Fair / Carnival / Festival
Winter WonderFest at Navy Pier is an annual holiday celebration held from the beginning of December to mid-January on all of Navy Pier in Chicago. Navy Pier is located just north of the Loop in Streeterville and consists of over 50 acres ... moreNavy Pier
600 East Grand Avenue
Chicago, IL 60611
Party Earth Review Navigating a short stretch between Lincoln Park and Lakeview, the Chicago Beer Experience leads adventurous groups of friends and die-hard beer lovers along a half-mile hops-fueled adventure. Beginning in Lakeview at Vaughan's, a cozy Irish pub, the tour runs most Fridays through Sundays (regardless of the weather) and ... more
2917 North Sheffield Avenue
Chicago, IL 60657
Christkindlmarket Chicago is an annual month-long holiday market spanning from around Thanksgiving to Christmas held in Daley Plaza. Located next to the Daley Center in the middle of the Loop neighborhood in Chicago, Daley Plaza is home to ... moreDaley Plaza
50 West Washington Street
Chicago, IL 60602
Party Earth Review Founded in 1968 as one of Chicago’s first blues clubs, Kingston Mines has stood witness to more than a few big players in the industry wailing about how their woman left them. Playbills from past performances, old photos of legendary singers, and vintage murals of African American history dot the room, while mismatched ... more
2548 North Halsted
Chicago, IL 60614
5 Woodfield Rd Store K120B
Schaumburg, IL 60173
Party Earth Review Part upscale bar, part restaurant, part club, and part bountiful beer garden, Zella is either the greatest thing since sliced bread or is suffering from multiple-personality disorder – either way, patrons come in droves to drink, flirt, and drink some more. A deceivingly small entrance in the simple brick façade leads ... more
1983 North Clybourn Avenue
Chicago, IL 60614
Festival / Holiday Event
ZooLights is an annual holiday celebration held from the end of November through the beginning on January at Lincoln Park Zoo in Chicago, Illinois. Opened in 1868, Lincoln Park Zoo is one of the oldest Zoos in America and home to over 1,200 ... moreLincoln Park Zoo
2001 North Clark Street
Chicago, IL 60614
Party Earth Review Set in the swanky area of Chicago known as the Gold Coast, Rush and Division is an odd mix of flashy, loud, and slightly seedy that features a range of venues from the rowdy bars along Division to the fat-cat steakhouses on Rush. The addition of State Street to the west – along with the infamous supply of older men on the ... more
Intersection of Rush Street and Division Street
Chicago, IL 60611
McCormick Tribune Plaza is a multi-purpose venue located within the famed Millennium Park in Chicago. Opened in 2001, the plaza doubles as McCormick Tribune Ice Rink every year from mid-November until mid-March. Hosting more than 100,000 ... moreGrant Park / Millennium Park
Between South Michigan Avenue to Lake Michigan and East Roosevelt Road to East Randolph Street.
Party Earth Review Set between the swanky shops of Rush Street and the wild bar scene of Division Street, The Cedar Hotel – a crime-riddled boarding house in the 1920s – now provides a bit of both worlds with its unique combination of historical architecture and energetic sports vibe. Popular with a party crowd of post-grads and sports fans ... more
1112 North State Street
Chicago, IL 60610
The Chicago Theatre
175 N State Street
Chicago, IL 60601
Party Earth Review Spanning from the Chicago River at the south end to Oak Street at the north, the Magnificent Mile (“Mag Mile”) is a popular stretch of North Michigan Avenue constantly abuzz with fashionistas, foreigners, families, and finance types out shopping, strolling, or snapping photographs of some of the city’s most famous architecture ... more
400–1000 North Michigan Avenue
Chicago IL 60611
The Windy City is a metropolis that is deeply affected by the weather, but regardless of the season, there are plenty of things to do in Chicago year round.
The nightlife scene is mostly indoors in the winter and the city itself is also a subdued beast locked in a deep freeze during the day. This is not to imply that everyone goes into hibernation (certainly not the shirtless Bears fans at Soldier Field) but crowds at most outdoor locales are comparatively scant.
As soon as the April / May thaw arrives, however, residents shake off their cabin fever and make any excuse to soak up the sun. Runners, bikers, and all-around outdoor lovers blanket the city’s nineteen miles of uninterrupted lakefront paths, and popular Lake Michigan beaches like ritzy Oak Street and rowdy North Avenue become a sea of skimpy swimwear and volleyball tournaments.
The city’s network of more than 550 parks – including Grant / Millennium, Lincoln, and Northerly Island – swell with things to do like softball games, sunbathers, dog walkers, and barbecue gods on any warm day. The carnival rides, events, and major promenade at Navy Pier are an obvious choice for first-time visitors, though the area’s cornucopia of cafés and theaters appeals to long-time residents as well.
Even before the thermometer inches past fifty, people head out in the morning to popular brunch spots and fantastic shopping districts to snatch up everything from haute couture along the landmark Magnificent Mile to quirky and trendy wares in Wicker Park.
And even though there are no traditional happy hours in Chicago, no summer would be complete without a day at one of its ballparks, whether in Bridgeport’s Sox country or sitting in the sun behind the ivy walls at historic Wrigley.
Amazing drink deals? Unpretentious crowds? Karaoke with friends? Dancing all night? Then check out these suggestions from Emma: