It’s officially June people. Regardless of curveballs in the weather it’s time to act like Summer is here. Now I know everyone has family gatherings, a million weddings, Cubs/Sox games, BBQ’s and such, not to mention The Stanley Cup Finals, but I am here to offer some other to-do’s for the summer that might interest you and maybe spice up your usual routine. Ok let’s get started….
1. The 606: This is the highly anticipated city project that you may have formerly known as just the Bloomingdale Trail. It is set to open on June 6 & 7 with music, art, beer, food vendors, a bunch of other activities and bike processions throughout the day. I’m interested to see what they’ve done since the time @themidsis and I navigated the glass-encrusted and abandoned railroad track years ago. *Free – unless you count all the taxes.
2. Movies in the Parks: Over 240 screenings of movies will be shown in parks across the Chicagoland area for the next 3 months free of charge, so check their site and see what’s playing and where. Some of you guys have trouble stomaching picnicking for the sake of picnicking? Yeah I know. Having a huge movie screen in front of you might ease your pain. Maybe because I’m a movie nerd (or just all-around nerd) – but I look forward to going to a few each year. See you at Anchorman on July 27 and/or The Sandlot on Aug 5.
3. RibFest (June 12 – 14): What’s better than being sweaty and in a crowd? Having tasty barbecue sauce all over your face while doing just that. And if you like ribs in all forms it’s worth it. Try ribs from a ton of different places, along with other foods, booze, and live music. Did you hear that? R-I-B-S.
4. Get on a Kayak: There are many opportunities for us city folk to show that we have a cool outdoorsy side (or in my case – pretend), and this is one of the best ways to do so. There are several companies around, like Urban Kayaks and Kayak Chicago that offer river or lake tours. Plus it counts as a workout you don’t have to force yourself to do. Actually, you’ll be sore as hell and you might even want to do it again or you’ll hate me for suggesting it.
5. World Naked Bike Ride (June 13): Here’s your chance to be one of those naked hippies you see riding around every year if you aren’t already are one. This free and clothing-optional bike ride draws hundreds of people to Eckhart Park and they don’t find out the route until the day of. If you really want to liberate yourself then go nuts. From their website: “Due to legal restrictions in Chicago, full frontal nudity is at your own risk.” I’ll have bail money ready for you, @thesecondsister.
6. Green Music Fest (June 20 & 21): Remember all that music fest talk in my last post? Well I told you there are a lot more out there. This one sounds like a fest our very own @thenumberonesis would have created in her dreams – one that celebrates environmental sustainability! I’ve never been or heard of it, but it’s in the heart of Wicker Park. Yo La Tengo and Dinosaur Jr. are among the list of notable acts. Oh and at least one stage is powered by audience members who have to pedal on stationary bikes. I swear I’m not joking. And there’s probably a lot of other weird shit going on. I think I will have to see this.
7. Bad TV Show: Come on – no summer is complete without at least one really bad tv show on those nights when you want to give the outside the middle finger and just want to make love to your couch. I remember how the first season of Jersey Shore changed my life (for the worse) that one summer. Or how I have easily wasted hours of my life that I can never get back on watching Wipeout. What shall we take on this year? I’m at a loss right now for something really terrible and need your help. If you can offer some bad TV recommendations in the comment section below I would greatly appreciate it. We all need this.
8. Good TV Show: There must be balance. For my money it will be True Detective Season 2 (debuts June 21). But given that it’s another short 8-episode season I will need something else. Ballers attempts to fill the void on HBO left behind by Entourage. Then of course there is Orange Is The New Black Season 3, which some might just binge watch the entire weekend of June 12.
9. Let’s Race: Ok it’s time to get off the f-ing couch now. If you’re like me then you may need to sign up for stuff and pay money to get yourself to do something active. There are a plenty of races in Chicago ranging from 5k and 10k charity runs to half marathons and triathlons to help you do just that. Take your pick of entertaining 5k runs like The Color Run on June 7 or the Burgers and Beer 5k on July 13th. If you’re feeling really motivated then go nuts at the Spartan Race (Aug 15 & 16).
10. “I’m on a Boat!”: Know that if you want to have a boat party of your own without actually owning a boat of your own then there is still hope for you. Island Party Boat offers a variety of tiki bar themed boat rentals ranging from 10 capacity to 36 person capacity. They are equipped with a bar, coolers, a shit ton of speakers, private bathrooms, sundeck, and a freshly waxed waterslide for your drunk ass. Let’s face it – this could be a pain in the ass for someone to plan (me), but if successful it could be a real good time. And all this mess (possibly puke) is done on someone else’s boat that isn’t yours to worry about.
