ChicagoNow bloggers are banding together today to give our readers the best of Chicago in the Summer. We will be sharing our favorite places, events, and summer activities all around Chicagoland. Get ready to experience the most comprehensive list of summer hot spots brought to you by true Chicagoans.
I wanted to do a tween take on the theme and so I asked my daughter to tell me some of favorite Chicago places to visit, and she was happy to oblige. She lived in the city until she was 9 years old and then we moved to the suburbs. Contrary to the popularly held belief by some city residents, we did not move half way to Iowa and our family has in fact continued to take full advantage of many of the city’s offerings.
I’ve heard from many readers that their tweens are bored. One activity to keep them busy for at least a little while is to have them make a list of favorites in your city. They can make it out to be like awards and draw up ballots and ask friend and family to vote. Or keep it simple and have them draw up a list on their own. Give them some help with some fun categories. It will serve as a fun “bucket list” for the remainder of the summer, and come in handy when guests like to visit.
Fun & Frolic
My tween said she loves Millennium Park because “there’s so much to do, for everyone. The Bean is awesome. It’s really fun to see yourself and other people in it. I love playing in the water at the fountains, and it’s just pretty.” As a parent, I love that it’s free, and it is just a happy place with wonderful people watching. It’s a favorite spot to take out of town guests both for the features my tween listed but also just a less than frenetic yet still very much alive vibe. When she was younger, my tween and I loved the Family Fun Festival in the park with new activities each week and different performers every day.
The Museum of Science & Industry is what topped my tween’s list. When we visited a few months ago, it was like discovering the museum again, this time with a tween, and you can read about it here. In the summer, it’s a nice spot to beat the heat, and I love their summer brain games, too.
Molly’s Cupcakes first came to mind and my girl said, “I like everything about this place. The cupcakes are delicious and I love the swings inside.” It’s a perfect place to get in touch with your inner child. She also likes Scooter’s Frozen Custard. Scooters is just down from the Lincoln-Belmont library branch and the only thing that could make a really good book or story time sweeter was a trip to Scooters to taste the flavor of the day. We still love meeting friends here. It calls itself “Your Mom and Pop Custard Shop” and it is that approach that makes Chicago neighborhood feels like small towns, even as the Belmont bus blows past.
I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention that she also believes Garrett’s Popcorn is absolutely worth a trip, especially now that her braces are off.
Summer festivals are a huge part of family summer life in Chicago, and we used to hit a large amount of them, from Taste of Chicago to RibFest to the Square Roots Fest, but our favorite has to be BenFest. In keeping with the neighborhood theme of Chicago, my tween said she’s partial to our old neighborhood and living just a block away from the fun summer bash that is BenFest, a good time put on by the parishioners of St. Benedict Parish and help this year from July 19-21. Aside from the good friends there, I love that a church festival features the musical stylings of a group called Libido Funk Circus.
Favorite Summer Camp
Old Town School of Folk Music – The tween reports, “The four weeks I did camp there were so fun and went by so fast that it seemed like one day. The concerts any time of year are so fun.”