found in the wild here - think region exclusive Pokémon like Kangaskhan and Corsola, and note the little Unown in the top right of the promo image.

Pokémon Go Safari Zone Europe dates and details:

  • August 14th - Pokemon Go Stadium (Yokohama, Japan)
  • September 16th - CentrO (Oberhausen, Germany); Les Quatre Temps (Paris, France); La Miquinista (Barcelona, Spain).
  • October 7th - Fisketorvet (Copenhagen, Denmark); and Centrum Cerny Most (Prague, Czech Republic).
  • October 14th - Mall of Scandinavia (Stockholm, Sweden); and Stadshart Amstelveen (Amstelveen, The Netherlands).

At each of the European events, players will receive an in-game medal, special 2km Eggs, and Lures will be activated all day. There will also be rare Pokémon around, like Kangaskhan, Chansey, Larvitar and others, as well as Shiny Pikachu and Magikarp, and various forms of Unown - Raid battles, however, will be disabled in the area to help things run smoothly.

Want more help with Pokémon Go? As well as our Pokémon Go tips, tricks and guides page, you can look up the Gen 2 Pokédex on how to catch the most recent creatures, including those requiring Special Items such as the Dragon Scale. We also explain the recent Gym rework, how to get PokéCoins, Raids, Raid Battles, and Raid Bosses, and what we know about the addition of promo codes. Elsewhere, read about Eevee evolutions, Egg hatching distance charts, best Pokémon tier lists, best moves and movesets and the XP chart. Plus, sice their release you can read everything we know about how to catch Legendary Pokémon like Articuno and Lugia, and all the others that are expected to be on their way.

Other Pokémon Go events

As well as the above on-going and upcoming events, there have already been several others that have happened so far.

Pokémon Go Park at Pikachu Outbreak in Japan

Between August 8 to August 15, 2017, two areas in Yokohama played host to special Kanto and Johto-themed parks, with creatures to match. It also offered Mr Mime - usually exclusive to Europe - Unown and the debut of a shiny Pikachu.

It also debuted several new Raid encounters, though it's unknown whether these will be rolled out worldwide.

Pokémon Go Heritage Festival in Chester, UK

Though technically not on the same scale as previous events, in July 2017 a Big Heritage partnership that got players walking around the historic city of Chester and Chester Castle. No new reveals or exclusive creatures, but it was a different way to explore a city and get numbers together for Raid encounters.

  • Pokémon Go PastPorts - this was the only place in the world you can get one so far - but note that it was a real-world thing that got stamped, not an in-game item! It'll allowed you to "Visit four historic camps across the city (to be revealed on the day) to find characters from across the city's history".
  • Pokémon GO Map Trail - "use the game to help you navigate around the city to find 10 specific Pokéstops and find the answer to questions on a special Pokémon GO explorers map." Visiting all ten got you a special certificate.
  • 120 new Pokéstops and Gyms
  • Lots of new Lures dropped around the city.
  • A Raid Radio dedicated to the festival that alerts you of nearby players taking on Raids.
  • A chance to create your own new Pokéstop.

Pokémon Go Fest event in Chicago

Before the major connectivity issues, this was what the plans were supposed to be.

Based in Grant Park, the community event featured special Pokéstops that spat out 2km Eggs only available at the event, increased Pokémon encounters with never-before-seen creatures in that area (including region exclusive appearances of Heracross, and the super-rare Unown), team lounges for Instinct, Mystic and Valor players, photo opportunities and a unique event Medal - the first of its kind.

Ultimately, though, the Chicago event was all about unlocking rewards, and not just for the local players who made it to the event itself, with rewards going out to the rest of the world's Pokémon Go fans as well.

One of them was Legendary Pokémon, which made their debut during the event, and in the end rolled out to all players worldwide.


As well as participating from home by catching creatures, fans could also follow the events from Chicago live over Twitch.


In essence, the event originally worked as follows:

Catch Challenge and global Mystery Challenge details:

  1. Catch Challenge - a) Players in Chicago need to catch Pokémon during designated windows. This unlocked some local rewards, depending on the Types of the Pokémon caught; and b) Players worldwide needed to just catch as many as possible, unlocking one of three tiers of global reward, based on how well they performed. Bronze tier increased the duration of the Bonus for 24 hours, Silver for 48 hours, and Gold was supposed to unlock the Mystery Challenge...
  2. Mystery Challenge - If the Chicago players achieved the Gold Tier of rewards, this Mystery Challenge (a Legendary Raid) would have been unlocked. Based in Chicago's Grant Park, completing this would have unlocked a global reward (the release of Legendaries worldwide).
  3. Global Reward - While Niantic didn't explicitly say it would have been Legendary Pokémon until the last minute, that's what just about everyone expected - and they were right!

Updated plans after issues:

So, Pokémon Go Fest saw persistent connection issues that impacted the event for attendees.

The result was a full refund for attendees, along with $100 of PokéCoins for each of them too.

Despite the disruption though, as expected, Legendary Pokémon and the various Bonus Rewards were still unlocked worldwide, albeit with 100% capture rates for Chicago players' Legendaries, possibly as compensation for the fact that it was so hard to connect to the game.

Pokémon Go Fest refunds

For those that attended Pokemon Go Fest, refunds and compensation are on the way. Here's how to claim them:

  • If you attended the event, you must first apply for a refund for your ticket by visiting the page sent to your email address by no later than 11:59pm CT on Sunday, August 27 (that's 21:59pm Pacific, or 5:59am the next day in the UK). It will then be processed no later than Friday, September 1st, and then take 7-10 business days to appear in your account.
  • Only Front Gate Tickets will be refunded, and will be credited to the original form of purchase. "If you decided to resell your ticket, we encourage you to do the right thing and pass this refund onto whomever purchased the ticket", Niantic said.
  • For the compensation of $100 of in-game PokeCoins and Legendary Pokemon Lugia, these will be automatically added to each attendee's account within the next 7 business days from July 26th - no action required.

Additional reporting by Matthew Reynolds.

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Chris Tapsell

Chris Tapsell

Guides Writer

Chris Tapsell is Eurogamer's Guides Writer, its newest Chris, and a keen explorer of the dark arts of gaming, from League of Legends to the murky world of competitive Pokémon.

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