11. Food Crawl: Now this is a choose-your-own-adventure experience. Do you ever have a day where you don’t know what to do but you know you want to eat your face off? Rather than picking one spot to go, just hit a neighborhood and crawl around eating a little (and probably drinking a little more) at each place. It would be a little cooler if you went to a neighborhood you aren’t as well-versed in. Andersonville for example has a ton of good spots up and down Clark Ave. You could spend a whole day eating and drinking well at places like Hopleaf, Big Jones, Anteprima, Ombra, and Swedish Bakery. After your food coma maybe you’ll remember where the hell you were so you could go back.
12. Art: Go see some. Museum of Contemporary Art and The Art Institute (especially the outdoor surrounding pieces) are always good. Chicago-born artist/sculptor Charles Ray will also have an exhibit in The Modern Wing all summer. There are also many smaller galleries in Chicago such as the Corbett vs. Dempsey in Wicker Park or The Renaissance Society in Hyde Park. Or simply walk around and admire the street art of neighborhoods like Pilsen, West Loop, Logan Square. If you want to tap into something a little more raw like then follow the Rescue or Destroy events held by Chicago artist Allen Vandever where the people decide the fate of various works of art. The Navy Pier Art Expo is also an absolute must for modern art fans (Sep 17 – 20).
13. Help Someone Dammit: Another choose-your-own-adventure. In case you haven’t done it in a while, try to go out of your way to do something good rather than just eating and drinking your way through the summer. This could simply mean you help a friend move or build something for someone or do some work that you necessarily wouldn’t enjoy but will really help another person out. Another option is to make it official and check out the city’s initiative – One Good Deed Chicago. Through their interface you will find many opportunities to make a contribution. High Five.
14. Leave Chicago: Yeah, get the F$#% out. We all know the summer is good in the city but too much of a good thing is sometimes too much. When you find yourself swimming in a sea of street fests and planned events it’s best to look outside the city wall for an escape. Take a friend up on their offer to come out to the lake house or rent one yourself. Unless this becomes the plot for your own real-life slasher movie, you’ll be happy you did. Then you can go back to appreciating summer in Chi.
15. Flyboard: I’ve been meaning to do this myself. No chance it will be as easy as the videos make it seem, but still willing to give it a shot. If you go to 31st harbor you can rent one of these puppies and get lessons through Chicago Jet Ski Rentals. You will be fixed into a pair of jet boots on a wake-board with hand-held stabilizers and then water propulsion sends you flying up to 40 feet in the air. With some practice it seems you are then able to execute some insane dolphin dives.
16. Eat from a Truck: Food Trucks are still going full force in the city. Keep an eye out for them or find where they are with this locator. Or hit them en mass at The Pilsen Food Truck Social on June 6 & 7 or at the Chicago Food Truck Fest at U.S. Cellular Field June 27 & 28. Pace yourself people.
17. “Get to the Chopper!!”: In this case you won’t be escaping the jungle from a Predator, but seeing your city like you’ve never seen before. This may seem extremely touristy but if you check out the site it actually looks pretty cool. Choose from daytime, twilight, or nighttime rides ranging from $128 per person to $178. You would most definitely get some badass pictures.
18. Booze Your Face Off: I’m sure a lot of people don’t need lessons on this. But there are some more creative ways to get this done nowadays in and around our city. Get over to Lagunitas or Revolution Brewing one afternoon or take a day trip out to Three Floyds in Indiana or Two Brothers in Warrenville. There are also local distilleries like Koval and CH Distillery or you can venture a little farther to FEW Spirits in Evanston. Shit – I might need another post just to cover all of these as there are many more. Stay tuned.
19. Go Public: Chicago has a ton of outdoor public pools, so you might as well take advantage. California Park offers a 50yd 6-lane pool that has lap swim 7 days a week. Then there is Hamlin Park’s pool nestled in Roscoe Village or go see my friend George at Holstein Park Pool in Bucktown. Union Park at the edge of the West Loop offers a nice way to take a dip as well.
20. Do Nothing: Some of us are better at this than others. I really have my moments. But there’s something to be said about just sitting back at the home base……and doing……NOTHING.
Enjoy your summer. See you around.
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