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July 2015

Our Favorite Summertime Activities In Chicago

Fortunately for us, many of us get to spend part of our day outside already giving food tours. But outside of tours, there’s so much this city has to offer in the summertime; so much that usually we can forgive the harsh winters. So let’s all enjoy the warm weather while we can! Below is our list of favorite things to do outside along with some pretty useful guides as well.

Eating Outside

As official Chicago foodies we definitely put a priority on outdoor eating when the weather is warm. There are a variety of amazing patios and beer gardens out there to satisfy your outdoor eating cravings, no matter what they are. Below are some of the best guides and a few recommendations that stand out to us.


'Big Star - Wicker Park' by Jeramey Jannene via Flickr, CC BY 2.0. Cropped for size.

Beer gardens, rooftop bars and outdoor dining spots in Chicago — TimeOut Chicago
TimeOut Chicago has some of the best guides to the city, and this one is no exception. Check out new patios opening this season, dog-friendly patios, rooftop restaurants and more!

132 Outdoor Drinking Spots in Chicago — Thrillist Chicago
If drinking outdoors is more your style, here’s the ultimate guide from Thrillist Chicago, covering 109 outdoor drinking spots in the city spanning 11 different neighborhoods.

Visiting Farmers Markets

Chicago Farmer's Market

'Just what it says' by Keith Cooper via Flickr, CC BY 2.0

A more specific kind of outdoor food. We love all the farmers markets that pop up around the city when warm weather hits. Not only are they great places to get fresh and organic produce, many also make a splendid day out where you can try some local artisan foods and maybe even take a seat in the grass for a picnic. Not sure which farmers markets are when? Fortunately there are plenty of guides online.

Chicago Farmers Market Guide — Time-Out Chicago
A breakdown of farmers markets by day of the week.

Farmers Markets Opening For Business — Gapers Block
A guide of which farmers markets have opened over the last month or so. It’s a great go-to guide, and includes the open dates for many more farmers markets opening later this month.

Watching Movies in The Park

A classic favorite in Chicago during the summertime, Movies In The Park is put on by the Chicago Park District every summer starting in June. They have over 240 outdoor screenings throughout the summer in different parks around the city. The best part is, it’s free! You can just show up with a blanket and food and have a good time.


Image via the Chicago Park District

You can search all the screenings on the Chicago Park District website, or view the PDF schedule here. Below are a few that stand out to us on the list.

A Little Taste of This Years’ Screenings:

The Princess Bride - July 1,12
Back To The Future - July 2
Much Ado About Nothing (2012) - July 6
The Lego Movie - July 7, 13
Jurassic Park - July 10
The Goonies July 17
Big Hero 6 July 17
Groundhog Day - July 14
Wayne’s World, July 21
Jaws - July 25
Up - Aug 4
Guardians of The Galaxy - Aug 16, 18, 19
Singin’ In The Rain - Aug 18
Ferris Bueller’s Day Off - Aug 29

Exploring The New Chicago 606

We’ll be having a whole post dedicated to this one later this summer, but for now we want to make sure to put walking and making a day of it squarely on our “must” list of summer activities. The new walkway opened last month and connects several Chicago neighborhoods including Humboldt Park, Bucktown and Wicker Park. There are several entry points, parks and tons to do along the trail. In fact, we’ve worked in a short walk on part of the trail during our Bucktown and Wicker Park tour.

The best place to figure out how to explore it? There’s a whole website for it here and also a pretty comprehensive guide from Time Out Chicago. Both these can help you find the best restaurants, entertainment, family activities and more along the way.

How have you been gearing up your summer in Chicago? Tweet us your favorite Chicago (or anywhere else you've been visiting) summertime activities @chifoodplanet.

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