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 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
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
5 Woodfield Rd Store K120B
Schaumburg, IL 60173
Party Earth Review With lots of glowing flat-screens beckoning to Cubs fans, daily specials luring the budget-minded, and a big seasonal beer garden perfect for open air drinking, Vines on Clark fits right into the Wrigleyville bar scene without being (entirely) about baseball. A long wooden bar with a mirrored back lines the right side ... more
3554 North Clark Street
Chicago, IL 60657
Concert / Dance Performance
No one does St. Paddy’s Day like Chicago. Perhaps it’s the large Irish-American population or maybe the Second City citizenry’s eagerness to host a party, but it’s hard to find a more fun place to visit in March. What ... moreIrish American Heritage Center
4646 North Knox Avenue
Chicago, IL 60630
Party Earth Review Unlike its often status-conscious namesake neighborhood, Lincoln Park itself is a serene escape from the bustling city, providing access to a host of sandy beaches, cultural events, outdoor theater, water activities, and wide open spaces. Spanning nearly six miles, the park runs through the neighborhoods of Lincoln Park ... more
2045 Lincoln Park West
(address of Lincoln Park Cultural Center)
Chicago, IL 60610
Bar / Arcade
Party Earth Review Entering Emporium Arcade Bar is like taking a step back into childhood, where frustrations brewed over unsaved princesses, Q*bert blew projectiles out his nose, and the only way to kill monsters was to over-inflate them with a bicycle pump. Anyone who doesn’t get those references should ask their parents. With exposed ... more
1366 North Milwaukee Avenue
Chicago, IL 60622
Party Earth Review Self-dubbed Chicago’s “lakefront playground,” Navy Pier is one of the city’s busiest tourist destinations, entertaining nearly nine million visitors a year with a plethora of amusement park rides, theaters, boat cruises, and beer gardens. Jutting out a half mile into Lake Michigan, the Pier is busiest during the summer ... more
600 East Grand Avenue
Chicago, IL 60611
Party Earth Review With a list of alums that includes everyone from Bill Murray and Jon Belushi to Steve Carell and Tina Fey, Second City is undeniably one of the most influential comedy theaters in the country. Founded in 1959 by a small group of University of Chicago students, the prolific club and its nightly menu of comics, laughs, and ... more
1616 North Wells Street
Chicago, IL 60614
Party Earth Review For lazy warm-weather days, Division Street in Wicker Park is an excellent place to while away the hours with a late brunch, drinks in a crowded game-day sports bars, some window shopping at the boutiques, and an early evening cocktail. Home to artists, hipsters, and unpretentious young professionals, the half-mile stretch ... more
1600–2100 West Division Street
Chicago, IL 60622
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: