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Things to do in Chicago: A 2019 Summer guide

Things to Do in Chicago in Summer 2019

The unofficial start to summer is all but here, and there will soon be plenty of things to do in Chicago. While the first official day of summer is June 21, Chicago begins to celebrate on Memorial Day weekend, with events and attractions galore.  


Chicago is a wonderful city in the summertime, as the weather is perfect for locals and visitors alike to enjoy all the outdoors has to offer. From food to green spaces to museums to sporting events, Chicago has something for everyone to enjoy in the summer. 


Tourism is a major industry in Chicago, and the city continues to make a push to attract more and more visitors. According to Choose Chicago, the plethora of things to do in Chicago led the city to host 55.2 million domestic and overseas visitors in 2017 alone. The organization’s goal is to help the city attract 55 million visitors by 2020. 

If Chicago keeps building out its immense offering of attractions along with special events for the summer, it should be well on its way to reaching that goal.  
There are plenty of great things to do in Chicago in summer 2019. Here is a list of seven of these attractions, which represent only a small selection of what the city has to offer visitors. 

1. See Chicago’s Architecture – By Boat

Chicago has so much great architecture to see, including the Tribune Tower, Trump Tower, the Wrigley Building and the Willis Tower. But getting around the city on foot to see them all in one day can be exhausting. One alternative is to book a 75-minute cruise along the Chicago River

Not only will passengers get to see the architectural landmarks of the city, but they’ll be able to see the hidden gems as well with this tour. The cruise will take passengers on all three branches of the Chicago River, with live commentary to explain what you’re looking at. 

2. Get a Taste of Chicago’s Neighborhoods

One of the best things to do in Chicago, at any time of year, is to experience its unique and distinct neighborhoods. Summer is the best time to do this, though, as neighborhoods throughout the city host street festivals and block parties. 

One of the most popular ones is the Northalsted Market Days, which is the largest street festival in the Midwest. This summer’s 38th annual festival will be held August 10-11 in the Boystown/Lakeview district, and will feature live music on five stages along with more than 200 vendors, arts, crafts, food and drink. 

While in the area, make sure to take in the sights and tastes of the neighborhood – even if you can’t be in Chicago for the event. 

3. Get Your Music Fix at Lollapalooza 

Lollapalooza is a four-day music extravaganza held in Grant Park in Chicago. This year, it will be held from August 1-4. Some of the headlining acts are The Strokes and The Chainsmokers on August 1, Childish Gambino and Tame Impala on August 2, Twenty One Pilots and J Balvin on August 3, and Ariana Grande and Flume on August 4.  You can attend the world-renowned music festival for one day or all four days, and different entry passes are available. 

4. Grab a Bite to Eat Outside

When summer comes, one of the best things to do in Chicago is to dine al fresco at one of Central Chicago’s many outstanding restaurants. One of the best places to do so is Green Street Smoked Meats.  

The restaurant is a great place to grab a bite and a drink any time of the year, but it’s especially so when the weather is nice. Smoked meat not your thing? Don’t worry – there are plenty of other eateries to choose from where you can enjoy the outdoors. 

5. Hit the Beach

Chicago may be far from an ocean coastline, but that doesn’t mean there are no places to hit a beach in the summer. Lake Michigan provides 26 miles of sandy shoreline that loads of people enjoying the summer. 

One of the most popular places to do so is the Ohio Street Beach, which is open from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. every day. You can only swim there when lifeguards are on duty (from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.), but you can relax, catch a few rays and play some volleyball any time the beach is open. 

6. Cool Off Under a Fountain

One of the coolest (pun intended) things to do in Chicago in the summer is to experience the Crown Fountain in Millennium Park. It’s an interactive fountain that goes off to mixed media displays, all united by a black granite pool.  It’s a wonderful attraction for families who have children, but it’s also a cool thing to see and do if you’re an adult traveling to Chicago without any children.  

7. See a Show at the Theater 

If it gets too hot outside, you can always head inside to catch a show at the theater. Chicago offers a wide array of theaters with stunning shows. This summer, the James M. Nederlander Theatre will be putting on Andrew Lloyd Weber’s classic musical, Cats, from July 16 to August 4. 

These are just a few of the many things to do in Chicago in the summer of 2019. So, take a look at all Chicago has to offer, and come visit this summer. 
 

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