The Best Summer Eats and Activities in Chicago

Tuesday, June 5, 2018


Oh, Chicago. Just as I’m starting to wonder why I live in this frozen Midwestern tundra, you gift us with gorgeous sunshine, warm breezes coming off the lake, and a whole array of things to do. Chicago really comes alive in the spring and summer, and you can tell how happy it makes everyone. It’s almost like we live in two different cities — our reward for making it through December-February is this amazing, vibrant Summertime Chi. There’s pretty much an endless number of summer activities in Chicago, each one just so much fun. These are a few of the activities I look forward to most, but I’d love for this list to be collaborative — let me know what your favorites are, and I’ll add them to the list!

Outdoor bars and restaurants:
Parson’s Chicken and Fish
Sportsman’s Club
The Dawson
Cindy’s at the Chicago Athletic Association
Summer House Santa Monica
RM Champagne
Big Star
J.Parker at Hotel Lincoln

Favorite coffee/bakeries for a quick snack:
Elaine’s Coffee Call
Heritage Bicycles
Sweet Mandy B’s
*My favorite candy store, my favorite donut shop, my favorite ice cream 

Favorite breakfast/brunch:
Bang Bang Pie
Kanela Breakfast Club
The Publican
Little Goat
The Gage
Big Jones
Ann Sather {AMAZING cinnamon roles}
Southport Grocery

Favorite lunch/dinner:
Le Colonial
Shake Shack
Big Star
Girl and the Goat
Au Cheval {be prepared for a long wait}
Tango Sur
RPM Italian/RPM Steak
Stella Barra
Hot Chocolate
North Pond
Piccolo Sogno

Things to do in the city: 
Green City Market {my absolute favorite}
(FREE!) Movies and concerts in Millenium Park
Kayaking on the Chicago River
... or drinking wine on the Chicago River {more my style ;)
Cubs game at Wrigley Field {or White Sox!}
Join a Social Sports League
Bike along Lake Michigan 
Lincoln Park Zoo
Architectural Boat Tour
Windy City Smokeout
Rent a Divvy, pack a picnic and hang out in Museum Park
Visit a brewery {LOTS of great options!}

Places to shop:
Michigan Avenue for all of the big box department stores/retailers.
Oak and Rush Street – shop high end brands, Barney’s NY, Scoop NYC, Calypso St. Barth, Sandro, Maje, Vince, Tory Burch, Madewell, Ted Baker + Kate Spade New York
Damen Avenue in Bucktown – shop favorites like Intermix, Club Monaco, Cynthia Rowley, Steven Alan + Marc Jacobs
Southport Corridor in Lakeview – shop local boutiques, Anthropologie, Lou & Grey, Free People + Blue Mercury

Things to do outside the city: 
Indiana Dunes
Starved Rock State Park
Galena, Illinois 
Chicago Botanical Gardens
Frank Lloyd Wright Tour in Oak Park
Michigan or Wisconsin {so many cute lakeside towns!}

A note on my dress! It's a gift from Bianca Bellatoni, the founder of Bellatoni, a sustainable and cruelty-clothing label based in Vancouver. Bianca's collections offer a beautiful balance of unique yet classic cuts and silhouettes with a color palette that appeals to both color and non-color-lovers alike. I have my eye on these classic cropped pants ;) Check out Bianca's shop and her mission. She's making great changes in the fashion industry — all garments are made in house, and only fabrics that have little impact on the environment are used for production. All fabric scraps are kept and reused to make pet beds, which are then donated to local animal shelters. Bravo, Bianca!

P.S. Bellatoni is offering readers 10% off with code MAKETHEMOST. Offer ends 7/4/2018.


  1. My favorite thing to do in the summer is go to the Logan Square Farmers Market, gather up some food to share, and have an afternoon feast with friends on Logan Boulevard. The people and dog watching are choice!

    1. Love that, Lauren! We live in Lincoln Square and I look forward to that one, too! I think it started this week :)


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