See Whats New On The Dining Scene Including Duck Duck Goat
Chicagos foodie scene keeps getting tastier, with Top Chef winner Stephanie Izard celebrating her first summer at Duck Duck Goat in the Fulton Market neighborhood, dishing up creative Chinese. A married couple who met working at the now-shuttered Charlie Trotters debuts Smyth in the West Loop this summer, with the choice of an 8- or 16-course menu and a ground-floor casual lounge called The Loyalist. Other hot-ticket/reservation new eateries in West Loop include Oriole, a new micro concept with just 28 seats and a 16-course fine-dining menu and Kitsune, the latest venture from Iliana Regan , this one with a Japanese twist.
PLAN YOUR TRIP: Visit Fodors Chicago Guide
Go To A Chicago Symphony Orchestra Concert
This city tends to attract a lot of popular musicians throughout the year, but if youre a fan of classical music, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra offers one of the best experiences in the area.
In addition to performing the works of beloved composers such as Mozart, Chopin, and more, this group also hosts movie concert events in which the music from the film is performed by the orchestra.
Get Up Close And Personal With The Crown Fountain
Probably one of the more unusual fountains in the world, the Crown Fountain for a start is a pair 50-foot tall cuboid block of glass bricks with a shallow reflection pool between them. That alone makes it a striking piece of public art. We say striking, but back before it was unveiled in 2004 it was downright controversial.
But the best part about the fountain isnt the architecture. Its the LED projections of over a thousand Chicago locals from different backgrounds and walks of life, making it look like theyre spewing water at you from their mouths sort of like a modern-day gargoyle. Seeing it is the one of the coolest things to do in Chicago.
Recommended Reading: Dear Evan Hansen Chicago Tickets
Eat And Admire On The Spirit Of Chicago Dinner Cruise
Take the riverfront experience to the next level by combining pristine Lake Michigan views with a delicious all-you-can-eat buffet dinner.
The menu includes entrees, salads, and desserts, ensuring that you disembark entirely stuffed and satisfied.
A DJ will spin the tunes all the way through, while the crewmates coordinate a few interactive games.
# 18 Wish America A Happy Birthday
Finally, no Chicago summer would be complete without the eye-popping Chicago fireworks show during the Fourth of July. Grab a coveted spot at Navy Pier, fling a towel on the citys shoreline, or reserve a seat at a high-rise bar.
Bursts of red, white, and blue will wow you with their splendor.
Chicago Food Planet offers a variety of awesome walking food tours in Chicago
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Go For A Ride With Divvy
Just like other urban meccas, Chicago has a shared-bicycle system to help visitors and locals get around, burn some calories, reduce traffic, and spend more time outdoors. Like many experiences in Chicago, biking is best enjoyed in summer! Rent your bright-blue bike from one of many stations throughout the city, and then head east to experience one of the reasons Chicago is continually voted a top cycling destination: 18 miles of car-free paved paths curls along Lake Michigan and through Grant Park, North Avenue Beach, and Lincoln Park. A 24-hour pass costs $9.95.
PLAN YOUR TRIP: Visit Fodors Chicago Guide
Spend A Night With The Bluest People Around
The classic that is Blue Man Group has just a few homes across the US and Chicago is one them. One of the best things to do in Chicago at night would be to book yourself a ticket and grab a seat for one of the weirder theatrical performances youre likely to see in your life. For starters, everyone is blue.
Its a multimedia extravaganza that started as a creative disturbance put on by three friends in the Lower East Side of Manhattan when they put on a tiny parade, which involved burning a Rambo doll and a piece of the Berlin Wall. That strangeness persists. Be warned: front row seats are in a splash zone.
Catch Live Music Movies Yoga And More On The Lakefront
Navy Pier offers a full schedule of free summer events, from live DJ performances to outdoor fitness classes. Check out everything happening on the Pier this summer and visit the Navy Pier events calendar for more details:
Navy Pier Pride on Saturday, June 26Wave Wall Moves dance series on SaturdaysWave Wall Wax DJ sets on SaturdaysLive on the Lake! concerts on Saturdays and SundaysPier Fitness classes on TuesdaysSkyline Sessions concerts on Thursdays and FridaysWater Flicks movie screenings on Mondays and Thursday starting July 8
Listen To Music At The Mca
The MCA is Chicagos Museum of Contemporary Art. This is a relatively small museum located in Chicagos Gold Coast neighborhood. In recent years, this museum has become famous for its main staircase.
