Seven cool summer treats and retreats in Chicago

Seven cool summer treats and retreats in Chicago
Photo: Carole Kuhrt-Brewer

If you’re starting to feel the heat of the Chicago summer that you could only dream about in January, here are seven ways to keep your cool.

A Tiki Barsummerlostlakechicago-lost-lake-paul-mcgee-crdt-matthew-gilson

Embrace the tropics in Chicago while cooling off with a Stranger in Paradise–a potent mix of of rhum agricole, tequila and absinthe– at Logan Square’s hip Lost Lake Tiki Bar.

The Sheddshedd4seaotter

Jutting out onto Lake Michigan, The Shedd Aquarium is the perfect summer escape. Walk the dark cool interior and observe over  32,000 sea creatures from baby sea otters to giant whales. On Wednesday evenings you can hit the lakeside terrace for Jazzin’ at the Shedd (now through September 14).

The Riverwalk

Photo: Carole Kuhrt-Brewer

Photo: Carole Kuhrt-Brewer

The Riverwalk, literally steps away from the Chicago River offers a host of dining, drinking, walking, running and sitting experiences plus a line-up of boats from the water taxi that stops on the Riverwalk at LaSalle to the fab First Lady Architectural Cruises that dock on the south side of the river just east of Michigan Avenue.


The riverside patio at Pinstripes. Photo: Carole Kuhrt-Brewer

The riverside patio at Pinstripes. Photo: Carole Kuhrt-Brewer

Although there are other locations, my favorite Pinstripes is the one just east of Columbus on the river (435 East Illinois Street). You can eat,bowl and play bocce all in deliciously cool air conditioning–but if you get the urge to go outside, you can head to their inviting riverside patio.

The East End of Navy Pier

Looking east from above on Navy Pier. Photo: Carole Kuhrt-Brewer

Looking east from above on Navy Pier. Photo: Carole Kuhrt-Brewer

For whatever reason, the hustle and bustle of Navy Pier is usually a little less so at the east end of Navy Pier. Situated nearly 3/4 mile out on the lake, it is also a good place to catch a breeze. The new Navy Pier Ferris Wheel offers another spot to cool off with its air conditioned gondolas–at least for the 12 to 15 minute duration of the ride.

The Original Rainbow Conerainbowcone1

Treat yourself to a Chicago original,The Original Rainbow Cone. Enjoyed by generations the ice cream treat is available at the historic pink building on Chicago’s southside at 9233 S. Western or the new satellite location that openned this year on Navy Pier.

Cafe Brauersummerpatio_brauer_cropped

Another Chicago original is the Patio at Cafe Brauer, perhaps the best place in Chicago for al fresco dining, that overlooks the Boardwalk at Lincoln Park. The menu features chicken quesadillas, a hummus trio, fresh salads, flatbread pizzas, craft beers, wine an spirits.  2021 N Stockton Dr,

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