Whether or not you have the post-grad blues, one simple fact remains true: summer in Chicago is glorious. As you’re all gearing up to start your career here at Morningstar, we encourage you to check out this list of some of Chicago’s best summertime attractions. Having lived in the city for a few years now, I definitely have my go-to spots, many of which I’ve listed below, and I encourage you to check out as many as you can!
Almost every summer weekend, there’s a different street festival happening in Chicago. Festivals like the Taste of Lincoln Ave are a great chance to explore different neighborhoods, hear cool music, see local art, and most important, try great food. The Pride Parade is a blast, and the Roscoe Village Burger Bar is a great opportunity to eat your way through a very cool area of Chicago. If you’re looking for a more cultural experience, check out the Old Town Art Fair or head to the ‘burbs for the famous Frank Lloyd Wright tour in Oak Park. Although it’s not technically a street festival, the Green City Farmer’s Market (Wednesdays and Saturdays in Lincoln Park) is a wonderful place to bask in the glory of local produce and other treats. There’s also the World’s Largest Block Party, which features music for all ages and supports social justice initiatives and outreach programs put on by Old St. Patrick’s.
Chicago is the birthplace of many iconic music experiences, so get your tickets ahead of time! Spring Awakening is a great place to get a healthy dose of EDM and house music. Throughout the summer, Ravinia in Highland Park attracts thousands of visitors for approximately 120 to 150 concerts, ranging from John Legend to James Taylor. Finally, there is the behemoth of music festivals: Lollapalooza. People come from all over to see this epic 3-day festival that takes over Grant Park in the heart of downtown Chicago. Whether you buy a one-day or a three-day pass, you’ll be able to catch bands big and small–maybe discovering your new favorite artist.
While festivals are fun, they can be a burden on your wallet, so throw in some free activities as well. Throughout the summer, you can catch free concerts on Mondays and free movies on Tuesdays in Millennium Park, just a few blocks from Morningstar. Bring a blanket and some friends and enjoy! Starting in June, the Chicago International Film festival offers free movies every Wednesday as well. When you’re movie-d out, the next obvious choice is the beach! Whether you prefer the ever-popular, always crowded North Ave Beach, Oak Street Beach, Montrose Beach, or one of many others, make sure to spend some time in the sand.
Add these two websites to your bookmarks: Thrillist and Metromix. Thrillist is great for fun bars and restaurants, and Metromix keeps you up to speed on all of the events going on throughout the city.
In a city with two major league baseball teams, you don’t need to pick just one! Grab some friends and get bleacher seat tickets to a Cubs game, or head down south to see the White Sox in action. Rather be the one on the field or in the studio? There’s coutless opportunities to escape the indoors for your workout with free weekly classes of Yoga, Tai Chi, Zumba and Pilates in Millenium Park. To get you to all of these activities, consider signing up for Divvy, Chicago’s new bike sharing project with stations throughout the city.
Roofdecks and Patios
The Lincoln Hotel Rooftop, Big Star, and Parson’s Chicken and Fish are just a few restaurants you’ll want to check out this summer. Sheffield’s in Lakeview is another great place to start exploring Chicago’s restaurant scene. The past couple of years, this beer & wine garden has become a go-to stop for some quality BBQ. So whether you’re looking to pass some time with friends or get a quality meal, this could be the place to start!
If music and food are the perfect combination, Jazz at the Shedd, with performances from local musicians and vocalists, may pique your interest. And if you happen to be at the Shedd on a Wednesday or Saturday evening, take advantage of the Summer Fireworks at nearby Navy Pier!
If for any reason you tire of the beach or the rooftops, jump on one of Chicago’s famed architecture tours.