Chicago Summer Fun

With summer at our fingertips it’s time to think about new and fun opportunities to go outside and explore the city! Chicago summers are packed with outdoor opportunities of all types, here are a few tips and a couple of activities you can look forward to this season!

Here are some tips to enjoy summer activities:

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-Check for family friendly hours- most events designate specific hours or areas for family fun performers and activities! When in doubt, go early and leave before the sun sets.

-Water and snacks- summer in Chicago can be HOT! Don’t forget to take a refillable water bottle and some refreshing fruit!

-Get ready for mess-not only does summer bring back opportunities to explore gardens and make mud pies, it also signals the return of ice cream and popsicles! Pack a wash cloth or wipes for sticky hands and faces or an extra set of clothes for those especially messy days.

-Take a blanket/towel- some festivals (like those in Chicago Parks) will have areas for families to make themselves at home. Although feeling the grass between your toes can be fun, a blanket will provide some comfort and will act as your family’s base camp.

-Avoid F.O.M.O- the fear of missing out can be very persuasive but we don’t recommend trying to fill your days to the brim. The feel good ease and sensations of summer are those that we remember - not how many events we get to check off! Make sure you leave some downtime on your schedule for the whole family. 

Festivals and Markets

Summer in Chicago is booming with festivals and markets at all corners of the city. Getting the family out to enjoy some food and music can make unforgettable memories! Although sometimes daunting due to crowds and loud music, festivals and markets can be a fun space for families to try delicious food and jam out to some groovy tunes!

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Kid Fest

  • West Fest in West Town July 6-7

Family Fun

  • Square Roots in Lincoln Square July 13-14

Kid’s Corner

  • Pilsen Fest in Pilsen August 17-18


Green City Market

  • Lincoln Park 7am-1pm Wednesdays and Saturdays

Logan Square Farmers Market

  • Logan Square 10am-3pm Sundays

Maxwell Street Market

  • South Loop 9am-3pm Sundays

Forests, Parks, and Beaches

If the festival scene is not your thing, never fear! A visit to a nearby forest, park, or beach may be the perfect option for your family.


The 606: A 2.7 mile long multi-use recreational trail that spans four neighborhoods! Great for a morning bike or scooter ride, if the trail gets too crowded consider one of the many parks at the entry points.

Montrose Beach: The beach is always a great idea and, lucky for us, Chicago has many! Montrose Beach - in addition to the sand and lake - has a bird sanctuary and fenced-off dog area!

Garfield Conservatory: Whether you are dropping in to one of their free programs or want to do some self-exploration, the conservatory is a fantastic place for the whole family!

Welles Park: Not only does Welles Park have various sports fields, a playground, indoor pool, and a performance gazebo, it also features a nature play space!

Forest Preserves of Cook County: Taking a quick trip to the forest preserves is a great option for those trying to take a break from the bustling city. Check out their various nature play spaces or take a fun walk through the woods and explore!

Wild Saplings Play Forest: Come to our nature play space tucked away in a woodsy corner of Pritzker Family Children’s Zoo. Climb a log tower, run through a tunnel of sculpted vines, jump on tree-stumps or make a mud pie! Don’t forget to keep a look out for our neighbors, the black bears!

No matter where you decide to go this summer get ready to play, smile, and repeat!

Written by Brenda Rivera