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Things to do in the summer in Chicago

Squeeze the fun out of every single second of summer in Chicago with concerts, festivals, beach days, rooftops and more

Lakeshore trail
Photograph: Neal O'Bryan

Though summer is certainly Chicago's most coveted season, we only really only get about three months of picture-perfect weather every year, making it imperative to enjoy every single second of it. Whether you're geeking out over the Lollapalooza 2019 lineup or you're scoping out the best new rooftops and patios, summer in Chicago offers an endless supply of fun things to do around town. Make it easy on yourself by following our summer bucket list, which is packed with activities that are better in the sun, like exploring the city's most beautiful beaches, eating outdoors and attending as many Chicago summer festivals as humanly possible. What are you waiting for? Get out there and enjoy summer in Chicago right this second.

Things to do in the summer in Chicago

1
Have a lazy day at the beach
Things to do

Have a lazy day at the beach

Spend some time on the city's gorgeous lakefront this summer

2
Rock on at a summer music festival
Music

Rock on at a summer music festival

From Lollapalooza to Pitchfork, Chicago is the capital of summer music fests

3
Party at one of the countless street fests
Things to do

Party at one of the countless street fests

There's plenty of room on the pavement in Chicago's crowded lineup street festivals

4
Sip drinks at the best rooftop bars
Bars

Sip drinks at the best rooftop bars

Drink in the views (and a cocktail) from high above the streets

5
Eat all the ice cream
Restaurants

Eat all the ice cream

There's only one thing that can truly cool you down on a scorching-hot summer day

6
Go to a beer festival
Bars

Go to a beer festival

Find your new favorite brewery at these beer-soaked fests

7
Eat outdoors all season long
Bars

Eat outdoors all season long

Everything tastes better when you're eating outside

8
Catch a free movie in the park
Things to do

Catch a free movie in the park

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

9
Catch a free concert in Millennium Park
Music

Catch a free concert in Millennium Park

Kick back with a picnic underneath the skyline

10
Wind down on a boat tour
Things to do

Wind down on a boat tour

Appreciate architectural wonders from a new vantage point

11
Hit the road on a day trip
Travel

Hit the road on a day trip

No vacation time required 

12
Devour a burger outside
Restaurants

Devour a burger outside

It's grilling season in Chicago

Music festivals

Lollapalooza
Music

Lollapalooza

Pitchfork
Music

Pitchfork

Riot Fest
Music

Riot Fest

Spring Awakening
Music

Spring Awakening

Find more summer music festivals

Events by month

Chicago events in June
Things to do

Chicago events in June

Hit the beach, party at Spring Awakening or feast at the Taste of Randolph

Chicago events in July
Things to do

Chicago events in July

See the fireworks, hang out at Pitchfork Festival and check out the Taste of Chicago

Chicago events in August
Things to do

Chicago events in August

Enjoy Lollapalooza, the Air and Water Show and plenty of great weather

Chicago events in September
Things to do

Chicago events in September

Wrap up summer with Riot Fest, Oktoberfests and two different jazz festivals

Concerts by month

June concert calendar
Music

June concert calendar

July concert calendar
Music

July concert calendar