Chicago Summer Bucket List

We love being located just outside the city of Chicago. Its unique location makes for plenty of activities year round, especially in the summer. This year we wanted to gather a 2016 Bucket List of activities to enjoy with your friends and family around the Chicagoland area. There are some fun events on the calendar this year. Don’t worry we included all the information you need and the links for you to find out more information. Enjoy your summer!

  1. Formula One on Foils– For the first time in history the America’s cup is happening on a freshwater racecourse.  If you enjoy water sports and racing then this is a once in a lifetime experience to take part it.  Get ready as the best sailors race a course just off the end of Navy Pier reaching speeds of over 40 knots (46mph).  The pier will be filled with some of the world’s fastest sailboats. Do you have your viewing seats figured out? June 10-12, 2016 at Navy Pier. More information at

    Photo: Poster of the America’s Cup

  2. Dragon Style– Maybe you would rather be in the boat? Or you prefer giving back? Join the Chicago Chinatown Chamber of Commerce as they host the 16th annual Dragon Boat Race for Literacy. The event had over 10,000 visitors last year. Held at the Ping Tom Memorial Park on June 25th, 2016. More info at

    Photo: Chinatown Dragon Boat Race

  3. Grab a Bite– Enjoy lunch, dinner, or snack at the Taste of Chicago on Grant Park. A great way to try new food from all around Chicago. Food and beverage tickets will be available for purchase as the festival. Free Admission. July 6-10, 2016.  More information at
  4. Great Mac Race- Head over to the Chicago Yacht Club or any beach along the lakefront and watch as over 300 boats set sail for the 108th Annual Race to Mackinac. Starts July 23rd, 2016, racing division start between 11am and 3pm. More info at
  5. Set Sail– Since we know watching the start of the Mackinac race won’t be enough, head over to Navy Pier where the Tall Ships have returned for the first time since 2013. This year sponsored by Pepsi, Navy Pier will host 14 beautiful vessels along the pier. The 5 day festival starts July 27th. Tickets start at $10.00. Festival runs from July 27-31st, 2016. More info at

    Photo: Navy Pier

  6. Let Your Kite Soar-The Chicago Botanical Gardens is hosting their Kite Festival. Dust off your kite or learn how to make one at the kite making workshop. Admission is free, parking is a small fee.  Stop by for a day with the Chicago Fire Kite Team and watch as they do tricks with kites that you have never seen before. Take the afternoon to walk around the grounds and take in the truly beautiful gardens.  August 13-14th, 2016. 10am-3pm. More info at
  7. Take Flight Over Land or Lake– Watch the Chicago Air and Water Show at the North Ave Beach. Can be viewed along the entire lakefront from Fullerton to Oak Street. Free Admission. August 20-21, 2016 from 10am-3pm both day. More info at
  8. Take a Spin– The new Ferris wheel at Navy Pier is open. The new wheel features two-sided car for easy loading, air-conditioned cars, and a structure that withstands winds up to 115 mph.  Each car has additional capacity, an in car entertainment system, and individual seats. It is the only one of its kind in North America. Tickets start at $12.00. More info at

    Photo: Navy Pier

  9. Climb On– Enjoy the expanded Maggie Daley Park with a new 40 foot climbing wall.  Rollerblade around the Ribbon now that the ice is gone. Test your strength on one of the three new climbing sections with a total of 19,000 square feet of climbing. More info at
  10. Find Your Inner Builder– Visit the Brick by Brick exhibit at the Museum of Science and Industry.  The exhibit, by a Chicago native Adam Reed, includes a 60-foot Golden Gate Bridge LEGO replica, along with the International Space Station and Roman Colosseum.  Open through February 2017. Exhibit tickets required for admission. More info at

    Photo: MSI Brick by Brick

  11. A Night at the Park– Tired of watching movies in a dark, cold theater? Check your local park to see which films are being feature by the Chicago Park Districts’ Movie in the Park series.  With over 250 films there is something for everyone. It is a great way to visit new parks, discover neighborhoods and a great event to have a fun night out. Free admission. Movies run from June 13th-September 5th. Start times between 8-9pm. More info at
  12. Movies Under the Stars– Take a trip out of the city to enjoy the glory days of drive-in theaters. Enjoy the night sky and a double feature at the Cascade Drive In. Turn your radio to 88.5. Adults for $10.00 and Kids for $5. Now open 7 nights a week. More info at

    Photo: Cascade Drive-In

  13. Ride The 606– One of Chicago’s newest trails is actual a former elevated train line. The new path known as the 606 gives user a new perspective of the 6 neighborhoods that it connects with art installations sprinkled throughout the path. More info at
  14. U-Pick It– Make an afternoon at Pick, At Garden Patch Farms. A 30 acre u-pick farm located in Homer Glen. You can pick everything from strawberries, apples, pears, and peaches to a variety of vegetables and herbs. Don’t want to pick your own? Just stop by the Farm Market for a full store of items. Admission to the fields is $5 a person. More info at
  15. Terracotta Warriors– The Field Museum’s latest exhibit of China’s First Emperor and his Terracotta Warriors runs all summer. Take a break from the heat, grab the kids and head indoors to see this expansive and historical exhibit.  Commissioned by China’s First Emperor, Qin Shihuang, an army of terracotta warriors were made to guard over his tomb in his afterlife.  He was to be buried in a mausoleum with all of his worldly possessions surrounded by his terracotta warriors to protect him.  The exhibit is unlike any other. Researchers estimate over 8,000 warriors, most over 6 feet tall, each with unique features. Exhibit runs from March 4th to January 8, 2017. Admission requires an additional ticket. More info at



Do you have additional suggestions on things to do in and around Chicago this summer? Leave us a comment and share it with our readers.