We wait – through the cold and wind and as we thaw out, our ray of light is summertime Chi. I always question why people love this time of year. People are quick to talk about the festivals or movies in the park or Lollapollza and I’m here to tell you while those all sound great, And I have some tips about them, there’s more to living in Chicago than that. I’m here to show you the magical aspects of summertime in Chicago.
This is a list of everything I’ve loved doing in Chicago this summer. There is so much more to do, but it’s a good taste of Chicago’s summer from outdoor sports to beach days, to patios and Chicago’s rooftops.
1. Yoga (or any sport) in the park
Every summer in Chicago there are endless Meetup groups and also free Pilates and boot camps in parks throughout Chicago. The last series in Millennium Park is Labor Day Weekend!
2. Go to a wedding. If you don’t have an invite, you’re sure to see beautiful brides taking pictures on streeet corners or near Navy Pier. I went to one of the most beautiful weddings at the Ivy Room in State and Ohio St. this August. There were flowers hanging from the ceiling with tea lights and a live band. Going to a Chicago wedding is an honor.
3. Have a girl’s night in the city at museums with al fresco martinis. While summer is a great time to be outside, you might want to mix it up. One of the most amazing nights was having a girls night at the Chicago History Museum where we learned about fashion and then went a mile south to the Waldorf Astoria for cocktails al fresco and makeovers from Dior. Chicago has so many fun mixers like this and pulling off a multi-destination event could only be done when it’s still warm outside.
4. Go to a Chicago rooftop. One of the most memorable day parties I went to this summer was at Gino East’s rooftop where we had our hair done by The LISA app and ate delicious pizza with out vodka lemonade’s for the Chicago Instagram Influencers group, Chicagogrammers’ first birthday. The patio is so nice and has beautiful furniture for epic photoshoots.
5. Enjoy shopping on State Street or Michigan Ave. Summertime is amazing because you can actually start your shopping spree on State Street, then walk along the Chicago Riverwalk and all along the Magnificent Mile. Stores are always hosting events and having blowout sales. For instance Nike had a curvy girl fitness event on August 31, 2017 where they had a braid bar, martinis, wraps and a runway.
For my shopping adventures. I went to Nordstrom Rack a few times and bought too many BCBG heels, and then fell in love with a white blazer at Express. I walked all the way to Water Tower Place where I found my favorite party dress at Akira for $10.
6. Get that mani and pedi. During the winter, your feet always are covered up with socks on them and your hands always have gloves. Summertime is that one opportunity to enjoy a fresh manicure. You don’t have to go with the nude polish if you don’t want to! This summer, I tried Groupon’s new beauty booking app, Beauty Now. In less than 5 minutes, I could book an appointment for the same afternoon without waiting. And that, my love, is nice.
7. Go to the movies. It wouldn’t be summertime without a summer movie. I had so many amazing movie experiences. If you haven’t been go to the VIP room at the movie theatre, the Showplace Icon Theatre in The Roosevelt Collection. They had red recliners and you can get dinner and cocktails there. It’s truly one of the best date nights I have had. Very comfy. The other spot to check out is The Music Box Theater. A little secret is that they have a bar and a game room and a gorgeous patio with twinkle lights.
8. Enjoy the parks. Whether it’s Lincoln Park or Millenium Park or Museum Campus. Don’t miss the opportunity to sit and read in the park and soak up the sun. Talenti partnered with the summer in the park series and handed out thousands of free Talenti gelato on multiple occasions. So, free ice cream and sunshine. You can’t go wrong. Another favorite activity is seeing people tightrope in Oz Park – if you’re lucky, they’ll let you try it but you might need someone to hold on to as you walk across from tree to tree.
9. Work out. This summer I challenged myself and signed up for The Chicago Marathon on October 8, 2017. It’s a big commitment and I’ve ran everywhere from the 606 trail to 31st beach. Almost have 200 miles logged.
It seems that everyone is working on their summer bodies. It’s a good time to challenge yourself and try a new workout. One of the coolest workout experiences I had was at a new virtual cycling experience, Cycmode. The bikes literally swerved left to right with you and as you stare at the big screen it takes you on a journey going uphill and downhill. You no longer have to visualize hills.
If cycling isn’t your thing, there’s a place on the south side called Razzmatazz which has indoor bubble soccer and an adult obstacle course. You get to be a kid again but it’s also difficult to keep a bubble around you while playing soccer. Seriously, though, it was a fun way to workout.