The staircases wide base, granite sheen, and opposing lines create a unique design when looked at from above. Tuesdays are the best days to visit the MCA.
On Tuesdays, the MCA is free for Illinois residents and open late. Also, theres Tuesdays on the Terrace a free musical event series that takes place during summer.
Soak In The Skyline From A Lake Michigan Sightseeing Boat Tour
Get off your feet for a while sit back and relax on a boat as the captain takes you down the Chicago River, pointing out the iconic landmarks and delving into the citys rich history along the way.
If youre fed up with the crowds, take the experience to the next level by booking a private, luxury tour on your very own sailboat, or grab a two-person pontoon.
More Attractions In Chicago
From hang-gliding to diving into a Chicago-style pizza , you will never run out of things to do in Chicago. The Magnificent Mile is an impressive stretch of nearly 500 stores and hundreds of restaurants, so you can easily fill a day here. When weather permits, hit the links at local greens like the Jackson Park Golf Course. From the evening until the wee hours of the morning, night owls can burn plenty of calories on the dancefloors of downtown nightclubs. You should also embark on one of the many Chicago tours, which help you see the city by Segway®, bicycle, boat tour, or foot.
Watch Digital Art At Art On The Mart
If you are on or near the Chicago Riverwalk in the evening, you might want to check out Art on theMART, the largest permanent digital art projection in the world, projecting contemporary artwork across the 2.5-acre river-façade of theMART. The programming changes every few months and you can see current projections here.
When: 30-minute program of projections are displayed nightly at 9:00 & 9:30 p.m.
Where: The Merchandise Mart, 222 W Merchandise Mart Plaza, Chicago, IL 60654. Spectators can watch the show from the jetty section of the Chicago Riverwalk on Wacker Drive between Wells Street and Franklin Street.
See Whats Happening At Millennium Park
The Beanlocal-speak for Cloud Gate, the mirrored, bean-shaped installation by Anish Kapoor in Millennium Parks AT& T Plazahas become as synonymous with Chicagos skyline as the John Hancock Building, so youll probably need to pose in front of it. While youre in the park, check out its other icon, the Frank Gehrydesigned Pritzker Pavilion, which hosts free indie rock, blues, jazz, funk, and reggae music as part of the Millennium Park Summer Music Series on Mondays and Thursdays at 6:30 pm beneath Gehrys signature undulating sheets of stainless steel. Ferris Buellers Day Off kicks off the Millennium Park Summer Film Series on June 21 at 6:30 pm.
PLAN YOUR TRIP: Visit Fodors Chicago Guide
See The City From The Top Of The Willis Tower
Once known as the Sears Tower, the Willis Tower looks no less cool after its 2009 name change. Sleek black and a bit like something youd make out of Lego as a kid, it not only looks cool: the views from it are insane. Theyre bound to be. We mean, the observation deck of the Willis Tower is the 103rd floor. 103rd! From this unreal viewpoint you can see over fifty miles and out across four states.
For those of you who dont get wobbly knees and vertigo, theres The Ledge. This is a glass platform that literally sticks out of the tower itself. Standing on it, you can see the street between your feet 412 metres below. Definitely one of the most iconic things to do in Chicago .
Top 10 Things To Do In Chicago
Whether youre looking to soak up some soul drifting out of brick-walled jazz clubs, examine the masterpieces of the worlds greatest artists, or test the merits of a blustery nickname while standing on the shores of Lake Michigan, Chicago packs something for everyone between its skyscraper-lined streets. Here are the top 10 things to do in Chicago.
Local Farmers Markets In Chicago
May through October, you can find many local fresh markets around Chicago. These markets arent only a great place for locals to go grocery shopping.
Theyre also a great place to sample unique food vendors and try farm-fresh products. Ive had the best Nutella crepes at the Division Street Farmers Market.
In some cases, theyre great places to find vintage goods.
One Chicago festival that takes place every Sunday, all year round, is the Maxwell Street Market. The Maxwell Street Market is part Farmers Market, part street fair, and part flea market.
