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Instagrammers capture summer in Chicago 2014.
Photograph: @iamtheozzyInstagrammers capture summer in Chicago 2014.

17 things to do before summer ends

Summer's days are numbered. Here's how to make the most of the sunshine before fall starts


You knew this time would come. Summer can't last forever, though we wish daily it would. So how can you make the most out of the time we have left before fall officially starts on September 23? These 17 things, from drinking a summer cocktail to catching that last summer music festival, will help you squeeze out every last drop of summer. And then it's on to bars with fireplaces.

RECOMMENDED: Things to do in the summer in Chicago


Take a dip in a pool

You only have a few more weeks to splash into one of Chicago's best outdoor pools before they close on September 1. We recommend jumping off of Rehm Park's diving boards, taking a few laps around the Washington Park pool or mingling with the Bucktown singles at the Holstein Park swimming hole. 

Sit on the lawn at an outdoor concert

While you missed the boat on Downtown Sound and the Grant Park Music Festival, you can still picnic for free at Pritzker Pavilion for the Chicago Jazz Festival (Aug 28–30) and World Music Festival (Sept 11–14). If you fancy a Metra ride with your music, Ravinia wraps up its season with rock of the yacht, beard and bald variety, as Michael McDonald with Toto (Aug 29), ZZ Top (Aug 28) and Billy Corgan (Aug 30) pack the lawn.


Drink a new radler or canned beer

Tons of Midwest breweries released new canned beers and radlers this summer, so try them all before pumpkin beer season arrives.

Have some fun in the streets

Luckily you still have some time to take advantage of Chicago's numerous street festivals. If you're feeling hungry you can sample food truck fare at the Chicago Food Social (Aug 23, 24), get your shuck on at Shock Top Oyster Fest (Sept 6) or join the fiesta at Lakeview Taco Fest (Sept 20, 21). Meanwhile, art lovers will want to view the recycled creations at Remix Chicago (Aug 30, 31) and purchase artisan goods at the Renegade Craft Fair (Sept 6, 7).

See a movie under the stars
  • Things to do

There are plenty of fantastic films left on the Movies in the Parks roster, including The Wizard of Oz (August 23, 8pm, Oz Park), The Lego Movie (August 26, 8pm, A. Montgomery Ward Park) and The Muppet Movie (August 28, 8pm, Mandrake Park).

Drink Billy Sunday’s watermelon cocktail
  • Bars
  • Cocktail bars
  • Logan Square

Earlier this summer, we picked 14 new summer drinks to try, but the prettiest (and most delicious) is Billy Sunday’s brand new watermelon cocktail. The $60 drink serves two and includes frozen sake, booze-soaked berries and sparkling wine. The best part: Once you’re halfway through, a bartender will come by and fill it back up with sparkling wine, so it changes from Italian ice to a slushie. Also, it’s super boozy, so it’s probably the only cocktail you need all night.

  • Comedy
  • Improv

It's hard to imagine the new Del Close Theater stage will be big enough contain the flood of visiting celebrity alumni that are slated to appear in The Armando Diaz Grand Opening Experience to celebrate iO's new digs. The lineup includes Anchorman's David Koechner, Raising Hope's Lucas Neff, Mad Men's Noel Murray, and several other writers and performers from 30 Rock, ConanThe Daily Show and more. It will surely be an improv performance to remember.

Catch some out-there theater
  • Theater

The fifth annual Chicago Fringe Festival features 48 different performing groups (several of whom seem to have managed permanent status in the fest's lottery-based selection system). Performances take place in five venues in the Jefferson Park neighborhood, with Fischman's Liquors serving as "Fringe Central," a.k.a. the main box office and hangout space for performers and audience members alike.

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