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 Held the last weekend of the month from February to December, Randolph Street Market is a European-style bazaar with more than two hundred vendors – all hand-picked by festival organizers – hawking an array of antiques, handmade items, and vintage goods. Both an indoor and outdoor event, the market features ... more
1350 West Randolph Street
Chicago, IL 60607
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 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
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 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
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 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
Holiday Event / Play
A Beer Carol is an annual holiday radio play held in November and December at the Haymarket Pub & Brewery in Chicago, Illinois. Located in the West Loop neighborhood of Chicago, the Haymarket Pub & Brewery has a 300-person capacity ... moreHaymarket Pub & Brewery
737 West Randolph Street
Chicago, IL 60661
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
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: