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Chicago Like a Local Blog

Unique perspectives on the city from the people who live here.

Summer is flying by, Chicago! July is now over halfway done and if you haven’t had the chance to experience a craft beer event, this weekend is a perfect opportunity. Friday Night Flights continues downtown and Chicago Craft Beer Festival is joining with a music and garden event in Lincoln Park. Beer is not the only thing being highlighted this weekend. A Michigan Avenue art fest and a River North tasting event will be open to visitors of all ages. Add the list of events below to your calendar and don’t forget to check out our July list of festivals and August list of festivals to look forward to for the rest of the summer!

No one embraces summer like a Chicagoan: sunny days call for as much outdoor time as possible, and picnics are the way to dine. Here are four picnic + park recommendations that promise to make for a memorable summer afternoon in Chicago.

Drinking in the Vice

Wednesday, July 19, 2017 5:00 PM by Liz Garibay

In the late 1800s, all of Chicago was booming. The city was re-building and growing in ways that were unthinkable. No matter the industry, opportunity was available for any and all. And as much as the good was thriving, the bad did too. 

Vice districts flourished in all major urban centers, and Chicago had her fair share. The most infamous of them all, The Levee, was located in modern day South Loop. It was here that Chicago would come to gamble, drink, and visit an assortment of brothels. Aldermen Hinky Dink Kenna and Bathhouse John Coughlin ran the successful First Ward and advocated for its existence. Thanks to Karen Abbott’s insightful book, Sin In The Second City, you can read all about the unique cast of characters that once were. And if you want to throw back a few where some of this history sultry history happened, head on over to Vice District Brewing (1454 S Michigan Ave). 

Maggie Daley Park charmed us with its ice skating loop, challenged us with its climbing structures and thrilled us with its amazing play garden. It's easy to spend an entire day playing at this beautiful park, thanks to the tennis courts, picnic groves and fun, family-friendly events. Now there's yet another amazing thing to do at Chicago's best and brightest new park: City Mini Golf!

As one walks south on Michigan Avenue from Congress Parkway, a gleaming image emerges on the west side of the street. Beyond the glass facade of the Spertus Museum of Judaica and the buildings of Columbia College, there it is: the Blackstone Hotel, a beacon of good taste and luxury since the day it opened its doors in in 1910.

Happy weekend, Chicago! I hope the Taste didn't keep you too full, because there are a handful of events this weekend ready to fill your belly. There are plenty of things to do in Chicago this weekend, whether you're looking for a craft brew festival, a BBQ feast, a nationally acclaimed music festival, family friendly entertainment, or a special birthday celebration for our very own Navy Pier. Don't forget to check out our July festivals list so you don't miss anything. And if you're a big planner, we also have our August schedule ready!

Summer in Chicago calls for patio dining . . . often, and in every corner of the city. But not every patio is kid-friendly, making for frustrated parents, bored kids and kid-less patrons who just want to sip their mojitos in peace. Here are five patios where kids are welcome to join in on the joy of dining in the great (urban!) outdoors.

As Chicagoans, we are often inspired by our city. The people and places of both the past and present seem to influence much of what we do. From fires to fairs, our history is varied, and complicated. And perhaps one tale from our rich past is the one that has affected us the most. The Great Chicago Fire was such a pivotal moment for us that we honor it with a star on our beloved flag. It was a time of tragedy, yet it was a time for a rebirth. When I first encountered Burnt City Brewing in Lincoln Park, I was singed with curiosity. And then I got it. And I appreciated it. Not just because of a fire, but because beer. And history.

Jazz fans don't have to wait until the famed Chicago Jazz Festival (though the 2017 headliners were just announced!) to hear live jazz in the Windy City. This is a music lovers paradise so you can catch all types of live music on any night of the week. But there are special weekly events in the summer that make hearing live jazz a warm weather treat. The Museum of Contemporary Art hosts Tuesdays on the Terrace, the Shedd Aquarium supplies Jazzin' at the Shedd and the Jazz Institute of Chicago holds the Chicago Latin Jazz Fest (coming up this weekend July 14-16, add it to your calendar!).

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