We Chicagoans wait approximately 9 months each year for the 3 months of summer that come along. You might even say we live for the summer months. And right now, well, we’re in those three months and are loving life! Except for every time I talk to someone about how it’s almost July the conversation goes in the direction of ‘AND THEN SOON IT WILL BE WINTER AGAIN AND I JUST CANNOT HANDLE THAT SO SOON!’ I guess we aren’t exactly known for our optimism.
But since if’s ‘officially’ summer now, because the calendar has informed me that happened over last weekend, I thought I would post my favorite things about summer in Chicago.
An excuse to be as naked as possible. Being bra-less feels so much more appropriate in the summer. Cut-out/backless dresses? Love them! The less clothes, the less sweat, and that’s always a good thing. Of course, some people may take this a bit to extremes… but I let people worry about their own modesty and focus on mine, and mine says that the summer is less about layers and more about feeling the breeze on my skin!
I can’t wait to fit into this dress again!
Bike riding around the city. There is no freer feeling than being able to get anywhere in Chicago without worrying about public transportation or parking passes / feeding the meter. Biking will always be one of my favorite modes of transportation in this town.
Curly hair. I’m usually lazy about my hair (I can definitely admit to that!) but in the summer, that laziness is exponentially worse (or better, depending on how you look at it). I love wearing my hair curly alllll summer. A blow dryer? What’s that?!
Drinking frozen drinks. Margaritas, slushies, frapaccinos… there are so many options.
Eating outdoors. ‘Would you like a table indoors or outdoors?’ ALWAYS PICK OUTDOORS! There’s only a few months that allow us to enjoy this luxury, and I personally believe in taking advantage of the opportunity as often as possible.
Farmers Markets. I prefer the Logan Square farmers market, but any will do! It’s a great excuse to walk around a neighborhood and pick up some fresh produce or any other treats that may look good at the time. Who knew that we could still get fresh food, even in the city?!
Gardening. This summer we have an actual garden with actual flowers and I am spending some time in it, believe it or not! I even pulled a few weeds! So far, we’ve had minimal flower death under my watchful eye…
Humidity. OK, I don’t love humidity, at all. It makes my hair crazy and my body sweat and it makes Chicago feel a bijillion degrees warmer than it actually might be, but it’s impossible to mention Chicago in the summer without mentioning the humidity that comes right along with it.
Ice Cream. The key is to eat it before it melts all over my hands (if I’m brave enough to get a cone…) I don’t discriminate – it could be froyo, ice cream, gelato… I love the frozen treats of summer.
Jogging along the lakefront path. If you go out to the lakefront at any time, day or night, over the summer months, someone is busy training for the Chicago Marathon, or just getting their run on in general. I absolutely love this! Even though I don’t really run anymore, I feel so much solidarity with runners!
Keeping it local. There are plenty of times when locals leave the city of Chicago for warmer places… like between the months of Jan-May. However, once summer season hits, unless people are leaving for weddings, they’re staying put.
Lollapalooza and other outdoor festivals. Granted, I haven’t been to Lollapalooza in a few years (oh the shame!), but some of my favorite summer memories are from those concerts! There’s something about being sweaty and super close to thousands of other people with beers in hand to remind me that it’s truly summer in Chicago. And then when it rains… magic.
I can’t believe this was already three years ago – yikes!
Movies in the Park. Every day there are movies playing around the city of Chicago in the parks – sometimes they’re old movies, sometimes newer movies. Either way, there’s no better way to spend an evening than to pack up a picnic and join some neighbors for some movie watching.
Neighborhood festivals. There is always a street festival going on somewhere in Chicago! The key is finding the one with the best food and making sure it gets put on the calendar to return to every year… My favorite is Randolph Fest, but we already managed to miss it this year – D’oh!
Over-sized sunglasses. No time to put on makeup? Oversized sunglasses will do the trick. Thank goodness they remain in style…
Pizza. Is there a better summer food than pizza? Not deep dish, that’s for the winter months when we’re eating more calories to hide our unhappiness about the weather, but thin crust eaten on patios with a cold beer. Deliciousness.
Artichoke and mushroom pizza, enjoyed on a patio. Best lunch date ever!
Quality time. It’s so much easier to make plans with friends in the summer. Nothing to do? Let’s bikeride and have a picnic. Let’s hit up a festival. Let’s watch a movie in the park. Let’s get together to BBQ. Let’s just drink beer outside. There are seriously endless possibilities when the weather cooperates in Chicago.
Rainstorms in the morning or at night. There’s nothing better than a good Midwestern storm to either go to bed to or to wake up to. Heck, I even like them in the middle of the day! If it’s warm enough, the rain feels amazing and usually adds to whatever experience we’re having.
Sunsets that happen later and later until the end of July, so that we can do more with a little bit of sunlight. When the days are longer I definitely accomplish more, and I love it!
Tan lines. Not on myself, I don’t love those, but I love them on other people! Especially farmer-tan lines, those are the best. Sorry, I have to laugh when I see them, but it also means that the person has been outside more than me that weekend, so my laughter is usually tinged with jealousy.
Umbrellas that become inverted as soon as the wind hits them. In the winter, this is travesty, in the summer, no one minds getting a bit wet and it’s more hilarious than anything else. But seriously, no umbrellas can survive the Chicago wind. I’ve been involved in more than one conversation that is centered around the best brand of umbrella that will last longer than a few weeks.
Vino. Sparkling wine, preferably. Also: Summer Shandy. I cannot wait to fully indulge in these treats over the next few months!
Walking Ozzie without fear of frostbite. I’m not going to lie, in the winter we get lazy with Ozzie. We just don’t like to play outdoors in the cold! However, Ozzie LOVES the cold. Sigh. However, in the summer (as long as it’s not TOO hot) we all win, since we can sit outside and play for quite a while before we need to turn it in for the night.
Xtra firework sightings. Navy Pier has fireworks every Wednesday and Saturday night alllll summer long, so we can watch fireworks whenever we want to! Granted, in our old apartment it was easier because we could see the entire show from our 38th floor view of the lake (yeah, I miss that place), but it’s still a fun surprise when we hear the fireworks going off and realize we happen to be in a place where we can watch them.
Yard games. Bags/Cornhole, beer pong, flippy cup, plain ol’ catch, frisbee, etc… there are so many activities to do outdoors if you get lucky enough to find a piece of space in a yard or a park! Granted, I’m not really that good at any of these, but there’s something relaxing about throwing a ball/frisbee around while having a conversation about something.
Zoo. Did you know Chicago has a free zoo?! If you live in Chicago, you definitely know this and use it to your full advantage when it comes to entertaining kids or walking around for a bit.
… I feel like I should also mention something about baseball, since when the Cubs and Sox are good, that’s actually a thing here… but to be honest I haven’t gone to a game in a few seasons because it’s just not the same to watch my Cubbies lose, so I left attending a game off the list entirely. However, if you happen to be visiting Chicago in the summer, you should probably make your way to Wrigley, or at least visit the bars outside of it.
What did I leave off this list?!
Also, don’t forget about the one-time linkup Brittany and I are hosting tomorrow:
Cheers – it’s the most wonderful time of the year in Chicago!