7. Spend the afternoon at Lincoln Park Zoo

Lincoln Park Zoo is a free zoo just north of the downtown area. In fact, Lincoln Park is one of the 3 remaining free zoos in the US! Although not as large as Brookfield, the zoo offers plenty of exhibits and nice views of the city. The indoor primate and lion houses are well worth the visit alone. If visiting during the winter months, do not miss out on the amazing holiday Zoo Lights spectacular.

Address: 2001 N Clark St, Chicago, IL 60614
More info on the Lincoln Park Zoo

cute pic of lion sleeping at Lincoln Park Zoo - Chicago

8. Get a rainbow cone!

A rainbow cone is a delicious 5 layer ice cream cone (chocolate, strawberry, NY Vanilla with cherries and walnuts, pistachio, and orange sherbert), and a Chicago tradition! The Original Rainbow Cone is housed in a historic pink building in Beverly, located on the Southside of Chicago – it’s worth the drive!

Address: 9233 S Western Ave, Chicago, IL 60643
More info on the Original Rainbow Cone

9. Watch the spectacular Buckingham Fountain Show

This fountain is beautiful, especially at night with the lights and music. The skyline in the background makes for an amazing backdrop for photos. I stop here every time I go downtown without getting tired of it.

Address: 301 S Columbus Dr Chicago, IL 60605
More info on Buckingham Fountain

Buckingham fountain in Chicago, Illinois

10. Attend a summer event

Chicago has no shortage of fun summer events. Taste of Chicago and free outdoor concerts are a couple of examples of popular summer events. Chicago is a lively city, especially during the summer months. You will never run out of activities, attractions, or local events!

Upcoming summer festivals

Grant Park in Chicago, IL

11. Take pics of the skyline by the Alder Planetarium

It is one of the best kept secrets in the city- the best views of the skyline can be taken by the Planetarium! The Planetarium itself is also worth a visit for the excellent exhibits and shows!

Address: 1300 S Lake Shore Dr  Chicago, IL 60605
More info on the Adler Planetarium

Skyline views from the Planetarium in Chicago

12. Shop at Water Tower Place

This 7 floor Michigan Avenue mall is just amazing. The elegant design, variety of shops, and central location on the Magnificent mile make it an ideal destination for anyone looking for an amazing city shopping destination.

Address: 835 N Michigan Ave, Chicago, IL 60611
More info on Water Tower Place

Water Tower Place Chicago

13. Catch a White Sox game

Watching a game at US Cellular field, you will come across some of the biggest fans in baseball! Locals really love their team! The field is clean and modern and the fireworks are awesome! Even if you are not a White Sox fan, you will appreciate the atmosphere and enthusiasm!

Address: 333 W 35th St, Chicago, IL 60616
White Sox tickets

14. Visit one of the best aquariums in the country

The Shedd Aquarium is amazing; I have visited several other aquariums that do not even come close! It is definitely worth a visit, especially during the summer! You can walk around outside along the Lakefront Path when you are done, head over to the Magnificent Mile for some shopping, or visit one of the nearby beaches.

Address:1200 S Lake Shore Dr  Chicago, Illinois 60605
More info on the Shedd Aquarium

The Shedd Aquarium in Chicago, Illinois

15. Ride the Ferris wheel at Navy Pier

The views from the famous Navy Pier Ferris Wheel are amazing and afterwards you can walk around the shops and restaurants. This is one of the best ways to absorb views of both Lake Michigan and the city! Cheaper than the Willis Tower skydeck, yet still amazing!

Address: 600 E Grand Ave (at Illinois St) Chicago, IL 60611
More info on Navy Pier

Navy Pier in Chicago, IL

16. Enjoy a local festival

Chicago has an abundance of festivals going on just about everywhere all summer season long. These festivals always include great food, great drinks, and great entertainment. I enjoy attending these events because I can always find a Rainbow Cone stand – one of my favorites! (see number 8 above).

17. Take advantage of seasonal outdoor concerts

Millennium Park is one of the hotspots for summer concerts, offering a series of freebies all summer long. In addition, various locations throughout the city and suburbs host concerts and festivals throughout the summer months.

Millennium Park Summer Concert Series

Milennium Park - Chicago

18. Take in stunning views from the John Hancock Observatory

The city views from this historic Magnificent Mile skyscraper are amazing! Plan your trip on a clear day for the best views! Another option is to dine in the popular Signature Room on the 95th, a fine dining restaurant located on the 95th floor, complete with panoramic views of the city.

Address: 875 N Michigan Ave 94th Fl Chicago, IL 60611

More info on the John Hancock Observatory

John Hancock Building in Chicago, IL