Chicago just happens to be the greatest summer city on the planet. So good, in fact, that it actually makes the winters in Chiberia mostly chi-bearable.
From Wrigley Field to U.S. Cellular Field and all the neighborhood street festivals in between, Chicago summers are so extravagant that Chicagoans need the winters months just to have a break. We could go on for days about the larger events. Heck, even today, July 6, we’re celebrating the opening of the Taste of Chicago. Pitchfork, a music festival celebrating more than 40 independent musical acts, takes over next week. Lollapalooza, the Air and Water Show, the Fringe Festival, the North Coast Music Festival and Riot Fest, all just waiting to take over the city through the end of the summer.
But it’s not just the big events in the city that make Chicago such an amazing summer city. It’s the events and activities that spill into the surrounding suburbs that truly separates us from every other city. Be sure to visit these locations on your Chicago vacation and see for yourself why Chicago is worth it.
1. Arlington International Racecourse
Located in the northwest suburb of Arlington Heights, Arlington International Racecourse has provided world-class horse racing since 1927. Head out there on a Friday afternoon and take advantage of their Miller Lite Party in the Park Series that features live music, food and drink deals, and eight races.
-2200 W. Euclid Ave, Arlington Heights, IL 60005
2. Ravinia Festival
Highland Park’s Ravinia Pavilion is home to the oldest outdoor music festival in the United States. One that spans all the way back to 1905! The series provides the greater Chicagoland area with a vast array of artists and styles. Ranging over the years from Louis Armstrong, Placido Domingo, Bob Dylan, and Janis Joplin to Maroon 5, Lady Gaga, Carrie Underwood, and even Seth MacFarlane! Patrons can take advantage of the generous picnic atmosphere provided by the park. Which not only offers a huge quantity of picnic seating, but also allows guests to bring in their own food and beverages!
-418 Sheridan Rd, Highland Park, IL 60035
3. “Rockin’ in the Park Summer Series”, MB Financial Park
You can’t miss this one, literally. Located less than a mile from Chicago O’Hare International Airport, in Rosemont, there is no way to drive into the city from the airport without passing MB Financial Park! Giving off the feel of a college quad, MB Financial Park comes to life on Thursdays with their concert series and weekly fireworks extravaganzas.
-5501 Park PL, Rosemont, IL 60018
4. Village of New Lenox Commons Events
The southwestern suburb of New Lenox provides a summer-long celebration during its Commons Events schedule. Featuring a Triple Play Concert Series, as well as a Bands & Brews Concert Series, you can rock the summer away in New Lenox!
-Veterans Parkway, New Lenox, IL 60451
Best Water Parks
1. Fish Lake Beach Camping Resort
Located in Volo, IL, a north suburb along the Fox River, Fish Lake Beach Camping Resort is a local favorite for camping, fishing, paddle boating and numerous other beach activities. The site provides a daily calendar of beach-themed activities with a goal of making no two visits quite the same for its patrons.
-32223 N. US Highway 12, Volo, IL 60073
2. Hurricane Harbor at Six Flags Great America
Located in the northern suburb of Gurnee, IL, most know Six Flags Great America as a world-class amusement park loaded with thrilling roller coasters. But the true gem is the water park: Hurricane Harbor, which sits inside Great America.
– 1 Great America Pkwy, Gurnee, IL 60031
3. Raging Waves
Illinois’ largest water park sits in beautiful Yorkville, IL, a southwest suburb of Chicago. Home to 14 incredible attractions, the park recently debuted its newest slide: Wonambi, a four-person tube adventure with an incredible, breath-taking drop.
-4000 N. Bridge St, Yorkville, IL 60560
Best Outdoor Entertainment
1. Donley’s Wild West Town
Perfect for young children, this educational amusement park located in Union, IL, features a glimpse back at the streets of yesteryear. Let your kids pan for gold, ride ponies, or get around on a hand cart! And be sure to stick around for the Wild West Stunt Show and see a shoot-out at the corral!
-8512 S. Union Rd, Union, IL 60180
2. The Mortom Aboretum
Established in 1922, this outdoor museum residing in Lisle, IL champions the world’s trees through scientific study, conservation, education and outreach! Take the kids on the Acorn Express tram tour to experience all the beauty of the more than 1,700 acres that encompass the grounds. Let them play at The Children’s Garden, a playground-like attraction with secret streams to splash in, acorns to climb and giant tree roots to slide down! Or enjoy some alone time with your children and take advantage of the nine miles worth of biking and hiking paths!
-4100 Illinois Route 5, Lisle, IL 60532
Headed to Chicago? What activities are on your list? Share with us in the comments below!