Travel Magazine

The Ultimate Chicago Summer Bucket List

By Urbanmatter Chicago @UMatterChicago

Summer is (finally) upon us. And man are we feelin’ the heat. Is it just us or are slow seasonal changes nonexistent here in Chicago? Especially summer. Didn’t spring just start? Now all of a sudden, here we are with 90+ degree heat and no end in sight. And of course, before we know it, fall will sneak up in full force. So, it’s best to take advantage of all those beach days and rooftop cocktails while we can.

Don’t worry about planning – we’ve rounded up the ultimate summer bucket list to keep you busy in the city all season long!

1. Kayak down the Chicago River

summer bucket list

Photo Credit: Kayak Chicago

Whether you’re a seasoned kayaker or just looking to be a little more active this summer, kayaking is the ultimate summer activity. There are a few different companies that have a variety of tours, from a historic Chicago tour to a sunset tour; and they even offer kayak rentals if you just want to do your own thing.

Urban Kayaks | Kayak Chicago | Wateriders

2. Go to a Music Festival

summer bucket list

Photo Credit: React Presents

We all know Chicago hosts some of the best music festivals in the world. And with so many different festivals happening throughout the city, there has to be at least one on your summer bucket list.

LakeShake Festival | Mamby on the Beach | Lollapalooza | North Coast Music Festival

3. Cheer on the Home Team

summer bucket list

Did summer really happen if you didn’t go to at least one baseball game? Nothing says summertime like a hot dog and cold one at Wrigley Field (or US Cellular, if that’s your thing). You’ve gotta catch a Cubs or White Sox game before the summer is over!

Cubs Tickets | White Sox Tickets

4. Go to the Beach

summer bucket list

Duh, it’s summer. Go to the beach! With beach volleyball, water sport rentals, restaurants, playgrounds, concessions, and plenty of sand, Chicago’s beaches offer something for everyone.

Chicago Beaches

5. Check out the Chicago Air and Water Show

summer bucket list

One of the largest and longest-standing free admission shows of its kind, the Chicago Air and Water show is a classic summertime event.

Chicago Air and Water Show

6. Catch a movie at Millennium Park

summer bucket list

Photo Credit: City of Chicago

Millennium Park Summer Film Series returns this year every Tuesday night from now until September 5. Grab a blanket and some snacks and head over for one of their featured films.

Millennium Park Movie Schedule

7. Spend a day at a Museum

summer bucket list

Sadly, not every day of summer is sunny and warm. On a rainy day head to a museum. In case you didn’t know, we’ve got some of the best museums in the world.

Field Museum | Adler Planetarium | Art Institute

8. Go on an Architecture Boat Tour

summer bucket list

Be touristy for a day and go on an Architecture Tour. We promise, you won’t regret it. You’ll get a whole new view of the city we all know and love from the Chicago River.

Cruise Chicago Tours

9. Watch the Navy Pier Fireworks

summer bucket list

There is no better way to end a perfect summer day than watching the fireworks from Navy Pier over Lake Michigan. The shows are every Wednesday and Saturday throughout the entire summer.

Navy Pier Fireworks Schedule

10. Become one with nature at Garfield Park Conservatory

summer bucket list

Stroll through their six greenhouses and two exhibition halls filled with 5,000 varieties of plants from around the world and you’ll be instantly transported to tropical paradise.

Garfield Park Conservatory
Let us know what’s on your summer bucket list!


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