As summer sets in, Chicago transforms into a vibrant outdoor playground that offers plenty of highlights for residents and visitors alike. Take a summer day trip across town or enjoy a convenient staycation with a little jaunt to an engaging destination just minutes away from your home. You’ll find no shortage of entertainment around the city. Here are some of the best trips to take around Chicago in the summer:

Millennium Park

Chicago Bean

Millennium Park is one of those quintessential Chicago destinations that truly defines the culture of the city. During the summer months, a trip to Millennium Park is especially engaging thanks to its packed calendar of special events. The Jay Pritzker Pavilion hosts the Millennium Park Summer Film Series, an annual event that takes place every Tuesday evening from July 11 through Aug. 29 in 2023.

Gates open at 5:00 p.m., and the films begin at 6:30 p.m. You can grab a seat in the pavilion itself or bring a blanket and chairs to lounge on the lawn. You’re also welcome to bring a picnic along with all your favorite snacks and beverages for the show. If you’re not into packing your own feast, concessions are available on-site. These movies are completely free, and spots are available on a first-come, first-served basis.

If you prefer concerts to movies, check out the Millennium Park Summer Music Series. Running from June 22 to Aug. 21, 2023, this series includes 10 free concerts. Gates open at 5:00 p.m., and the music starts at 6:30 p.m.

Other highlights in Millennium Park include the Boeing Galleries, Crown Fountain, Lurie Garden, and Chase Promenades, which include the infamous Cloud Gate, otherwise known as “The Bean.” This park is one of the most photo-worthy highlights in the city, so come prepared to take some share-worthy selfies.

Location: 201 E. Randolph St., Chicago.

Hours: 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. daily.

Lincoln Park

The largest park in Chicago, Lincoln Park is an outstanding summer destination where you can easily enjoy a fun day out or even a whole weekend away. The Lincoln Park Conservatory features four display houses that present a lush display any time of the year. You can explore the Fern Room, Orchid House, Palm House, and Show House. The Lincoln Park Zoo is a family-friendly favorite where you can experience everything, from the Arctic Tundra and Penguin Cove to the Primate House and Center for African Apes.

If you’re interested in a more refined experience, book a table at North Pond. This upscale restaurant offers breathtaking views of the Chicago skyline from its picturesque waterfront spot on one of Lincoln Park’s ponds. The menu features ingredients from local farmers, producers, and growers, so you’ll get a real taste of Chicago. The chef’s seasonal tasting menu offers the perfect way for you to sample it all.

Location: 500-5700 N. Lake Shore Drive, Chicago.

Hours: Vary by destination.

North Avenue Beach

Though North Avenue Beach is technically part of Lincoln Park, this destination deserves its own mention. You can enjoy the area from the water with a wakeboard, paddleboard, jet ski, or kayak rental. If you prefer to take in the sparkling waters from a spot on the sand, consider renting a volleyball court, joining a beach yoga class, or renting a bike. You can even get yourself a beach umbrella and chairs if you want to simply lounge on the sunny sand.

If you work up an appetite with all these activities, stop at Castaways Bar and Grill. Snag a spot on the rooftop, where you can take in the beautiful beach views as you dine.

Location: 1600 N. Lake Shore Drive, Chicago.

Hours: 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. daily.

The 606

Also known as the Bloomingdale Trail, this elevated park and trail spans 2.7 miles running through Logan Square, Wicker Park, Humboldt Park, and Bucktown. This former railway corridor now features scenic lookouts, blooming landscaping, and plentiful public art.

Exelon Observatory sits along the trail, offering the perfect spot for sunset views over the city. You’ll also find public astronomy nights at the observatory. On the second Friday of every month, Astronomer Joe Guzman brings out telescopes and hosts a drop-in viewing with intriguing discussions about the stars.

If you’re strolling around with your family, make a stop at Walsh Park. You’ll find a playground for the kids, basketball hoops for teens, and even an open grassy space for Fido. Park No. 567 caters to a more adult crowd with live music outside the hip coffee bar Ipsento.

Location: 1805 N. Ridgeway Ave., Chicago.

Hours: 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. daily.

Maxwell Street Market

Make a point of heading out to Maxwell Street Market during the summer months in Chicago. The Sunday market begins on May 28 in 2023, and rolls through Oct. 29. This historic market first began in the late 19th century when Jewish immigrants would take to the streets on Sundays with their wares. The City of Chicago officially recognized the market in 1912.

This vibrant outdoor market features produce, crafts, clothing, housewares, and more. The live music you’ll find here adds ambiance to the event, and there’s an abundance of options for delicious street food. The market features several designated Family Fun days with special activities for kids and adults alike. Mark your calendar for June 18, July 9, July 23, Aug. 20, and Sept. 17 if you want to attend a family fun day at the market this year.

Location: 800 S. Desplaines St., Chicago.

Hours: 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Summer Fun in Chicago

Summer is one of the best seasons to get out and enjoy Chicago. While the Windy City can be frigidly cold and uncomfortable in the winter months, summer gives way to sunny days with average highs in the low 80s and comfortable lows in the mid to upper 60s. What’s your favorite way to enjoy the Chicago summer? Contact our team at Allied Plumbing & Heating Supply Co. and let us know. We love hearing your recommendations for our community.

Photo Credit: Image by Artem Zhukov is licensed with Unsplash License