The days are longer, the temps are climbing and summer is starting soon. Looking for ideas for fun things to do in the sun? This summer, why not be a tourist in your own city? Here’s how to have an unforgettable summer in Chicago.


Chicago Summerdance 2018

Dance it up on summer evenings at the largest annual outdoor live music and dancing series in the nation. See performances and take part in dance lessons with professional instructors. From salsa to swing and cha-cha, from dance-offs to competitions, do it all at the Spirit of Music Garden in Grant Park.

Take a Beach Day

Relax in paradise without having to leave Chicago and take your pup to Montrose Beach for a day of Frisbee, fun and sun. Get your yoga on at North Avenue Beach of Lincoln Park, then grab a bite to eat at the ship-shaped Castaways Bar & Grill. Looking for a tropical vibe? Visit the palm tree-covered Oak Street Beach. And while you’re there, be sure to take in the street art at the Jeff Zimmerman mural.

American Writers Museum

Discover your muse at the new and unique American Writers Museum. Contribute a line to the Story of the Day, and walk away ready to plug away at a novel over the summer. Check out the featured summer events that explore topics ranging from First Books to Writing the Blues.

The Lakefront Trail

Get some fresh air and Vitamin D on the 18.5-mile Lakefront Trail that spans much of Chicago. It’s popular with bikers, runners and rollerbladers, boasting beautiful views of the skyline and boats dotting the harbor.

Explore Chinatown by Boat

Take a water taxi to Chinatown, and sail your way through a scenic tour of the Chicago River. Don’t miss the fireworks tours on Wednesday and Saturday nights that give a dazzling waterfront view of the Navy Pier fireworks display.

Millennium Park Summer Film Series

What’s free, fun and quintessentially summer? Movies in the park. Especially when they’re held on Pritzker Pavilion’s new 40-foot LED screen. Grab a blanket, stretch out, and enjoy an outdoor movie on the Great Lawn.

Get Your Barbecue Fix

Nothing says summer like mouth-watering barbecue. Mix in some country music and craft beer, and the Windy City Smokeout is a can’t-miss event.

Get Artsy

Take it up a notch and attend an art class this summer at the Art Institute of Chicago. Explore family workshops, drop-in art making, and gallery talks all summer long.

Taste of Chicago

Find yourself at the Taste of Chicago for a broad array of the tastiest cuisine Chicago has to offer. Chefs and musicians gather in Grant Park to offer cooking demos and specialty cuisines against a background of various performing music artists. Be sure to check out the food trucks and pop-up restaurants at this 5-day festival.

Elevated Biking

What was once the Bloomingdale Line is now Chicago’s newest biking trail, atop a former elevated train line. Sweat it out and explore the city, taking in some stunning rooftop views.

Get ready for a summer of relaxation, fun and good eats with these top 10 activities in Chicago.

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