Chicago summers are famous! We’ve compiled 10 things to do that will make your visit to Chicago great. From museums to music festivals to city tours, these downtown attractions will keep you and your family and friends entertained. Hotel Felix Chicago will be there waiting when you’re done with your big day.
1. Millennium Park Music Series
From yoga to symphony orchestras to Broadway hits to DJs, the Millennium Park Music Series offers something for everyone. Located at the Jay Pritzker Pavilion at 201 E Randolph Street, between Michigan Avenue and Columbus, it’s a great summer destination for any group, including families. Visit the Millennium Park website for the schedule and more information.
2. Chicago Blues Festival
The Chicago Blues Festival is held in Grant Park from June 13 to June 15. Headliners include Billy Boy Arnold, Bettye LaVette, and Dr. John. Admission is free – you’ll have a great time! Check out the schedule and other details here.
3. The Art Institute of Chicago
This famous museum is a must-see for visitors to Chicago. This summer, The Art Institute of Chicago features exhibits such as Ethel Stein, Master Weaver and Architecture to Scale: Stanley Tigerman and Zago Architecture, plus many, many fascinating permanent collections. Check out the museum’s calendar here, and be sure to snap a picture of the giant lion statues in front of the building!
4. Fourth of July Fireworks
Gather on July 4 at Navy Pier starting at 9:30 p.m. for the best fireworks show around! Synchronized to music, the City of Chicago goes all out with this Independence Day celebration. Visit the Navy Pier website for the entire fireworks calendar.
5. 360 CHICAGO (John Hancock Observatory)
Formerly the John Hancock Observatory, 360 CHICAGO is the city’s only open-air skyscraper deck, 1,000 feet up on the 94th floor of the building. You can see up to 80 miles out and four states on a clear day, and they’ve also added Tilt! – offering visitors a one-of-a-kind downward facing view of Chicago.
6. Taste of Chicago
Taste of Chicago is back in Grant Park this year July 9 to July 13! Performers including Aloe Blacc, Janelle Monáe, Jeff Tweedy, AWOLNATION, and Emmylou Harris will take the stage while you and your friends and family enjoy the best dishes from around the city. Admission is free, though you do have to purchase tickets for food. Visit the website for more information.
7. Chicago Air and Water Show
The Chicago Air and Water Show is the largest free show like it in the United States. Presented at North Avenue Beach on August 16 and 17 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. both days, you’ll get to see the U.S. Navy Blue Angels, the U.S. Army Parachute Team Golden Knights, and more. Get there early to get a spot in the grass – you won’t want to miss the skywriting! More information is available here.
8. Water Tower Place
Who doesn’t love shopping? Visit Water Tower Place during your trip to Chicago for shopping experiences like American Girl, Pandora, The LEGO Store, Vera Bradley, Victoria’s Secret, Swarovski and more. Visit the website for the complete directory, including dining.
9. Tuesdays on the Terrace
Also in the Water Tower area, the Museum of Contemporary Art (MCA) Chicago hosts Tuesdays on the Terrace – a free live jazz concert series on their terrace every week this summer. You can bring a blanket or rent a lawn chair for $5, and enjoy a Farmer’s Market dinner buffet created by Puck’s Café for $25 per person. There are also cash bars for drinks and lighter food options. Take a look at the featured artists on the MCA Chicago website.
10. Chicago Architecture Foundation Tours
A Chicago summer staple, Chicago Architecture Foundation boat or land tours are a great way to explore the city, whether you’re native or just visiting. River boat tours are 90 minutes long and are lead by experienced volunteer tour guides who interpret more than 50 historic Chicago buildings. Learn more about the tours and order tickets here.
Hotel Felix Chicago is located in River North, a hip neighborhood in downtown Chicago that is known for its many art galleries, restaurants, shops, and vibrant nightlife. Some of the city’s best landmarks are within a 10-minute walk from the hotel, including historic Washington Square Park and the Magnificent Mile – Chicago’s most notorious shopping strip.
Click here to make a reservation for your summer trip.