The Mexican food at the Maxwell Street Market is the best in Chicago! Home-made tortillas, hand-pressed in front of you, and freshly roasted rotisserie meatsits taco heaven.
Other good fresh markets in Chicago are the Green City Market and the Logan Square Farmers Market.
See A Live Performance In The Theatre District
No matter when you choose to visit Chicago, chances are youll have several opportunities to see a musical or other theatrical performance.
For more information about the best theatres in the windy city and excellent opportunities to save money on tickets, check our post covering the Chicago Theatre District.
Get Even Artsier At The Museum Of Contemporary Art
Easily one of the worlds largest contemporary art venues, this popular Chicago attraction has been welcoming curious guests since 1967.
The MCAs ever-changing exhibits span paintings, sculptures, photography, and film, all educational and often interactive.
Under-18s get in free year-round in July and August, admission is free for everyone. Even if youre not an art fan, during the scorching summer months, its a welcome respite from the beating sun.
Let Your Imagination Run Wild At The Legoland Discovery Center
No matter if youve just turned 5 or 50, everyone loves Lego! The large complex offers Lego-themed rides, building sections, a 4D cinema to delight the senses, and a gift shop to buy all the Lego sets you could possibly fit in your suitcase.
The Discovery Center is situated outside of the main Chicago area, so make a day trip out of it and explore the adjacent Ned Brown Preserve while youre there.
Get Your Kicks From Magic Tricks At Chicago Magic Lounge
Yeah, we know that magic shows dont really have the coolest reputation but hear us out on this one. The Chicago Magic Lounge is a pretty funky little venue where you might just be spellbound like youre a kid at a birthday party again. Even getting inside this place is like some sort of trick or inside joke as guests enter through what appears to be an old-school laundromat.
Step through the portal in to this world of magic, and spend your evening enjoying some pretty tasty cocktails whilst being suitably impressed, wowed and confused by what the hell is going on and how these tricksters do it.
Books To Read In Chicago
The Backpacker Bible Learn how to ditch your desk and travel the world on just $10 a day whilst building an online income.
Sometimes a Great Notion A tale of a hardheaded Oregonian logging family that goes on strike, leading the town to drama and tragedy. Written by PNW legend, Ken Kesey.
Walden The transcendental masterpiece by Henry David Thoreau that helped modern Americans rediscover nature and her beauty.
To Have and To Have Not A family man gets involved with the drug smuggling business in the Key West and ends up in a strange affair. Written by the great Ernest Hemingway.
Turn The Heat Up With This Summer Baking Challenge
The Nailed It! At-Home Experience is back with an ocean twist. This summers challenge is inspired by the new episode of the Double Trouble season where you can have fun creating fondant-covered marine animals. All the ingredients to bake and decorate your treats will be sent straight to your home along with all the necessary instructions Then, you collaborate in the kitchen with another baker over Zoom in the live experience that takes place on June 26. Once inside, your host will give you a limited amount of time to create a marine-inspired masterpiece together. There are only a limited amount of kits left for purchase and sales end on June 7th, so youll want to purchase now to take part in this fun and summery challenge.
Fireworks At Navy Pier
Navy Pier is the place to be in Chicago if you love fireworks! The summer firework season kicks off in Chicago on May 23 and runs to September 5.
The shows happen twice a week on Wednesdays at 9:30 pm and Saturdays at 10:15 pm.
If you really want to make a night of it, book tickets for one of the many boats that offer fireworks cruises. Click here for more details.
NOTE: There is no information yet about whether or not this will return in 2021, but if the pandemic is under control by then, it might make a comeback.
Attend A Neighborhood Festival
Once the weather starts to warm up, Chicagoans love to celebrate! There are usually many festivals in June. Below we list the best ones.
Greek Festin Lincoln Park is in early June. There will be lots of food vendors to enjoy!
West Loop Fizz Fest in the West Loop in early June. Expect hard seltzer tastings and family-friendly activities.
Andersonville Midsommarfestin Andersonville. There will be vendors, food, and music!
Craft Beer Fest at Morton Arboretum on June 21st. Enjoy a craft beer surrounded by nature!
NOTE: While some of these events are scheduled to take place in 2021, the majority of the festivals listed have yet to announce their plans for this year.
Before you head out to any of these festivals, make sure to check and see if they are still taking place.