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Things to do in the summer in Chicago

Check out the best festivals, concerts and more things to do in the summer in Chicago to make the most of every minute

Photograph: CC/Flickr/Roman Boed

Cram all the festivals, concerts, lazy beach days, baseball games and road trips you can into Chicago's four short summer months. Our guide is packed with the best things to do in the summer, complete with amazing seasonal events, activities and fun plans to add to your calendar of burger cookouts. From major annual blowouts like Lollapalooza to the best place to drink a cocktail outside, our summer guide lets you make the most of every minute of sunshine.

Things to do in the summer in Chicago

1
Go to the beautiful beach(es)
Things to do

Go to the beautiful beach(es)

Rhe beach is one of the most popular places in Chicago

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2
Drink at the best rooftop bars
Bars

Drink at the best rooftop bars

Drink with a great view of the city

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3
Attend a summer music festival
Music

Attend a summer music festival

Chicago is the capital of summer music festivals

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4
Check out food and street fests
Things to do

Check out food and street fests

Looking for things to do? There's a festival for that.

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5
Hang out in a beer garden
Bars

Hang out in a beer garden

There's no better place to spend Chicago's glorious summer than a beer garden

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6
Eat outdoors all season
Bars

Eat outdoors all season

The patios are ready and waiting...

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7
Watch Movies in the Parks
Things to do

Watch Movies in the Parks

This year's schedule includes over 200 screenings in parks across the city

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8
Find Chicago's most beautiful buildings
Museums

Find Chicago's most beautiful buildings

Discover Chicago's most popular and hidden wonders

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9
Wind down on a boat tour
Things to do

Wind down on a boat tour

Appreciate architectural wonders from a new vantage point

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10
Wind up in a helicopter tour
Things to do

Wind up in a helicopter tour

Get the best view of Chicago's picturesque urban sprawl

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11
Attend outdoor theater shows
Theater

Attend outdoor theater shows

Enjoy the outdoor stage while you can

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12
Go to the best summer events
Things to do

Go to the best summer events

Make this the best summer ever

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Eating and drinking

The best rooftop bars
Bars

The best rooftop bars

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The best outdoor dining
Restaurants

The best outdoor dining

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The best outdoor bars
Bars

The best outdoor bars

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The best beer gardens in Chicago
Bars

The best beer gardens in Chicago

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46 dog-friendly patios

46 dog-friendly patios

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Chicago farmers market guide
Restaurants

Chicago farmers market guide

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Patios that don't require a wait
Restaurants

Patios that don't require a wait

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The latest restaurant reviews
Restaurants

The latest restaurant reviews

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See a ballgame

Chicago Cubs guide
Sports and fitness

Chicago Cubs guide

Find sports bars, regular bars and pre- or post-game grub in Wrigleyville

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Chicago White Sox guide
Sports and fitness

Chicago White Sox guide

Enjoy the Cell's superior bathroom facilities and stadium food options

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Music festivals

Lollapalooza
Music

Lollapalooza

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Pitchfork
Music

Pitchfork

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Riot Fest
Music

Riot Fest

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Spring Awakening
Music

Spring Awakening

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Find more summer music festivals

Outdoor fun

Weekend getaways from Chicago
Travel

Weekend getaways from Chicago

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Best Chicago pools
Things to do

Best Chicago pools

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Top 5 playgrounds for water features
Kids

Top 5 playgrounds for water features

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8 great playgrounds
Kids

8 great playgrounds

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Events by month

Chicago events in June
Things to do

Chicago events in June

Start your summer by hitting the beach or taking to the street for Taste of Randolph

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Chicago events in July
Things to do

Chicago events in July

Fireworks, giant balloons and the smell of barbecue fill the air in July

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Chicago events in August
Things to do

Chicago events in August

Enjoy summer's last month by partying with the masses at Lolla or taking a trip to the State Fair

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Chicago events in September
Things to do

Chicago events in September

Close out the last days of pool weather with Jazz Fest and German celebrations

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Concerts by month

June concert calendar
Music

June concert calendar

Flight of the Conchords, Tame Impala, Florence + the Machine and more heat up your June

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July concert calendar
Music

July concert calendar

Adele, Drake and Chicago's biggest summer music festivals reign over summer.

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August concert calendar
Music

August concert calendar

Wilco, Snoop Dogg, Wiz Khalifa and Billy Joel close out summer music festival season

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September concert calendar
Music

September concert calendar

Concerts might be moving indoors, but that's no cause for complaint

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Archive things to do in the summer coverage

Summer in Chicago is the greatest
Blog

Summer in Chicago is the greatest

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Frozen summer cocktails
Bars

Frozen summer cocktails

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This summer, Navy Pier could actually be...cool?
Blog

This summer, Navy Pier could actually be...cool?

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What to bring to the beach in Chicago
Shopping

What to bring to the beach in Chicago

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