Things to do

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

By Zach Long and Morgan Olsen

Posted: Thursday May 30 2019

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


Have a lazy day at the beach

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


Rock on at a summer music festival

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


Party at one of the countless street fests

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


Sip drinks at the best rooftop bars

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


Eat all the ice cream

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


Go to a beer festival

Find your new favorite brewery at these beer-soaked fests


Eat outdoors all season long

Everything tastes better when you're eating outside


Catch a free movie in the park

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


Catch a free concert in Millennium Park

Kick back with a picnic underneath the skyline


Wind down on a boat tour

Appreciate architectural wonders from a new vantage point


Hit the road on a day trip

No vacation time required 


Devour a burger outside

It's grilling season in Chicago

Music festivals