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20 reasons why summer in Chicago is the greatest

Written by
Clayton Guse

Chicago in the summer is the greatest place in the universe. After braving through at least six months of miserable weather, Chicagoans become euphoric about sunny skies and warm air. From endless street festivals to the gorgeous lakefront, there is never a shortage of things to do during the city's warmest months. Our counterparts in New York foolishly deemed their home the "greatest city in the world for summer," but we all know that Chicago is way more deserving of that title. Here's why:

1. The Original Rainbow Cone is the nexus of frozen treats. The Beverly staple has been serving up its signature treat for more than 80 years. Sweet-toothed patrons sucking down the tasty cones are a telltale sign that summer has arrived in Chicago.

2. You're always close to a beach. No matter where you are in the city, you're guaranteed to be less than 10 miles from a beach. The uninhibited Vitamin D fix does a great job of compensating for the sunless winter. Some people stock up on orange juice and sparkling wine to make mimosas on the beach. It's an illegal practice, so be subtle if you're making that endeavor.

3. Fireworks happen all summer long, not just on the Fourth of July. You'll see explosions in the sky every Wednesday and Saturday at Navy Pier, and also at most White Sox home games.

4. The free movie screenings in the park make movie theaters obsolete, and you can usually drink while you watch.

5. The patio at Parson's Chicken and Fish is a godsend. The owners turn it into a strange ice skating rink during the winter, but the summertime patio is just spectacular. 

6. Biking on the deserted streets of the Loop on the weekend is simply lovely. There's rarely anything happening in Chicago's hub on Saturdays and Sundays, which gives ample room to cruise safely on two wheels.

7. The water taxi to Chinatown will make you feel like you're in a movie, and it's cheap. 

8. You can go on a date pretty much anywhere. During the summer, every park in the city is in full bloom, outdoor eating is ubiquitous and you can take a long, romantic stroll through your neighborhood without worrying about frostbite.

9. It's the best time of year to be a pedestrian. The 606 is now open and the Lakefront Trail is damn gorgeous. There's an abundance of knockout places to take a leisurely stroll. 

10. All of your out-of-town friends come into the city for music festivals. Pitchfork, Lollapalooza, North Coast and Riot Fest all host world-class talent, attracting all of your music-loving friends from across the country. Even if your favorite band isn't playing at a fest, they'll probably roll through Chicago on a tour.

11. A person you barely know will probably invite you to hang out on his boat. Owning a boat is incredibly expensive, and some say douchey, but you'd be an idiot to decline an opportunity to party on the lake. 

12. Our rooftop bars have stunning views of the lake and the city's architecture, which are even more spectacular after a cocktail or seven.

13. We have mastered the hot dog, the ultimate summer food. Other city's meat sticks are an abomination.

14. Three Dots and a Dash and Lost Lake are both amazing tiki bars, and after three drinks you might even be convinced that you're in Hawaii. 

15. You can walk up and buy a ticket to almost any Cubs or White Sox game, especially the latter. The Sox have trouble filling the stadium even when they're winning, and tickets tend to be incredibly affordable.

16. There are farmers markets all across the city six days a week. Local fruit and vegetables will do wonders for your faith in humanity.

17. Unlike New York, you can walk down the street without smelling garbage and urine because, you know, alleyways.

18. The collective happiness of every office worker in the Loop at 5pm is delightful—it feels like you could hug a stranger without any consequences.

19. There are dozens of free public pools scattered across the city if you want to take a dip or swim some laps.

20. The collective thaw of Chicagoans' Midwestern hearts reminds you why you love this city. After consistently traumatic winters, Chicago summers make people pleasant and the city's stereotype of being a "friendly city" is more evident than ever.

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