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

Posted: Wednesday May 9 2018

Photograph: Neal O'Bryan

We get roughly four months of real summer in Chicago, so you need to enjoy it while it lasts. It doesn't matter if you're a festival freak who needs to attend Lollapalooza or the type of person who would rather sip cocktails on a quiet patio—summer in the city is made for people of every stripe. Just make sure you pack in as many days in the park, afternoons on the beach and evenings at a free concert as possible, because fall will be here before you know it. We rounded up our favorite things to do this season in Chicago—take a look.

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


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


Go berry picking

There's nothing like freshly-picked fruit for pies and cobblers


Catch a free concert in Millennium Park

Kick back with a picnic underneath the skyline


Go shopping at your local farmers market

Pick up fresh veggies for all your summer cooking needs


Wind down on a boat tour

Appreciate architectural wonders from a new vantage point


Attend outdoor theater shows

See a classical play performed on an outdoor stage

Eating and drinking