Summertime Chi, other than being an annually trending Instagram hashtag, is probably the best time to experience the city as either a resident or a tourist. This is not only because the weather is objectively beautiful compared to the polar vortexes we face about every other winter, but more so because the city just comes to life! As stated, the things I'm about to list are not necessarily exclusive to Chicago, but were new to me when I moved here and what makes me love the city more and more.
1. Little Book Boxes
littlefreelibrary.org has book boxes all over the country, three within a mile of my house. Over the last 2-3 years, I've saved so much money, not to mentioned, cleared an enormous amount of bookshelf space - which is saying a lot, as I own three bookshelves. A day trip to the beach involves passing on en route, which provides hours of great beach entertainment in addition to the weather.
2. Street festivals
A staple of summertime Chicago, from food, to music, to pride, to diversity, street festivals have people from all over the city come together to celebrate this and more. While the routine, layout, and procedures are fairly standard, these festivals still provide hours of entertainment as well as exposure to free performances, local vendors, and handmade goods.
3. The people
A summer edition Time Out magazine from a couple of years ago reported that Chicago has the highest level of reader to city satisfaction with 91% of Chicago readers giving the city a 10/10. While the survey results may be biased due to the fact that readers of Time Out are the most likely to be out doing city based events, it still shows how proud people are of the city they live in.
4. Work/Life Balance
Once again, this is on the residents themselves, but even just being downtown or in neighborhood spots on a weekday shows that people are out, about, and engaged. I personally frequents bars, restaurants, comedy shows, and karaoke venues on the weekdays, and while it doesn't draw as much of a crowd as a weekend may, there are still plenty of people living their best lives.
5. Dive bars
Fun Fact: Chicago was the city that founded this concept. Even though downtown has endless club options, sometimes people don't want to venture too far from home. So, going to a smaller venue, where people are more likely to know you, and you're more likely to know what to expect is preferrable. The dive bar by me has daily cheap food specials (as most do) as well as events like trivia, comedy, and karaoke. On the weekends, they have a dance floor for 80's music on Friday and more recent stuff on Saturday. Drinks are ridiculously cheap, and theres an option to dance, or have a conversation with your friends without screaming to be heard.