Long, hot summer days getting you sticky, smelly, and totally drained? Me too. That’s why I like to hibernate in the basement with the air conditioning turned to full blast, only to emerge once the sun sets. Because let me tell you, that’s when Chicagoland truly comes alive. There are endless (many free) activities to enjoy and you won’t swelter in the sun. Here are the best ways to enjoy summer nights in Chicagoland:
*Head to a drive in movie. I can’t lie, the highlight of my childhood was going to a double feature at the local drive in movie theatre and squealing with delight at “The Dancing Hot Dog” and eating my entire body weight in greasy food. I’m sad to report many drive in theatres have closed down, but McHenry Outdoor Theatre and Cascade Drive In are still around and a blast. Tip: Get there EARLY. The lines to take a step back in time are long, friends. VERY long.
*Enjoy a firework show. Clearly it’s very easy to find jaw dropping fireworks displays over the 4th of July, but what about throughout the rest of the year? That’s when you and your family should head to the newly remodeled Navy Pier and enjoy their free Wednesday and Saturday night firework shows. Try to book a nighttime boat cruise to enjoy the show away from shore, or hop on the Centennial Wheel to enjoy the show.
*Take a thrill ride at the carnival. Or simply pig out on cotton candy and funnel cake. There’s nothing like the flashing lights, loud music, and screams of joy (and terror…if you are like me!). Our favorite carnivals are Ben Fest, Frontier Days, Northbrook Days, and the Lisle Eyes to the Skies Festival.
*Cool off at some of Chicagoland’s most delicious ice cream parlors. Whether it is in a cup or a cone, it is the best way to eat the heat. And if you are able to order a flight of ice cream? HIGHLIGHT OF THE SUMMER.
*Take in some culture at one of the many park concerts across Chicagoland. Looking for the one closest to you? Simply search your town name with the phrase “park concert” and you will undoubtedly find a show within a fifteen minute drive. Our family favorite concerts at Wednesday nights at the Chicago Botanic Garden and the many concerts held through the Millennium Park Summer Music Series.