10. Go to a conference. Chicago has so many amazing conferences. One of my favorites is Techweek Chi – it’s a week long of multi-location parties all around Chicago’s tech scene. Check out my interview with the CEO here.
11. Volunteer. I joined the Chicago Cares group for their volunteer day, where 5k people came together to connect and build relationships for a stronger, more unified city. Today we are painting murals and classrooms with positive messages at Burnside Scholastic Academy. Our collective work will save CPS $3 million in facility impacts! Love making a difference? Sign up for Chicago Cares 200 monthly volunteer projects at chicagocares.org.
12. Take a weekend trip to another Midwest city. While it’s hard to leave Chicago, it’s also nice to explore other cities. This summer, I experienced St. Louis for the first time and it was amazing. They had a music festival going on and I got to try their famous BBQ and art scene.
13. Ride Divvy bikes. There’s nothing more exciting than riding a bike. I would suggest riding a bike on the Lakefront path but you can also ride down Michigan Ave. They did raise the price a bit (it’s about $10 to rent a bike for the day). I still think you should experience seeing Chicago by bike.
14. Go to a baseball game. This summer I went to my first White Sox game and then I went to a Cubs game. Baseball games are exciting to go to – the city comes alive and I must say there is nothing quite like singing baseball games with excited fans in Wrigley.
15. Eat ice cream. My favorite summertime treat is ice cream! I tried Bombobar for the first time and found out their shakes are actually frozen hot chocolate, which I tried and honestly doesn’t taste good. It’s very rich. Their gelato however is amazing and even better than Eataly’s gelato.
16. Go on a boat. This is always the mission. Chicago has a beautiful river and lake and it’s really nice to experience them while on a boat. I did the Architecture Tour for the first time and it was a great experience to not only look at Chicago’s architecture, but also learn the stories behind the skyline and how Chicago’s skyline will continue to change.
17. Go to the beach. Okay well the beach was actually amazing because I found a Pier at 31st beach where it was safe to jump off. Turns out you don’t have to go to Europe to jump off a pier. It was a pretty steep jump, but it was also one of my favorite moments of this summer. All of the beaches have a bit of charm to them. North Ave. Beach tends to be the most active with volleyball nets and the infamous, Castaways.
18. Ride the Ferris Wheel at Navy Pier. I have to say that one of the scariest moments of this summer was prepping myself to the Ferris Wheel at Navy Pier. I hate heights, so I almost didn’t do it. But the staff showed me the panic button in the Ferris Wheel. One thing you have to note is that this is an enclosed Ferris Wheel. So it doesn’t feel like you are as high up as you are. With your purchase, you get to see Chicago’s skyline three times before getting off.
19. Try something new with your hair. I don’t know about you, but while summertime in Chicago is nice, my hair is not. So rather than putting it on my bucket list for another summer, I decided to do something about my hair and try Keratin treatment. I got in July 2017 and was sad to hear that you can’t go into a pool or the ocean with Keratin treated hair. Luckily, you can still go to the lake. I’m glad I did the treatment because now I just have to straighten my hair and I don’t need product. If I lived near the ocean, though, I wouldn’t have had the treatment done.
20. Go to a Foodie event or festival. I would be remiss if I didn’t add this to list. The best festivals of summer are honestly Taste of Chicago or Greek Fest (you can ride a camel downtown). But if you want a smaller scale foodie events, there’s Culinary Fight Club. I went to the BBQ edition where they had some of the top regional chefs make BBQ creations that you could vote on. They also had a Black Jack table and had ring pops in their goodie bags. The Thrillest also had a BBQ cookout for restaurants in Chicago. They made it into a country theme with a love band, string lights and Jenga.
21. Date. Chicago, oh Chicago is known for its dating scene. Cuffing season happens right about the time when football comes back and Labor Day ends because everyone needs a cuddle buddy for the cold Chicago months ahead. But rather than dating and swiping this summer, I had more of a Grease Lightning experience – only dating one guy. And it was pretty magical going on date nights to steakhouses and The Grand Lux Cafe and having beach days and taking him to launch parties with me. I think everyone should experience a summer with a guy they like. Dating in the summer is so much better than any other season because you actually get to do things and explore the city together. Also, if you missed my segment on WGN radio – you can listen to my dating stories here.