10 Cool Things to Do in Chicago in the Summer

If you’re going to be in or around Illinois any time over the summer you definitely want to check out some or all of these 10 cool things to do in Chicago:

Go On a Few Bicycle Tours
What better way to enjoy the sights and the sun at the same time than with a Chicago bicycle tour? Bike Chicago offers tours that are fun and suitable for riders of all ages and abilities. Embark on the Amazing Lakefront tour to discover beaches, gardens, and lagoons, or opt for the Friendly Neighborhood tour to see some of the city’s most luxurious homes, cobblestone sidewalks, and beautiful parks.

Visit Wrigley Field
Whether you’re a baseball fan or not, no visit to Chicago is complete without a stop at Wrigley Field. Wrigley is the second oldest ballpark in America, and the highly-recommended park tours are offered daily. For those visitors interested in catching a game, an afternoon spent watching the Cubs at Wrigley Field is sure to be a vacation highlight!

Watch for the Navy Pier Fireworks Cruise
Chicago’s Navy Pier lights up the sky with a spectacular fireworks display all summer long, and you can get a front row seat to this awe-inspiring show on one of Shoreline Sightseeing’s fireworks cruises. The fireworks display can be seen every Wednesday night at 9:30 and Saturdays at 10:15 beginning in late May and continuing through early September, with a special display for July 4th. The 45 minute cruises depart from Shoreline’s dock at the west end of Navy Pier and have both music and a cash bar onboard.

“The Ledge” at Skydeck Chicago
The Willis Tower (formerly Sears Tower) is a must see for anybody visiting the Chicago area, and at 1450 feet tall, how could you miss it?! Willis Tower is the tallest building in America and has been offering visitors spectacular views for over 30 years. The Ledge, comprised of four glass balconies extending 4.3 feet out from the skyscraper’s Skydeck, now offers a view of the city that can’t be beat. On a clear day, visitors can see up to 50 miles and 4 different states! So get your tickets and experience Skydeck Chicago’s “The Ledge”… if you dare.

Bring Out Your Inner Foodie on Tastebud Tours
From deep dish pizza to Chicago style hot dogs, the foods of this great city are enough to make anybody’s mouth water, so why not sample them all? With Tastebud Tours, you can do exactly that! This 3 hour tour will take you to some of Chicago’s best eateries, with plenty of food facts and history along the way. Each stop provides perfect portions, water, and table seating so that guests can relax and enjoy their meal. Don’t miss out on the tastiest tour in Chicago!

Explore Lincoln Park
With its 1200 acres and abundance of activities, it’s easy to spend an entire day in the Lincoln Park neighborhood. To get the most out of your visit you’ll want to start your day at the Lincoln Park Zoo, which is free and located in the heart of the neighborhood. The zoo gets very crowded in the afternoon so be sure to get there early. While you’re visiting, be sure to hit the Lincoln Park Conservatory and the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum. And don’t worry about hunger getting in the way of your trip, there are plenty of great restaurants to choose from in Lincoln Park.

Take in Some Sun on Chicago’s Beaches
Located on the shores of Lake Michigan, Chicago is home to many beautiful beaches with bright blue waters that stretch so far you may catch yourself wondering when you got to the ocean! Oak Street Beach is a stone’s throw from the magnificent mile and is an extremely popular people-watching venue. North Avenue Beach is the busiest in Chicago and is a great place for people of all ages. There are plenty of volleyball courts as well as shops, concessions, and a full service restaurant. If you’re planning on driving be sure to get there early as parking fills up fast, this beach is also accessible by public transportation.

Splash Around Buckingham Fountain
Buckingham Fountain is one of the largest fountains in the world and one of Chicago’s most popular attractions. The fountain runs from 8:00 am until 11:00 pm daily with a fantastic water display every hour on the hour. Although the display runs all day, it is best seen after dusk at which time lights and music accompany the already amazing show. The fountain is located in Grant Park and is a must-see for first time visitors and residents alike!

Walk the Navy Pier
Navy Pier is easily one of the most popular attractions in the entire city of Chicago. Pier Park is home to a 150 foot tall Ferris wheel, carousel, mini golf, and other rides and games for people of all ages. Navy Pier also houses both the Chicago Childrens Museum and the Smith Museum of Stained Glass Windows. For those looking for the ultimate dining and shopping experience, this is definitely the place for you. With over 30 shops and plenty of restaurants including the famous Landshark Beer Garden, there is something for everyone at Navy Pier.

Wander Millennium Park
Millennium Park is one of Chicago’s newest and most popular destinations. Since it’s opening in 2004, this 24.5 acre park has been host to millions of visitors from around the world, and it’s no wonder why. The award-winning architecture and landscape design make it a unique destination, not to mention the over 500 free events that the park holds every year! Millennium Park offers both a concessions tent as well as a full-service restaurant, Park Grill. The park is open from 6:00 am until 11:00 pm daily and admission is free.


  1. says

    Great post about how to enjoy Chicago. I would like to another cool way to enjoy Chicago. Chicago Food Planet Food Tours has been doing food tours in Chicago since 2006. We take our guests off-the-beaten path and entertain tourists and make them feel like locals and locals feel like tourists. If there are any questions about us, please let us know!

    Chicago Food Planet Food Tours

  2. Marc says

    Dear Smart Destinations .com,

    I love your website and the pictures. I hope you continue to do more cool stuff!!!

    sincerely Marcus

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