Chicago is a beautiful place to spend the summer whether you live here or if you’re just coming for a visit. With Lake Michigan to the east and a city full of cultural activities, bars, and restaurants, there is plenty of fun to be had by all members of your family. We’ve created a guide to summer activities guaranteed to entertain.
Chicago is right on Lake Michigan and there are miles of beachfront in the city where you can spend the entire day. Whether you’re looking to sunbathe or try some outdoor adventures like kayaking or jet skiing, you can find a beach where you can get the perfect experience. There are plenty of sandy beaches so you can take your pick. You can relax by the lake, build sandcastles, or enjoy a nice cocktail at Foster Beach or North Avenue Beach. You can also rent a cabana or participate in a beach volleyball tournament at Oak Street Beach.
There are more than two dozen total public beaches in Chicago, and most of them are connected by the 19-mile Lakefront Trail. You can find the perfect one for you and hang out there all summer long, or you can try a new one every day until you’ve been to them all.
The Riverwalk is a public outdoor space in Chicago where you can find art, rentals, and open green spaces to enjoy. The man-made Chicago River that runs through Chicago provides a beautiful backdrop for the restaurants and bars that line the waterway and the walking path. You can find any restaurant on the Riverwalk, from ice cream at Sweet Home Gelato to warm pretzels at the Northman Beer and Cider Garden. Regardless of your budget, it can be a great way to spend a cool summer evening along the water.
You can choose to eat outside and enjoy the friendly atmosphere of the Riverwalk, and after your meal, you can move around to other restaurants as well, tasting their wine menus or dessert options. It’s a great way to spend the evening experiencing the best Chicago has to offer.
Boat cruises sail along Lake Michigan and the Chicago River all summer long, showing off the various breathtaking sites in Chicago from a different viewpoint. You can enjoy a relaxing sail while still learning about the city of Chicago while sharing a drink or a meal.
You can select the boat cruises based on your interests, and there are plenty to choose. Architecture boat cruises are classic because Chicago has so much history to learn from its architecture. The location of the Chicago River can show off a lot of Chicago’s most famous buildings. You can also sign up for a more party-oriented river cruise to have fun while sailing around the city you love.
Chicago plays host to a couple of famous festivals in the summer to entertain all those music lovers. Held in Chicago’s beautiful public parks, these festivals can be the perfect way to spend the day outside, relaxing with loved ones. You can see your favorite music acts at one of the biggest music festivals in the country, Lollapalooza. If you are a blues music fan, you can check out the Chicago Blues Festival or spend some time in Chicago’s famous Millennium Park during the Millennium Park Summer Music Series.
For all the foodies in Chicago, there is the Taste of Chicago pop-ups throughout the city, and the Windy City Smokeout, where you can taste some of Chicago’s best barbecue. These festivals are hosted all over the city and provide a great excuse to enjoy the outdoors while learning more about the world of music, food, or culture that exists right here in Chicago.
Navy Pier is one of Chicago’s historic lakefront neighborhoods, full of fun ways to spend the day or night. Known for its Iconic Ferris wheel, Centennial Wheel, the pier has plenty of classic boardwalk attractions, like a summer fireworks attraction where you can witness amazing fireworks shows over the beautiful Lake Michigan at night. You can enjoy the food and drinks available on the pier, like the waterfront beer garden that offers hot dogs and amazing views.
There is no shortage of events to enjoy on the pier too. Programming at the pier is legendary, with free and public programs that everyone can enjoy, like art installations and dance performances that happen all year round. The programming team at the pier also organizes plays to put on at the Courtyard Theater and music events at the various venues on the pier, so no matter what night you choose to go, there is always something interesting to do.
Chicago is also the home of the skyscraper, which you can take full advantage of in the summer by enjoying a drink on one of Chicago’s many impressively high rooftop bars. You can catch a warm happy hour drink after work with bites to eat and plenty of affordably priced drinks, or you can enjoy a sophisticated meal with a loved one at an upscale restaurant in the sky.
LH Rooftop is a restaurant and bar in the LondonHouse Chicago Hotel. The hotel has three different bars, each with a unique view and atmosphere. You can feel like you’ve gone on a bar crawl without ever leaving the building. LH Rooftop is a tri-level rooftop bar with indoor and outdoor dining and a menu inspired by re-imagined American cuisine. If you are looking for somewhere to cool down, Wicker Park’s Cabana Club in the Robey Hotel has seasonal cocktails and a chic pool.
Regardless of how you like to spend your summer days, there is plenty to do in Chicago to keep busy all through the hotter months. If we’ve left off your favorite summer pastime, contact us to let us know. Of course, to truly enjoy the summer, you need to take care of your physical health and mobility, so consider reaching out to us at Dr. Schoene for any of your podiatry or physical therapy needs.