The downside of living in the same city for most of your life is that it’s easy to take it for granted. I feel like I didn’t really appreciate Chicago until I moved away. Suddenly, I felt so left out seeing all of these amazing places pop up in my friend’s photos and feeds, and I just wanted to be home! This year, I’m determined not to let another Chicago summer slip by without crossing off everything on my bucket list. Some of these places are Chicago institutions while others are brand new attractions. Is there anywhere you’re hoping to go this summer? Let me know below!
Randolph Street Market
My mom is the true vintage shopper in our family, and she’s gone to this market a few times since I moved to the West Loop in January. As with all flea markets, the items are hit or miss, but the outdoor space is great- and who doesn’t love an excuse to walk around browsing pretty things? Plus, they frequently have live music and food which is always a plus! (Well, assuming both are good.)
After their grand opening last weekend, Happy Place has been all over my Instagram feed- and I want in! The creator says he was inspired to make a space full of installations that just make people feel happy, and I know I can always use a little extra happiness in my life. There are rooms ranging from a 20-foot tall rainbow to a stiletto made of candy to the world’s largest confetti dome. It sounds completely ridiculous and amazing all at the same time. Plus, duh, it’s an Instagram heaven. It will be in town June 28th- August 6th so get your tickets before it’s gone!
Green City Market
I feel like I’m jumping on the bandwagon with this one because there a bunch of other farmers markets that could be mentioned. (Including the 3 tents that I think are a wannabe farmer’s market that have been popping up on my street every Saturday morning?) However, the Green City Market expanded to the West Loop so it’s the largest one near me. Chicago blogger ladies swear by it so I assume it must have smoothies, lattes, and/or flowers.
The Chicago shoreline is relatively long which leaves a lot of beaches to choose from. Ohio Street beach, Oak Street beach, and North Avenue beach tend to be the most well-known because they’re closest to downtown. However, the older I get (aka not everyone lives right downtown) the more I hear about Montrose Beach. I imagine it’s a little less crowded (which is always a plus for a hermit like me), and it also has a beach bar that means cocktails for all!
This is another pop-up installation that’s been in both New York and LA, and it’s coming to Chicago at the end of this month. Dreamed up by Refinery29, it looks to be a visual extravaganza complete with, duh, Instagram-worthy content. Personally, I’m hoping for the disco ball room and flower ceiling, but I guess we’ll have to wait and see! It’s only in town July 26-29 so get your tickets ASAP!
Shore Club Chicago
Think of it as a beach oasis in the middle of a bustling city. After gazing at pictures online, I finally dragged my cousin here yesterday, and it felt like we were back on one of our childhood beach vacations. Except the more adult, upscale version. Clearly, I’m a sucker for beautiful spaces, and The Shore Club did not disappoint. It’s split into three sections, including The Patio, The Restaurant, and The Oasis. We had lunch (mine included a frosé) on the patio and basked in our 3-hour mini-vacation.
Lincoln Park Zoo/Cafe Brauer
This is another place that I have to shamefully admit I’ve never been despite living/working very close to it during grad school. Honestly, zoos kind of make me sad nowadays so I may have to skip the lion exhibit- but the pictures of Cafe Brauer are swoon-worthy! So add me to the list for that.
Architectural Boat Tour
Add this to the list of “Things I’ve Somehow Never Done Despite Being in Chicago for Almost 30 years.” The Architectural Boat Tour is legendary in Chicago, and I know I need to make it happen. I don’t know much about architecture, but I’m a history nerd, and I’ve heard this tour is heavy on the history. I just have to hope I will not meet the same fate as some unsuspecting tourists in 2004.
Londonhouse, Cindy’s, J. Parker, Waydown… For a city that spends 9 months below 70 degrees, we really went for it with the rooftop bars. Personally, I hate super crowded places, but even I will make an exception if it means having a cocktail on a patio overlooking this amazing city. I finally made it to Londonhouse this past weekend (the views are perfection), and I’m determined to make it to a few more before the summer ends. Cindy’s seems to be the gold standard so I feel like that has to be the next stop!
One thing I loved about our neighborhood in Milwaukee was having restaurants right on the river. You could sit outside and watch the boats pass by while enjoying dinner and drinks on warm summer nights. I remember saying to friends visiting from Chicago that I felt like it was hard to actually get to the rivers and beaches we Chicagoans love so much. Two years ago, the riverwalk underwent a major renovation and brought us Tiny Tapp and a second location of City Winery. I recently went on a Sunday afternoon, and it wasn’t very crowded so I was able to get a lavender iced coffee (so good!) and watch the boats sail by.
The Windy Kitty Cafe
Don’t act like you’re surprised. I don’t know how I’ve been in a city with a cat cafe for 6 months and not gone yet. This needs to happen NOW.
Now tell me- what else do I need to add to my summer list?