Summer Fun in the Midwest: Six Activities to Consider

Summer Fun in the Midwest: Six Activities to Consider

I’m not sure if anyone else noticed the fact that summer might actually be around the corner. I know it’s hard to believe given our last snowfall was not too far behind us.

Summer is most definitely my favorite time of year. There are some events and places on my radar this year that everyone should check out. See what I’m talking about below.

Navy Pier Fireworks (May 24th- August 30th) - I love fireworks. It doesn’t matter where. As a kid, I would watch them from the roof of our minivan or at our central park. As an adult, I enjoyed traveling to St Louis for the 4th (See Below). However, being in the great city of Chicago, there is no need to wait for the 4th of July for Fireworks. Starting May 24th and lasting until August 30th you can catch fireworks by Navy Pier on Wednesday and Saturday nights. My tip- If you are only going for the fireworks and not the crazy crowds and loud music, park yourself along the boat docks a few blocks south of the Pier. It’s where I sit and you still get the same awesome view but to the sounds of waves and boats clinking instead of Lady Gaga and Katy Perry.; Much more enjoyable in my honest opinion.

Branson Salutes (June 13th to 21st) - This is a weeklong event in Branson that honors law enforcement. Retired and active police officers alike, along with their families are welcome for discounts to Branson shows, family events, and fun! Check out their page lodging and more details. My grandfather is retired police in Lombard and my uncle is currently. I recommend checking out Country Tonight, Jim Stafford and taking a stroll around the landing. What a great way to celebrate the service these great Women and Men offer our cities. If you aren’t police or family off, still take a trip down. It’s a great family vacation spot!

White Sox Baseball – (or Cubs…) There is something magical about rooting for your favorite team, getting a tan and drinking a beer. Top it off with some peanuts and a hot dog for a perfect afternoon. Even for those of us who can’t recite every baseball stat, still love getting out with friends, cheering, singing and laughing. Of course, it always helps when your team gets a win!

Madison, WI Famers Market – while this Farmers Market goes pretty much year round, the winter months do not come close to the abundance of freshly baked bread, colorful vegetables and delicious cheeses that you will find in the summer. While visiting my best friend at UW Madison (whose birthday is today- Happy Birthday!) I attended the farmers market. I literally walk in circles in complete awe. I’m like a teenage girl shopping in a mall.

It is really something special to be able to support small-town farmers, bakers and others who work hard and care about the work they put into the food they create. I always leave with bags of honey, kale, potatoes, and cheese amongst other goodies! Can’t make it to Wisconsin? Try out a local farmers market. Talk to them about their preferences and the food. It’s a great experience!

Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore - It’s no secret that I’m not a huge fan of Indiana as a whole. Between their “Stillinoyed" campaign and their stance on gay marriage, I haven’t been their biggest fan. However- I still love the dunes. They are a bit quieter than the Chicago shore and feature less of the “pretty people.”

Yes, it’s a further drive, but the atmosphere is worth it. My top three beaches? If you are looking for more of the “North Avenue” type beach, but with parked boats and music- try Wells Beach.

There is limited pay for parking but the atmosphere is young and fun. Probably the cleanest beach with the most amenities is West Beach. Parking is plentiful but for a small fee. My personal favorite is Kemil beach. It’s the furthest from Chicago and the furthest walk from the parking lot. There aren’t many amenities.

What it is, is quiet, relaxing and the beach where you are least likely to get sand kicked in your face while trying to tan.

St. Louis for the 4th (July 3rd to 5th) - The 4th of July celebration in St. Louis, known as Fair St. Louis is amazing. You get free concerts, open air, and a great atmosphere all on the grounds of the 1904 World’s Fair. I have gone twice before and commonly refer to one year as the best day ever. The event refers to itself as “America’s Biggest Birthday Party” and I wouldn’t disagree.

Picture it: Your favorite artist’s performing some of their biggest hits. You have a beer and your favorite fair food in hand, with your friends close by. At the conclusion of the musical act, fireworks shoot into the sky. Not much like it!

This is of course just a starter list to the fun your summer can hold!

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