Start Planning your Trip to Experience a Chicago Summer Experience & See How Much my City has to Offer!
I strongly believe that everyone should get the chance to experience a Chicago Summer, whether it be for the entire few months or just a few days. The city truly comes alive during the summer months in a way that somehow makes you forgive it for it’s horribly windy and bitter cold winters. I’m not kidding! One day strolling up and down the river on an 80 degree day or watching a movie in the park or reading on the beach or attending a street festival, and the pains of winter are immediately forgiven.Bryan and I moved out of the city in June because of his new job, and while we were excited about the change and creating a new home, the timing was hard. We simply didn’t get into the city as much as we wanted to, but we definitely made sure to experience some of our favorite highlights. We lucked out with the best possible summer weekend, and it was a great way to spend some time just us before the baby comes this fall.
So … Clearly you know where I stand on Chicago Summers and I’m going to tell you why in case you are planning a future trip to the good old Windy City. And to answer the most asked question I get from Chicago visitors – yes, it really is windy!
Whether it be Millennium Park or all the other smaller neighborhood parks, Chicago is constantly running great outdoor summer events. You will be able to attend music performances and outdoor movies all summer long. We love packing a little picnic and spending time outside reading if there isn’t a performance going on.
When we lived in the city, heading downtown to the river on a gorgeous night was a regular occurrence. There is something so peaceful about the river area despite the city hustle and bustle. First you have the amazing river boardwalk, which allows you to head down below street level and walk alongside the water. You can find little cafes there for a bite to eat and a Vietnam Veterans Memorial plus information on river cruises if you are interested.
Second, there are some great restaurants right on the river. Many of them will have a wait if you are just dropping in but a summer night at Bridge House Tavern was a favorite of ours!
Lastly, there is something really magical about watching the boats go up and down the river all day long and seeing all the building lights glimmer on the water at night. Plus my favorite Chicago building – the Chicago Tribune building – is right there!
The city comes to life with summer festivals. Almost every neighborhood has their own festival throughout the summer months, so you are almost guaranteed some sort of event every weekend of the summer. The festivals range from big events like Taste of Chicago, Lollapalooza, and the Air and Water Show (more on that in a moment) to smaller events like the Taste of Lincoln (a street in our old neighborhood). Even the outlying suburbs have summer festivals that rival the city ones, so there are plenty of fun choices. If planning a trip to Chicago in the summer, I definitely recommend looking up what festivals will be happening and where.
The Air and Water Show is definitely our favorite. For 3 days, the city sky is filled with planes, jets, and even parachuters. This means, even if you are not close to the lake to watch the show, you get to see some of the show from almost anywhere. There really is something quite spectacular about seeing the Blue Angels or the Thunderbirds zoom between buildings and screech overhead.
You also have plenty of choices in how you want to watch the show – from a day cruise ship, the beach, a nearby park, or a restaurant either by the lake or on a rooftop. Lots of choices for whatever fits your style. For this trip, we found a spot outside the zoo on a hill and put down a blanket to watch in the shade. It was a great way to get off our feet for a little bit and rehydrate.
Chicago has not only 1 zoo but 2 – Brookfield Zoo and Lincoln Park Zoo. Brookfield is definitely a larger zoo with more animals, but it’s located further outside of the city and charges. My heart belongs to the Lincoln Park Zoo. In fact, when I lived in the city, the zoo was on my walking path so I spent a lot of time strolling through the zoo and seeing the animals.
When we went for our Chicago Summer Weekend, we made sure to stroll past some of our favorite exhibits and stopped by the main food spot to grab lunch and sit outside. It was so relaxing and the perfect resting stop for this mom to be! Plus, Bryan got to keep an eye out for the Air and Water Show as the zoo is right off the show location.
It also connects to the Nature Boardwalk, which is my favorite place in the whole city. We will actually be having maternity photos there soon. There is a great path that goes along the lagoon, a restaurant right there as well, and gorgeous views of the skyline. Plus, it is right off an open park with field space where club sports often play and not too far from the bridge that heads over to North Ave Beach.
Chicago would never be the first place that comes to mind when I think beach but we do have them and it is a good time. We most frequented the North Ave Beach because it was closest to our house but there are more to choose from. Most of them also have at least one restaurant if you want to grab food right on the water.
AND MUCH, MUCH MORE!
This list doesn’t even begin to cover all the great things about Chicago Summers – such as river and lake cruises, baseball games, running or biking along the lake, strolling up the Magnificent Mile, seeing local bands play at festivals, Navy Pier, or letting the kids play in the water fountains at Millennium Park. Christmas in the city is festive, but Chicago Summers is definitely the time of year you should visit!
We barely got to touch upon the Chicago awesomeness when we were down there, and we crammed in a lot given the fact that I am 7 months pregnant. I would not have survived without lots of NESTLÉ® SPLASH with me to stay hydrated! NESTLÉ® SPLASH gives you natural fruit flavor to enjoy, which satisfies my desire for something fun and a little sweet, with ZERO calories and ZERO sugar. It doesn’t get much better than that!
NESTLÉ® SPLASH has five fun flavors so you have lots of choices! There is Wild Berry, Lemon, Strawberry Melon, Acai Grape, and Mandarin Orange. Wild Berry and Strawberry Melon are definitely my favorite to keep on hand this summer, while Bryan loves the lemon. They are refreshing water perfect for staying hydrated on these warm summer days while also feeling like a treat (for zero calories!). Sometimes I just don’t want plain, boring water. Check here to find a store near you with availability or you can visit here for extra convenience and order online. Plus, make sure you follow along with NESTLÉ® SPLASH on Facebook!
NESTLÉ® SPLASH believes hydration and summer should be fun, flavorful, and a bit surprising, so they are encouraging all of us to get out and enjoy summer. I know it feels like summer is over with September just around the corner, but it’s not! We still have at least a good few weeks of summer weather and summer events! Maybe a quick weekend trip to Chicago is even in your future so that you can experience a Chicago Summer, too!
What are you doing to add a little#NestléSplashofFun to your normal routine?!
This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Nestlé® Splash. The opinions and text are all mine.