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Frozen rosé at Publican Quality Meats
Photograph: Sandy NotoFrozen rosé at Publican Quality Meats

14 things to do in Chicago before it actually feels like fall

Written by
Time Out Chicago editors

Although today's officially the first day of fall, these 80 degree temps are giving us just a few more days of summer—and as Chicagoans, we'll gladly take them. We know it won't be long before a Polar Vortex sweeps across the city or Snowmaggedon takes over Lake Shore Drive, but until that happens we're going to keep wearing shorts and try to soak in as many summer activities as possible. Check as many of these items off your bucket list before it's too late and we're all driven back inside for six months.

  1. Eat Rainbow Cone. You've got until November to do this one, but it's not quite as fun once the temperatures are colder than your ice cream.

  2. Drink on a rooftop. This is a big one. There are only so many days to really enjoy cocktails at Chicago's best rooftop bars before your view is just a frozen lake and bare trees. If heights aren't your thing there are plenty of frozen drinks, pet-friendly patios and spots slinging frosé, perfect for these last gasps of summer.  

  3. Spend a night on the Riverwalk. With so many new additions over the past year—and even more changes coming to the Riverwalk—it's a destination worthy of a warm after-work evening in the Loop to spend sipping wine and taking in the views.

  4. Catch a music festival. Chance the Rapper's Magnificent Coloring Day and Common's AAHH Fest, both fall this weekend, making one final play for summer music fun.

  5. Get on a boat. Yeah, yeah, you can head out on Lake Michigan in the winter too, but it's not nearly the same when you're trapped inside and can't feel the wind blowing in your hair as you take in the views from the water. 

  6. Eat outside. We're well aware of the fact that there's an ice skating rink at Parson's to make it fun year-round, but frozen negronis and fried chicken go down much better on sunny days. Eat at the city's best al fresco spots while you still can.
  7. Head to the MCA for outdoor jazz. Next week is your last chance to enjoy free jazz at Tuesdays on the Terrace this year.

  8. Rent a kayak on the river. Most of these continue through October, but do you really want to risk falling in the Chicago River once it's cold outside? That water is questionable enough as it is.

  9. Eat pie in the garden at Bang Bang Pie. Sure, their pies are the kind that keep your soul warm in the cold winter months, but a garden seat and a slice of key lime just feels like summer.

  10. Go to the city's best beaches. OK, so technically the city's beaches are now closed for the summer, but you can swim at your own risk and since the kids are back in school you might actually even be able to enjoy yourself with smaller crowds. 

  11. Catch acrobats at a neighborhood park. We're only halfway through the Midnight Circus in the Parks season, so catch the high-flying fun before the performers need to start wearing parkas.  

  12. Party in an alley. You've got one final chance to enjoy art, music, culture, beer and wine in an alley (yes, an alley) at ACTIVATE on October 13.

  13. Explore the 606. Get in a good long walk on the Bloomingdale Trail—hell, this weekend you can even camp there—before you'll need snowshoes to trek across. Check out our favorite restaurants, shops and bars just off the path with our complete guide to the 606.

  14. Root, root, root for the Cubbies (or the White Sox). Thankfully it looks like baseball season is going to last a bit longer in Chicago this year, but the days are limited before you'll need to wear a jacket over that Arrieta jersey. Order a hot dog and an Old Style and soak in the sunshine from the bleachers while you can.

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