Best things to do in the summer in Chicago

Summer is finally here! Check out the best festivals, concerts and more things to do in the summer in Chicago to make the most of every minute.

Photograph: Julie Stanton
Chicago Shakespeare in the Parks

How many festivals, concerts, beach days, baseball games and road trips can you cram into four short months? After this brutal winter, you deserve a calendar full of things to do in the summer, and we can help you plan the entire season. From major annual blowouts like Lollapalooza to the best restaurants for dining outside, our summer guide lets you make the most of every minute of sunshine.

Theater

Outdoor theater

When and where to spread out a blanket and see a play under the stars

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Music

10 best music fests

Lollapalooza is huge, but is it the best? Spoiler: no. See which lineups we say you can't miss.

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Things to Do

14 new summer books

Haruki Murakami and Stuart Dybek lead our list of top novels and nonfiction books to tote to the beach

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Things to Do

Movies in the Parks

The schedule's best bets, from Rogers Park to Hegewisch

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Things to Do

10 best Midwest coasters

You've got all summer to conquer these towering regional thrill rides

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Film

Must-see summer films

Here are the faces behind the season’s biggest blockbusters and new films

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Things to Do

The best of summer

Here are the 31 things we can't wait to do from late May to Labor Day

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Theater

Best theater shows

The season's highlights, from big-time visitors—Sting, Michael Cera, Sandra Oh—to Chicago troupes

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May

Things to Do

May festival calendar

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Things to Do

Best things to do in May

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Music

May's top concerts

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June

Things to Do

June festival calendar

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Things to Do

Best things to do in June

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Music

June's top concerts

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July

Things to Do

July festival calendar

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Things to Do

Best things to do in July

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Music

July's top concerts

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August

Things to Do

August festival calendar

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Things to Do

Best things to do in August

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Music

August's top concerts

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Eating and drinking

Restaurants

23 new ice cream flavors

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Bars

14 new summer cocktails

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Restaurants

Chicago farmers' market guide

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Bars

53 new patios, rooftop bars and outdoor spaces

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46 dog-friendly patios

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Bars

The best rooftop bars

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Restaurants

Best outdoor restaurants

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Bars

Best outdoor bars

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Catch the Cubs

Bars

Wrigleyville bars to watch the Cubs

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Restaurants

Ranking the new Chicago Cubs stadium food

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Bars

New Wrigley cocktails

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Bars

A civilized Wrigleyville bar crawl

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More Cubs coverage

See the Sox

Bars

10 bars to watch the White Sox

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Restaurants

Ranking the new White Sox stadium food

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Bridgeport bars

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Things to Do

Are premium seats at the Cell worth it?

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More White Sox coverage

Music festivals

Music

Lollapalooza

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Music

Pitchfork

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Music

Riot Fest

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Music

Spring Awakening

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Find more summer music festivals

Outdoor fun

Things to Do

Chicago's best boat tours

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Film

Outdoor movie guide

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Travel

Weekend getaways from Chicago

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Things to Do

Best Chicago pools

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Things to Do

Chicago beaches

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Things to Do

10 best Midwest roller coasters

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Kids

Top 5 playgrounds for water features

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Kids

8 great playgrounds

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