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SpotHero Summer Picks: Our Top 10 Things to do in Chicago This Summer

If there’s one thing Chicagoans are ready for, it’s beach days and rooftop patios! Here are 10 of SpotHero’s favorite things to do in Chicago this summer!

Movies in the Parks

Dates: June 11-September 7, movies begin at dusk.

Locations: Various locations throughout the greater Chicago area.

Price: Free!

Details: Enjoy a movie under the stars. Movies in the Parks returns with a full slate of films. This annual summer event has something for every movie lover; family films, big blockbusters, classics and even silent films! Grab a picnic blanket and your favorite snacks, but be sure to get there early, these screenings fill up fast! For the full schedule of movies and additional details, click here.

Spend a day at the beach

Dates: Beaches open May 24 lifeguards are on duty daily from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. 

Location: Chicago Lakefront

Price: Free!

Details: Chicago has 26 miles of beautiful beachfront, so what are you waiting for? Spend a day enjoying the sun and surf, or just take in the scenery. There’s truly a beach for everyone, but if you’re not sure where to start, you can check out the links to learn more about a few of Chicago’s most popular beaches: Oak Street Beach, Ohio Street Beach, and North Avenue Beach. Check for swim conditions or any updates here.

Windy City Smokeout

Dates: July 11-14

Location: The United Center, 1901 W Madison St.

Price: Tickets start at $65.95. For price details click here.

Details: Bands, barbecue, and beer meet in this outdoor festival that is a celebration of summer. Enjoy a day or even a weekend of fun and food at Chicago’s biggest country music festival. Learn more here.

LH Rooftop Bar

Dates: Open daily 11 a.m. – midnight

Location: LondonHouse Hotel, 85 E Wacker Dr.

Price: Food and drinks a la carte

Details: This bustling outdoor bar is on the top of the historic LondonHouse Hotel and can be quite a scene on a nice day. LH has an extensive menu of food and drinks, but the real draw is the spectacular view of downtown Chicago and the river that you can enjoy from this spot. Just be sure to wear sunscreen, it can get toasty on a sunny day! You can learn more here.

Taste of Chicago

Dates: June 15, July 27, August 17, September 6-8

Locations: Humboldt Park, Pullman Park, Marquette Park, & Grant Park 

Price: Free admission, restaurants are a la carte.

Details: “Taste” is back! The annual festival will have pop-up events in Rogers Park (June 15), Marquette Park Park (July 27), and Pullman Park (August 17) first, before taking over Grant Park (September 6-8). Indulge in old favorites or discover something new at Chicago’s largest outdoor food festival. You can learn more about The Taste of Chicago locations and vendors here.

Gene’s Sausage Shop Rooftop Bar

Dates: Memorial Day Weekend-Labor Day Weekend, Friday-Saturday 11 a.m.-8 p.m., Sunday 11 a.m.-4 p.m., , weather permitting.

Location: Gene’s Sausage Shop, 4750 N Lincoln Ave.

Price: Free! Food and drinks a la carte. Cash only. Menu here.

Details: This neighborhood spot in the heart of Lincoln Square is a local favorite and an absolute must on a nice day. Grab a cold drink, a hot pretzel, sit back and enjoy!

Printers Row Lit Fest

Dates: September 7-8, 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.

Location: South Dearborn Street, from Ida B. Wells to Polk Street 

Price: Free!

Details: The historic neighborhood of Printers Row lives up to its name during this festival, now in its 39th year. Browse for books from independent bookstores, enjoy Q&As with authors, and check out panels and activities. You can learn more here.

Explore the Chicago Riverwalk

Hours: Open daily 6 a.m. – 11 p.m.

Location: The Chicago Riverwalk, main entrance at 22 E Wacker Dr.

Price: Free!

Details: This scenic walk stretches 1.25 miles along the Downtown Chicago riverfront and is home to greenspace and public art. Plus, in summer the riverwalk plays host to several bars, grills, and cafes to really take advantage of the unique space! You can learn more about vendors here.

Take someone out to the ballgame

Dates: The last home game for the Cubs is September 29 the last home game for the White Sox is September 26. You can click here for the Cubs full schedule, and here for the White Sox.

Locations: Wrigley Field and Guaranteed Rate Field

Cost: Ticket price varies based on opponent.

Details: Nothing says summer quite like a day at the ballpark. Head to Guaranteed Rate Field or Wrigley Field to catch the White Sox or the Cubs in action! Check below for parking near Wrigley Field.

Head out of Town

Have your sights set on a destination outside Chicago? Don’t worry, we won’t hold it against you. If you’re flying out of town, just remember to reserve your airport parking spot in advance.



Happy Summer!