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Everyone loves Chicago in the summertime. You know what that means: start making up your guest room. There’s a good chance that you’ll have friends or family stopping by in the next few months to take advantage of our glorious summer. But don’t feel the need to hit up the same old tourist traps. Do these things instead.


Listen to the “Statue Stories”

We’d try this even if cousin Leslie weren’t in town. Across the city, 31 statues have tags you can swipe with your smart phone. When you do, you’ll get a call from a celebrity impersonating that statue to tell its story. Steve Carell as Man With the Fish? This we need to hear. Tours are self-guided.

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Eat at Revival Food Hall

Revival comes to the Loop this summer, and you (and your guests) will want to check it out. The 24,000-square-foot space is in a historic building in the Loop, and it offers 15 stalls slinging local foods (including ramen from Furious Spoon). Think of this as an eating tour of Chicago’s neighborhoods--but all in one spot.

125 S. Clark St. or

Chicago Architecture Foundation

Take The Chicago Architecture Foundation's River Cruise

Groundbreaking? Nah. But, this water-bound tour of architectural gems never gets old. You’ll learn the fascinating backstory of more than 50 buildings, all while soaking in that summer sun.And P.S.: If you take the “Twilight” cruise, drinks will be on hand.

The Barrel Run/Facebook

Tour Distilleries With Barrel Run

If it’s really drinks you’re after, you’ll want to check out Barrel Run. The company has a bus that looks like a giant barrel, which is a fine vehicle to whisk you to local distilleries and breweries. You can also acquaint your guests with the history of Al Capone (tourists love that guy) during the fun Prohibition tour.


Go to a Jazz Concert at the Aquarium

Starting in late June, Jazzin’ at the Shedd takes place on the Shedd’s terrace every Wednesday evening. Along with great live music--and fireworks--you’ll get admission to the museum. And every tourist needs to see the new baby sea otter.


Shop at Randolph Street Market

The West Loop’s indoor/outdoor market has hundreds of stalls slinging vintage jewelry, furniture, clothing and more. (All way better souvenirs than a Chicago mug.) Held throughout the summer, each market has a fun theme and plenty of food and drinks. 

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