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FUN (AND FREE!) SUMMER PARK ACTIVITIES IN CHICAGO

This summer, enjoy free things to do in Chicago's parks like Millennium Park and the new Maggie Daley Park and The 606 .

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Morning yoga, anyone? Movie under the stars? Perhaps a music performance at sunset? This lineup of summer park activities is perfect for all ages and interests — they’re also free. Discover all the summer fun you can add to your Chicago must-do list in these beloved green spaces and new parks.



The Lakefront Trail
(along Lake Michigan, between 5800 N. Sheridan Road & 7100 S. South Shore Drive)

Lakefront Trail Chicago 

EXPLORING THE LAKEFRONT TRAIL
Year-round

Run, walk, rollerblade or bike along the 18-mile stretch of Chicago's Lakefront Trail, a paved pathway with dramatic waterfront and skyline views. You'll pass by a number of parks — including Lincoln ParkGrant ParkJackson Park and Burnham Park — and free public beaches as you make your way through several lakefront neighborhoods from the South Shore up to Edgewater.  


 

The 606 (along Bloomingdale Avenue, from Ashland Avenue to Ridgeway Avenue)

The 606 Chicago

EXPLORING THE 606 TRAIL
Year-round

Officially open June 6, 2015, this 2.7-mile elevated park and trailway provides bike and jogging paths, as well as ample green space, while connecting neighborhoods through the reuse of an old industrial rail line and re-purposed bridges. Along with a chain of street-level parks and scenic look-out points, The 606 will also feature a seasonal observatory and public art murals. Rising almost 18 feet above street level, The 606 (which takes its name from the common numerals for all Chicago's ZIP codes) is a great new way to explore colorful and hip areas like Bucktown, Logan Square and Humboldt Park.


 

Millennium Park (201 E. Randolph Street)

Millennium Park Summer Workouts 

MILLENNIUM PARK MUSIC SERIES
June 1 – September 18, 2015
Jay Pritzker Pavilion, Millennium Park 

Millennium Park kicks off the summer music season with Downtown Sound, a free concert series featuring an array of musical stylings, from electronic music artists to indie rock bands to pop artists to renowned world music performers. Watch and listen for this contemporary showcase every Monday and Thursday night, June 1-July 23. The end of summer brings the celebrated series Made in Chicago: World Class Jazz, curated in part with the Jazz Institute of Chicago, every Thursday from August 6-27. And even more performances fill the calendar for Millennium Park Presents, May 21-September 18, which draws cultural institutions like as Broadway in Chicago, Lyric Opera and Chicago Symphony Orchestra for special one-night-only shows.

 

MORNING WORKOUTS ON THE GREAT LAWN
June 6 – September 5, 2015
The Great Lawn at Pritzker Pavilion, Millennium Park

Start the day with a refreshing morning workout unlike any other. As the sun rises over the sleek skyscrapers, Millennium Park fills with folks ready to stretch, strengthen and shake it with an open-air fitness routine. Early every Saturday from 7-11am, join the free Millennium Park Summer Workouts on the Great Lawn, where music is paired with yoga, Pilates, Tai Chi and Zumba.

 

GRANT PARK MUSIC FESTIVAL
June 17 – August 22, 2015
Jay Pritzker Pavilion, Millennium Park

The sounds of Mozart, Beethoven, Tchaikovsky and more swirl through the air during the annual Grant Park Music Festival, held at Jay Pritzker Pavilion. It's the nation's only free, outdoor classical music series of its kind and it features the Grammy-nominated Grant Park Orchestra along with the 100-plus-member Grant Park Chorus — not to mention special guest performers and conductors.

 

FAMILY FUN FESTIVAL
June 22 – August 23, 2015
Chase Promenade North, Millennium Park

Head inside this massive tent for activities, including music and arts and crafts, for kids of all ages. Daily activities at the Family Fun Festival range from sing-alongs with Wiggleworms to story time at the Reading Circle. Each week Chicago's cultural partners —  from the Chicago History Museum to Lookingglass Theatre — create the theme for the Activity Zone. 

 

MILLENNIUM PARK SUMMER FILM SERIES
June 23 – August 25, 2015
Jay Pritzker Pavilion, Millennium Park

Grab a blanket, pack a picnic and plan to spend an evening watching a film under the stars with the Millennium Park Summer Film Series. Watch classics and new favorites like Back to the Future, Drumline and Dirty Dancing on the state-of-the-art, 40-foot LED screen every Tuesday evening.

 

LURIE GARDEN WALKS
Year-round
Lurie Garden, Millennium Park

Ignite your sense of sight and smell with a walk through the five-acre oasis known as Lurie Garden. Take a free self-guided tour, or schedule an in-depth, customized one-hour tour (for a nominal fee). In either case, you'll wander the garden's bright blooms, lush vegetation and serene step pools. Free programs — such as lectures on butterflies and workshops on botanical drawings — also dot the calendar. 


 

Grant Park (337 E. Randolph Street)

Chicago SummerDance

GRANT PARK SKATE PARK
11th Street & Michigan Avenue, Grant Park

The southwest corner of "Chicago's Front Yard" has a lot of action going on: half-pipe action that is! Almost 2 acres of the park has been turned into a free recreational space as the new Grant Park Skate Park. There are ramps and rails for thrill-seekers on scooters, rollerblades, skate boards and BMX bikes... but also benches for spectators.

 

CHICAGO BLUES FESTIVAL
June 12 – 14, 2015
Petrillo Music Shell, Grant Park 

Love blues? Then you won't want to miss the Chicago Blues Festival. More than half a million music fans gather at this annual showcase — the city's largest music festival — where blues legends will show off their musical talents across four stages.

 

CHICAGO SUMMERDANCE
June 26 – September 13, 2015 | Fri. – Sat., 6 – 9:30pm; Sun. 4 – 7pm
Spirit of Music Garden, Grant Park

The stage? A 4,900-square-foot, open-air dance floor in Grant Park's Spirit of Music Garden. The scene? Professional instructors lead fun-loving people of all ages and skill levels through one-hour dance lessons in styles like samba and tango, followed by two-hours of live music and dancing. Chicago SummerDance is the perfect way to learn some new moves while enjoying a summer evening.



Maggie Daley Park (337 E. Randolph Street) 

Maggie Daley Park Chicago 

PLAYING AT MAGGIE DALEY PARK
Year-round

The recently unveiled Maggie Daley Park (located immediately east of Millennium Park) offers ample opportunity for visitors of all ages to play and get active. A 20-foot wide ribbon-like pathway winds around the park for for roller skaters and scooters. In the three-acre play garden, children can let their imaginations run wild (while they run wild!) with creative play installations. Think whimsical whales, colorful lighthouses and upside-down trees in the spirit of Alice in Wonderland and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. The 40-foot Rock Climbing Wall (fee starts at $15) is made up of two sculptural structures and can accommodate up to 100 climbers of varying ability, from beginner to advanced.   


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