Get ready for the best season in Chicago! Are you looking for something fun and exciting to do this summer? Locals and visitors alike love taking full advantage of the warm weather, and there’s no shortage of fun events and activities to fill these balmy summer days and evenings. With Chicago's bustling cultural scene, you won't be short of options. From classic attractions to the newest fads, this summer will be full of fun, unique events to enjoy.
Get ready to explore the great Windy City and make the most of your summer break. With this guide, you will be sure to find the best activities for you, your friends, and family.
Chicago’s Top Summer Attractions
Navy Pier Fireworks
This is one of the classic summer activities in Chicago. Every Wednesday at 9 pm and Saturday at 10 pm, starting Memorial Day weekend through to Labor Day weekend, marvel at the dazzling fireworks spectacle put on all summer long at Chicago’s famous Navy Pier. Take in the show from any of the beaches along the lake, from the pier itself, or book a romantic dinner cruise to see them from the water in style.
For the most stunning vantage point (like in this photo),head to the 360 CHICAGO Observation Deck to catch the fireworks from 94 floors up!
The boys of summer are in full swing as the Cubbies take to the diamond this summer in front of their loyal fans at Wrigley Field. Even if you’re not into baseball, Wrigley Field is designated as a historic landmark, and is one of the two oldest operating Major League parks in the country. Can you guess the other one?
Get your Cubs tickets now!
The 606 Trail
Situated in the lush Logan Square neighborhood, the 606 Trail is Chicago’s answer to the High Line, and summer in Chicago is the perfect backdrop. At almost three miles long, the beautiful elevated park used to be a railroad track for the city’s famous “L” Train. Walk, skate, or ride your bike and discover art installations, murals, and other community engagement projects. The 606 is also a great place to bring a picnic!
Chicago River Architecture Cruise
The incredible story of Chicago might best be told through its captivating architecture. These guided cruises are the perfect way to relax, take in the sights, and learn some of the amazing history behind the city’s most iconic buildings.
The Forge: Lemont Quarries Adventure Park
If big adventure is what you’re after, head just 22 miles outside of Chicago to The Forge: Lemont Quarries, where you’ll find outdoor activities for the whole family. No matter your age or fitness level, there’s something for everyone at The Forge, including climbing, ziplining, competitive activities like laser tag, hiking, kayaking, and so much more. There are even several dining options to refuel after your adventure.
Check out all the fun at The Forge, and book your adventure now!
The Forge also features a full summer schedule of concerts, live music, and events too.
360 CHICAGO Observation Deck
Take in breathtaking panoramic views of the whole city from 1,000 feet above the famed Magnificent Mile at the 360 CHICAGO Observation Deck at the top of the former John Hancock Center. Visit CloudBar for a Sip and View, and if excitement is what you’re after, step into TILT, the world’s highest thrill ride. It's no surprise why its one of the top things to do in Chicago in summer.
Get your tickets now for 360 CHICAGO and skip the line!
Blast off for some family fun with your favorite Pixar characters in this interactive, 18-hole mini-golf experience popping up all summer long at the Navy Pier. Putt your way through the worlds of Toy Story, Monsters, Inc., Finding Nemo, and the rest of the Pixar animated universe.
You can only get tickets online, so click to purchase your tickets here.
Chicago Summer Events in 2023
Millennium Park Summer Music Series
Starting June 22,2023 to August 21, 2023 at Millennium Park’s Jay Pritzker Pavilion, enjoy music from around the world and right here in Chitown, featuring artists both emerging and established. This summer’s series always kicks off with a renowned music artist so check back on who is headlining the series this year.
Admission to concerts is always free, the park is open from 6:30 pm -11 pm. Find the summer events schedule and super helpful information about planning your visit here.
The Chicago City Markets
Spend your summer exploring the City of Chicago's wide array of farmer's markets! Stocking up on freshly grown produce, aromatic flowers, pre-prepared meals, handmade goods, and uncommon trinkets is just a short journey away. Every Wednesday through Sunday, beginning on May 6 and running until October 29, you can visit the longest-running market in Chicago - the iconic Daley Plaza Farmers Market - as well as the storied Maxwell Street Market and numerous community markets. For a full list of markets, check out the map and date schedule for more information.
Grant Park Classical Music Festival
Summer in Chicago isn't complete without a good festival. Grant Park is home to the only free outdoor classical music festival in the country. Featuring the Grant Park Symphony Orchestra and Chorus, along with a bevy of guest musicians and conductors, performances take place throughout the summer, and the lineup of performances this year look fantastic. The music festival starts in June and through August.
The Taste of Chicago
Since 1980, Chicago's food scene has come alive during summertime with a fantastic range of restaurants and eateries showcasing the city's incredible culinary art and diversity. Although dates and locations may have shifted this year due to city events, the festival will still commence in Humboldt Park on Saturday June 24th, then to Pullman Park on July 15th, Marquette Park on August 5th, and ultimately return to Grant Park on September 8th - 10th. Don't forget, entry is free! For more details, please visit the Taste of Chicago.
The Chicago Air and Water Show
The City of Chicago is delighted to present the Air and Water Show - an annual celebration that has been thrilling viewers for 62 years. This year, the show will take place at North Avenue Beach and Chicago's Lake Michigan lakeshore from 10 am-2 pm on August 19 and 20th, with practice taking place on the 18th. Spectators will be presented with an unforgettable view, with a reported attendance of up to two million annually. Throughout its years of operation, the show has seen performances from a selection of top civilian and military pilots and aircraft, such as the U.S. Navy Blue Angels, the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds, and the U.S. Army Parachute Team Golden Knights. As no public seating areas are available at the event, attendees are encouraged to find spots in the park's sand or grass areas. To make the most of the show, consider taking in the views from 360 CHICAGO, with its prime and uninterrupted panoramic views of the show.
The world-renowned Lollapalooza music festival returns to its permanent home in Chicago on August 3rd-6th, taking over Grant Park with 9 stages and over 170 acts. Fans can look forward to spectacular performances from the likes of Billie Eilish, Karol G, The 1975, and the Red Hot Chili Peppers. Available ticketing options include General Admission, VIP, and Platinum, as well as one-day, two-day, and four-day passes. For the complete lineup and ticket information, check out Lollapalooza's official website. So get your hands on the Lolla lineup, details, and tickets now!
There’s so much to do this time of year in the windy city! We hope this Chicago Summer Guide is helpful as you and your loved ones get out into the warm weather and take in all the city has to offer. While you're here, explore the vibrant Chicago Neighborhoods using this handy guide for fun things to do, cultural flavors, and great views of the city.
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