Memorial Day is just around the corner—got summer plans? If you find yourself in Chicago, the amount of activities available are mind-boggling. Let’s take a look at some and, as always, the go-to place for more information is www.explorechicago.org.
?Though it’s tough to feel sad while in The Windy City, The Chicago Blues Festival will have you back in the swing of things. It’s the largest free blues festival in the world and remains the largest of Chicago’s music festivals. Performances run on five stages from June 11 through June 13. Note: Don’t miss the tribute to Chicago blues legend Howlin’ Wolf on opening night.
For foodies, the Taste of Chicago commemorates three decades of culinary craft. The ten-day lakefront festival runs from June 25 through July 4 in Grant Park. Music lovers will also descend on Grant Park August 6-8 for the Lollapalooza Music Festival. Headliners this year: Soundgarden, Green Day and Lady Gaga. Music is also on tap with the Sample the City’s celebration of music at the Jay Pritzker Pavilion in Millennium Park, May 24 through July 26.
You’ll also not want to miss the six days celebrating Chicago’s maritime heritage during Pepsi Tall Ships Chicago 2010 at Navy Pier, August 24 through August 29. Visitors will have the opportunity to sail on 20 historic, classic sailing vessels from around the globe. The event includes plenty of interactive activities and educational opportunities for the entire family.
?Neighborhood scavenger hunts take place throughout the summer from June 1 until August 31. It’s a challenging way to discover neighborhoods. Also, the Family Fun Festival returns to Millennium Park this summer, making the Park the place to be for kids of all ages. Every day, from June 9 through September 3 between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m., family performances and hands-on activities will take place in the Family Fun Tent, located on the Park’s Chase Promenade North.
Beach season begins in Chicago on May 28. This season, beachgoers will find a variety of amenities, from bike rentals to concessions, at beaches across the city. The Chicago Park District beaches are open to the public until September 6, and admission is always free.
Chicago isn’t known as fertile ground for comedy for nothing. Each summer, the Chicago Park District’s open-air stage is home to comedy and innovative performances.
There’s also Lincoln Park Zoo—one of the country’s last remaining free admission zoos. The zoo’s newest attraction, the Pritzker Family Children’s Zoo, features North American wildlife. Four large outdoor exhibits feature black bears, red wolves, beaver and river otters.
The InstaGreeter service is an offshoot of the popular Chicago Greeter program, offering free, on-the-spot “insider’s orientations” of neighborhoods for groups of 6 or fewer. Visitors can now go on a free, one-hour guided walkabout of the Old Town neighborhood when the new Old Town InstaGreeter Outpost launches on May 29. Located at legendary comedy theatre the Second City, the InstaGreeter Outpost will operate 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. every Saturday through Columbus Day.
Summertime Sampler Tours are the perfect introduction to Chicago’s many neighborhoods. Sample the charms of diverse neighborhoods on four abridged Chicago Neighborhood Tours. The delightful trios include the popular Greek Town, Chinatown Little Italy on Fridays, June 4, June 18, July 2, July 16, July 30, August 13 and August 27; and brand-new, Bucktown, Humboldt Park Logan Square on Friday, July 9 and Friday, August 20. On the Art Around Town on Friday, June 25 and Friday, August 6, see classic and contemporary, indoor and outdoor mosaics and sculptures. Summertime Sampler Tours are $20 per person and approximately three hours long.