When I tell people that I live in Chicago, they usually either say “aw I love Chicago!“… or they cringe a little and say “those winters are bad, huh?” Yes stranger, the winters are bad! But what those people don’t know how just how much Chicago makes it up to all of us over the summer.
To be honest, I’ve been traveling so much that I haven’t been able to enjoy as much #SummertimeChi as I’d like to this year. Luckily, I don’t buy into the notion that summer is over after Labor Day. We’ve got a whole month left to enjoy the sunshine, and I’m not going anywhere for the next THREE weekends!! Yes friends, that means I’ve got a whole lot of summer lovin left ?
So… what’s so great about summer in Chicago?
Oh hey, I’m glad you asked! Yes, summer is pretty much beautiful everywhere, but there are specific reasons why it’s so great here in Chicago.
This city is such a beauty.
The nice weather enhances that. Obviously.
Patios, Rooftops, and Beer Gardens, OH MY!
FACT: As soon as it’s nice out, I want to be drinking a margarita on Big Star’s patio. Honestly, I think almost every Chicagoan I know feels the EXACT same way. We’re cooped up inside for so many months, that it feels so freaking good to sit outside on a gorgeous summer afternoon or evening. But the best part? Chicago restaurants know this about us and make it happen. More and more rooftop bars are opening. There are hidden patios and beer gardens all over the city. And even if the restaurant doesn’t have conventional outdoor seating, most of them will still open all their front windows or set a few tables outside on the sidewalk for goodness sake. It’s the best. (A roundup of my favorite patios is coming next Friday!)
Farmer’s Markets/Lincoln Park Zoo
You can stroll right through one of our many Farmer’s Markets or head over to our (free!) Zoo in Lincoln Park. Maybe take a photo on the bridge with the skyline behind you, too! Sounds like a pretty nice Saturday, huh?
No one does street festivals like Chicago. They happen in neighborhoods all over the city showcasing local food, local artists, local bands. I personally love that there’s a lot of pride and energy at each one, and you can feel that whether you’re there all day or just swinging by for a few minutes.
The Architecture Tour
This is definitely the coolest thing you can do if you want a “touristy” day in Chicago. Check out the new Riverwalk and then hop on a boat and cruise along the Chicago River learning all about our city’s amazing architecture. In the sunshine on a gorgeous summer day. Go ahead, you can pretend you’re in My Best Friend’s Wedding if you want, too ?
Explore New Neighborhoods
Chicago has a LOT of cool neighborhoods, and summer is the perfect opportunity to spend some time in each one. You can take the train up to Ravenswood or down to Pilsen. You can walk around all of the side streets in Lincoln Park and oogle at all of the amazing homes. Or you could finally go to that out-of-the-way restaurant that you keep hearing about. Since we’re not rushing from one indoor spot to another, there’s more time to just wander and enjoy.
You already know how I feel about Lollapalooza, but there are also outdoor concerts at Northerly Island, Soldier Field, and Wrigley Field. If you want to get out of the city, you can pack a picnic and take the train right to Ravinia, an outdoor concert venue in Highland Park. And of course, who could forget the FREE outdoor concerts and movies in Millennium Park?! So much fun.
What they say is true, there’s nothin quite like spending a summer day at Wrigley. Whether you’re behind the pitcher’s mound or in the bleachers, all you need is your Cub’s hat and a beer and you’re in for a really fun afternoon. And yes, it’s extra exciting now that they’re good, but Chicagoans have been changing the words to “root root root for the CUBBIES” even when they were awful… which is probably why you saw so many grown men crying in the streets the night they won the World Series ? (PS. I would include Sox games too, but I’ve never been to one!)
Oh, the lakefront. This is the most magical part of Chicago in my opinion. It’s the one place you can go to get the perfect combination of nature and city. You can literally put your toes in the sand and look out over a beautiful body of water… and then turn your head to the right and see my favorite city skyline in the world. Standing in this spot always overwhelms me with gratitude. This is where I get to live? How lucky am I?!
Beyond all of those points, Chicago summers are also a great time to bust out your cute crop top sets, like this pom pom one! So perfect for one of those outdoor concerts or a stroll along the beach.
What do you like best about Chicago summers?
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Photos by Ali Stone