Chicago on a Summer Afternoon

Chicago’s Best Summer Activities

When thinking of a summer vacation spot, a place dubbed the “Windy City” might not be the first destination on your list. Keep in mind, though, that during a Chicago summer the wind is a warm summer breeze off Lake Michigan, wafting the smells of a classic American summer. With its abundance of food, baseball, beer, beaches, carnival rides, boat tours, and good people, Chicago grows on you fast. There’s a moment when, standing up after the final pitch at a Cubs game and singing together with other fans of the perennially losing team, the summer breeze reminds you of the cool waters of the lake and the warm evening ahead. That’s the moment when you smile and fall in love with the city of Chicago.


Navy Pier
By David Bjorgen (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-2.5], via Wikimedia Commons

The first place people think of when visiting Chicago in the summer is the world famous Navy Pier. On the pier, fun is inevitable, but don’t leave without getting to the top of the 150 foot Ferris wheel. The pier also hosts a fireworks display two times each week, offers live entertainment on the Skyline stage, gives boat tours, and is home to a solid beer garden. If you want the idyllic Chicago boat tour experience, check out the Wendella Boat Tours for memorable river and lake tours. The architecture tour is outstanding, with views of the old buildings and modern masterpieces from the river and the lake. Oak Street Beach is a popular destination for those looking for the true Chicago beach experience, but for an alternative way to cool off, visit Millennium Park to find an array of fountains perfect for kids and adults to splash through. For more aquatics without the drying off, Shedd Aquarium is one of the best places in the world to see incredible sea life up close.

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Shedd Aquarium
By Adam sk (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Those attractions are just samples of some of the great places to visit and things to do in Chicago any time during the summer, but what is the secret to a Chicago summer? No other city in the nation loves throwing a party more than Chi-Town, so the key to the summer success is planning ahead and making sure to catch the city during one of its outstanding annual events. The Taste of Chicago is at the top of the list. This event, held at Grant Park in July, features copious quantities of food, music, and fun. Local Chicago vendors serve amazing food, well-known bands take the stage, and activities are available for all ages.


Landscape photograph of Chicago
By Chris Taylor [GFDL or CC-BY-SA-3.0-2.5-2.0-1.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Another secret to Chicago summers: block parties. Located in Chicago’s West Loop, the Old St. Patrick’s World’s Largest Block Party brings in over 25,000 people and features food and music. (Sensing a Chicago Summer theme yet?) Many local establishments and neighborhoods host block parties, including breweries like Goose Island, and venues likes Oak Street, Libertyville, and Wrigleyville, which is essentially one big summer block party… all the time. Going to a Cubs game at Wrigley Field is absolutely required if you’re going to have a true Chicago summer experience. Wrigleyville is the neighborhood around the ballpark that’s chock full of nightlife and a never-ending party-like atmosphere.

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By Wally Argus under CC BY-ND 2.0
By Wally Argus under CC BY-ND 2.0


Chicago summers offer just about everything you could possibly want from a city, and every time you visit you’ll discover something new and fun to do, see, or eat. Chicago has plenty of options for air travel, and driving in the city is not as hard as you might think. Explore the different neighborhoods by taking advantage of a great public transportation system, and try to take in as much of the great energy this city provides on any given summer day.

About the author

Adrian Cruce

I just love to travel, write about travel and so much more! :D Hope you enjoy my articles and Travel Tips. Feel free to comment below and get in touch with me on my blog and on Twitter!