When summer days are in full swing, there is no better place to spend a gorgeous, sunny day than Chicago. It’s a great city for young adults, families, girl trips, guy trips, visiting alone, traveling with someone special — there’s something for everyone.
Traveling in the summer makes the most of gorgeous days when spending time outside, finding ways to cool off, and joining in on fun festivals and parties. In this article, we’ll cover 10 reasons why Chicago is a fantastic summer city with a plethora of those great summer activities:
- Two Legendary Baseball Teams
Chicago is home to two legendary baseball teams: the Cubs and the White Socks. Attending a game for either team is a great way to spend a sunny summer day.
If you schedule it just right, you can even catch the Crosstown Classic where the teams play against each other. The Crosstown Classic gets a little lively, so be ready to defend your team and make a racket in the stands if you attend these exciting games.
- Tons of Outdoor Street Festivals
Through the summer months, outdoor street festivals occupy just about every weekend. These festivals tend to center around food, art, or music.
The most well-known of these festivals is Taste of Chicago. Taste of Chicago includes city food vendors as far as the eye can see. The festival highlights local flavor and almost all of the vendors are restaurants that started right in the city. This enormous food festival lasts for five days at the beginning of July.
- Free Events for All Ages
Every weekend in the summer, you can find free events in parks and public spaces. These events are typically all-ages so they’re great for families who are visiting on a budget.
One great example is the Summer Movies in the Park series. On Fridays and Saturdays during the summer, you can see a family-friendly movie for free. All you have to do is check the schedule to find out what’s playing and where. Then, bring some snacks, a picnic blanket, and spend the evening outside.
- Beautiful Beaches for Sunbathing
You don’t often get gorgeous beaches and stunning city skylines in the same area, but that’s the case for Chicago. Right on the shore of Lake Michigan, are some great beaches to set out a blanket and spend the day sunbathing.
One of the most popular options is North Avenue Beach. While there, you can swim, play volleyball, enjoy food from Castaways Bar and Grill, concessions from Pronto Pups, and rent lounge chairs or umbrellas from the Boucher brothers.
- Plenty of Ways to Cool Off
Although the beach may be the first place you go to cool off on a hot summer day, plenty of other options are available. If the beach is too crowded, or if that just is not your scene, take advantage of other attractions like kayak tours, boat rentals, or just splash around in Crown Fountain for a bit. There’s certainly more than one way to beat the summer heat, so feel free to branch out!
- Fantastic Views from Rooftop Bars
If you want to sip cocktails in style, there’s no better way to do it than to go to a rooftop bar. You’ll get great drinks, an amazing view of the city and the lake, and you get to enjoy the warm summer night.
Want to find out more about the hottest places in the city? This Party Slate list of best rooftop bars in Chicago will steer you in the right direction. Each of the many great places in the city offers a unique view, so do some research ahead of time to find the perfect one for you.
- Free Parks for Lounging and Picnics
Chicago has many free parks to enjoy on sunny summer days. According to U.S. News, Chicago ranks in the top 10 for urban park systems in the country. Parks comprise about 10% of the city and have a median size of 2.2 acres per park.
Lincoln Park and Millennium Park are the two most popular in the city, with free events, free activities, and central locations.
- Amazing Farmer’s Markets
During the summer, farmer’s markets pop up all over the country. The great thing about Chicago’s farmer’s markets is the wide selection of products available, you’re sure to find something delicious. If you’re just visiting and you don’t want to pick up produce, take advantage of the vendors who are serving up delicious grab-and-go foods like tacos, coffee, or grilled cheese.
Here are five of the most popular options:
- Green City Market
- Plant Chicago Farmer’s Market
- 61st Street Farmer’s Market
- Logan Square Farmer’s Market
- Austin Harvest Market
- Music Festivals for Every Taste
Some of the biggest music festivals in the nation are held in Chicago over the summer. The most popular include Lollapalooza, the Chicago Blues Festival, and Riot Fest. While these are some of the top festivals, countless smaller festivals occur all over the city. No matter your music taste, you can find something that suits you.
Depending on which festival you attend, these events can be pretty pricey and often span multiple days, so be sure to plan ahead of time.
- Catch the Fireworks at Navy Pier
Starting after Memorial Day and going through Labor Day, a free fireworks show is held every Wednesday and Saturday at Navy Pier. The fireworks are lit over the water, so you can watch them light up the sky and glitter over Lake Michigan. This fireworks show is the perfect way to cap off a warm summer day.
Chicago has it all when it comes to summer activities. You can visit for the day or plan a multi-day trip to really make the most of everything the city has to offer. Start planning now so you have the perfect getaway lined up when summer arrives.