30 Things to Do This Summer in Chicago from Now Until September
Our good friend Ferris Bueller once said: “Life moves pretty fast. If you don't stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.” And that’s exactly how we feel about summer in Chicago. So here’s how to make the most of it.
2. Visit the newly opened American Writers Museum. Perhaps some inspiration for that memoir you’ve been meaning to finish? (Bring your laptop to one of these glorious patios and complete your pièce de résistance.
3. Scour the stalls full of amazing antiques and vintage clothes at Randolph Street Market, which returns outdoors May 27.
4. Get front and center for performers like Wildhoney and The Ponys at Do Division (June 2 through 4). It’s one of our favorite ways to start a night out in Ukrainian Village.
5. See the work of Japanese artist Takashi Murakami at MCA starting in early June. His colorful flower prints rival the blooms outside.
6. Pack a picnic (and your comfiest Lands’ End flats) and head to the North Shore for Ravinia. The decades-old outdoor music festival begins its season June 3, and we’re dying to see John Legend (please tell us Chrissy will be there). Tip: Wear a breezy dress, but opt for darker colors like this Lands’ End shift—you’ll be sitting on grass, after all.
7. Chow down at Pilsen’s Food Truck Social (June 10 and 11). Empanadas, cupcakes and pizza all in one place? Um, yes please.
8. Catch the free fireworks off Navy Pier every Wednesday and Saturday night. They begin Memorial Day weekend—no need to wait for Fourth of July.
9. Wander the tents of more than 250 nationally acclaimed juried artists at Old Town Art Fair (June 10 and 11). It’s the perfect place to catch up with friends or plan a super-cute first date.
11. Camp out in Millennium Park Tuesday nights at 6:30 p.m. for free movies like La La Land, Julie and Julia and El Norte. Dreamy.
12. Watch Ferris Bueller’s Day Off like never before with a free screening at The Park at Wrigley High School (could there be a more apt venue?) on June 14.
13. Browse the selection and sit in for the panels and readings at the Chicago Tribune Printers Row Lit Fest (June 10 and 11). You need a good beach read, pronto.
14. Partake in all the Pride Week fun (June 17 through 25): From the parade to the live music to the general debauchery, there’s a little something for everyone.
15. Feast on Pork & Mindy’s as you root for the Cubs. The BBQ joint is the latest (and tastiest) food vendor to set up shop at Wrigley Field—Huh? What foul ball?
16. Hear from everyone’s favorite “bad feminist.” Roxane Gay gives a talk on her latest book, Hunger, which deals with weight and body image, as part of Chicago Humanities Fest on June 19.
17. Grab drinks on the terrace of the reopened and redesigned Talbott Hotel. The renovation embellishes the 1927 hotel’s historic grandeur with all the modern amenities and finishes you could want.
18. Take advantage of free music Mondays and Thursdays at Pritzker Pavilion. We’re so in for Amadou and Mariam on July 24.
19. See what the whole gong bath trend is about at Anatomy Redefined. The West Loop studio offers the Eastern-inspired sound therapy alongside mat and Reformer Pilates.
20. Hit up Cabana Club, the just-opened new rooftop pool at the so-hot-right-now Robey in Wicker Park.
21. Step back in time with a scoop (or two…or three) from one of Chicago’s old-school ice cream parlors. Or if 18-percent-butter-fat content milkshakes scare you, cool off with Miko’s Italian Ice. This summer marks the charming shop’s 20th year scooping out cups of watermelon, mango, kiwi and more.
22. Work your core, lengthen your limbs and above all do something pretty badass with a stand-up paddleboard yoga class at North Avenue Beach. Full moon, sunrise and sunset class times make the occasion only that much cooler.
23. Experience the cult of the Rolling Stones at their "Exhibitionism" exhibit at Navy Pier (through the end of July). It combines more than 500 musical instruments, clothing items and original artworks that belonged to band members.
24. Help beautify your city at one of the Field Museum’s volunteer days devoted to restoring the native wildlife at Beaubien Woods and Eggers Grove. Snacks are provided. We’re there.
25. Cross the Indiana Dunes off your Chicagoland bucket list. A one-hour drive will get you access to beautiful shoreline strolls as well as heartier dune and wetland hikes. Don’t forget to pack a pair of sneakers, like this mesh pair from Lands’ End, and a bathing suit for good measure.
26. Paddle the Chicago River with Kayak Chicago’s tours, rental and class options. Trust us: it will open your eyes to a whole new side of the city.
27. Skip the sea of crop tops and cutoff shorts and picnic outside Lolla (August 3 through 6) during your favorite headliner. Catch us outside during Chance the Rapper’s Saturday night set.
28. Do it up for the Air and Water Show (August 19 and 20) at The Signature Room. Its annual viewing party gives you 360-degree views, open bar and safe haven from the hot, sweaty crowds.
29. Make plans to grab coffee, drinks, dinner or all of the above at the hotly anticipated Ace Hotel when it opens in Fulton Market September 1. We can hardly wait for Jason Vincent’s (Nightwood, Giant) ground-floor restaurant.