1. Lincoln Park Zoo is open 365 days a year but summer offers many special treats including “Jammin’ at the Zoo” on three Friday evenings this season. Picnic on the south lawn and enjoy live music. First opportunity, June 25, Lifehouse with Michael Franti & Spearhead, also July 23 and August 27. 7p.m., www.lpzoo.com
2. When looking for a place to go island hopping, Chicago is not necessarily the first spot that comes to mind. But Mayor Daley has given us Northerly Island and if you haven’t been there yet, maybe this summer is the time to go. Be forewarned, Northerly Island isn’t exactly an island, it’s more of a peninsula that juts into Lake Michigan. Most of its 91-arces are dedicated to nature with walking paths, casual play areas, fishing areas and a beautiful view of the skyline. There are also concerts, summer camps and more, check it out at: firstname.lastname@example.org Just south of the Grant Park Museums, 1300 S. Linn White Drive, park in the Museums’ parking lots. 312 540 2000.
3. At the nearby Shedd Aquarium they’ll be “Jazzin’ at the Shedd,” every Wednesday evening starting June 23 through August. This popular series features some of the best musicians in the city from jazz to funk. In addition to the music you’ll have a great viewing spot for the Wednesday night fireworks from Navy Pier. http://www.sheddaquarium.org
4. The Grant Park Music Festival is a unique Chicago treasure providing free outdoor classical music in another Chicago treasure the Jay Pritzker Pavilion in Millennium Park. The season has already started and goes through August 21. 205 E. Randolph, 312 742 7638. www.grantparkmusicfestival.com
5. Hop the water taxi and head to Chinatown. You’ll get off in Tom Ping park and can walk from there (about 10 minutes) to the shops and restaurants. www.wendellaboats.com
6. Explore a new neighborhood. There are 77 different neighborhoods in Chicago and although I have been to many, I haven’t seen them all. This summer, I plan to check out a new neighborhood through Chicago Greeters. Chicago Greeters are trained volunteers who will share their love and knowledge of a particular area by taking you on a personal guided tour. Choose from 25 neighborhoods and 40 popular areas of interest. New this year, June and July are open to area residents as well as tourists. www.greeter.com 77 E. Randolph St. 312 744 8000.
7. See an outdoor stage production. Nearby Oak Park’s Festival Theatre offers some great productions including Shakespeare on the Green in Austin Gardens. 100 block of N. Forest Ave. The season has already started and continues through August 21. www.oakparkfestival.com
8. Don’t let summer go by without a trip to Ravinia Park in Highland Park. Picnic on the lawn, eat at one of the restaurants on the grounds and enjoy the sounds of summer from big name entertainers. Drive or take the Metra North line from the city that stops inside the park. The summer season continues through September 6. www.ravinia.org.
9. Enjoy more Sounds of Summer at the Art Institute’s Sound & Vision summer music, performance and art series that keeps the museum hopping late at night with appetizers, a cash bar and entertainment in selected areas including the Modern Wing, Griffin Court and Fullerton Hall. www.artic.edu Through August 27.
10. Go to a baseball game and get a hot dog. Wrigley Field, the Cell, or in the neighborhood, baseball is part of the summer scene and should be seen at least once before the autumn leaves start to fall.
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