After a winter that felt particularly long (who are we kidding, they all feel long), when summer comes to Chicago everything seems magical. We love this city even in the depth of its polar vortices, but Chicago in the summer is what we live for.
To show off, the city offers tons of great events throughout the summer to soak up the sun and enjoy all of the great cultural happenings Chicago has to offer. While you can't go wrong picking an event that features the Chicago summer as its backdrop, here are a few favorite for whatever your interest might be.
If you like shopping ... Randolph Street Market
This monthly shopping market is the holy grail of outside shopping. While the market runs year-round, it's in peak form when it's outside May through September. June's market (June 27-28) is fittingly Pride themed and will feature, entertainment, a beer garden with vintage carnival games and concessions, rainbow themed bites and drinks, unique finds from more than 300 vintage and indie vendors, photobooths and more. If you can't make it this weekend, the market sets up its 5 acres of shop at 1340 W. Washington in the West Loop on the last weekend of every month, so make sure to plan ahead. Tickets range from $3 for students to $30 for the "four girlfriends" package, which includes entry for you and three friends and a mimosa for each of you (or, four for yourself).
If you like food ... Chicago Food Truck Fest
Food trucks have a growing presence in Chicago and are the perfect answer for a grab-and-go gourmet lunch, but don't limit yourself to just one truck - you can try them all! On June 27-28, dozens of food trucks will fill the South Loop Green Space (2400 S. Dearborn) and offer the best of Chicago's cuisine. Have a hankering for a lobster roll? Check out the Happy Lobster. Pierogis more your style? The Pierogi Wagon will save the day. Entry to the festival is free, but VIP tickets that offer early admission at 11 a.m. and two drink tickets are available for $10, $5 for the early admission and no drink tickets.
Every Tuesday evening the Museum of Contemporary Art's sculpture garden is transformed into a lively jazz venue with some of the best of Chicago's jazz musicians. Tuesdays on the Terrace are free, but $26 will buy you access to a changing buffet menu featuring local produce from the museum's farmers market.
This summer, the annual summer concert series ties in with the museum's upcoming exhibit "The Freedom Principle" (above), which explores the history of jazz in Chicago. The exhibit opens Saturday, July 11 and the celebration will include live jazz music and programming throughout the day, followed by an outdoor concert featuring Mike Reed playing a repertoire of Chicago jazz and blues.
"The Freedom Principle" credit: Nick Cave, Speak Louder, 2011. Courtesy of the artist and Jack Shainman Gallery, New York. Photo: James Prinz Photography.