Nothing Like Summertime in Chicago

Guys and girls wearing t-shirts in front of mural

Smiling faces, brilliant sun, and humidity like you never stepped out of the shower—summertime CHI is here, and we’re not mad about it! To kick off this beautiful, sunshiny season, we took to the streets in search of our perfect Chicago-summer day. For those of you living in our fair city, you won’t be surprised we started with coffee then biked, boarded, and walked our way to dreamy picnic magic, food, and finally, a boozy afternoon of shuffleboard fun. That’s what we consider a solid summer recipe: soaking in vitamin D, moving while we feel motivated, and exploring our glorious city. Follow along for our checklist of Chicago summer adventure must-haves and must-dos.

Before heading out, we gathered our gear and dressed for the dreamy weather. Tees with prints to rival the street art? Check. We were inspired to explore by this mural on the walk-up coffee bar at Ipsento Coffee just off the 606.    

Girl wearing t-shirt in front of mural
Bike Ride” t-shirt by John Fishback
Girl wearing t-shirt in front of mural and bike racks
Beach Stack” t-shirt by Airic
Artist-designed travel mugs
Left to Right: “Outono” travel mug by Vo Maria and “Waves of Sharks” travel mug by Agimat Ni Ingkong

Before we hit the trail, we filled our travel mugs with delicious, well crafted coffee and picked our ideal picnic spot in the shade of the Blue Line. You don’t have to be a picnic pro to enjoy the fine art of a thoughtfully arranged spread. Start with the basics: a funky, yet durable, woven blanket for dry seating; water bottles to hydrate; shades, sunscreen, and hats for UV protection; lightweight, summer-inspired tees; a cooler or basket with snacks like homemade trail mix, fruit, and simple sandwiches; and a boom box for beats.    

Guys and girl having a picnic in front of the 606 trail and Blue L train
Left to Right: “OKAY” t-shirt by Tatak Waskitho, “Rainbow Sky Above Paris” t-shirt by Florent Bodart, and “Hugs” t-shirt by Billydelicious
Girl wearing t-shirt in front of 606 trail and listening to music
Rainbow Sky Above Paris” t-shirt by Florent Bodart
Guys and girls wearing t-shirts and picnicking near 606 trail
Left to Right: “Royal” trebled tank by Steve The Great, “Eyeballs and Teeth” backpack by Brian Allen, “Bike Dreams” t-shirt by Lisa Sundin, “Memento” t-shirt by Enkel Dika, and “Lisa Frankenstein” t-shirt by Dan Elijah G. Fajardo, Jen Lemasters, and Jerry Maninang

We packed up and made our way on what was once the Bloomingdale Line—walking, biking, boarding, and jamming. Bags of all kinds are welcome on our summer trips: drawstrings, backpacks, and totes. Whatever’s easy for packing and light to carry, because we had ground to cover. We followed the elevated path to our next summer spot, one we go to when the midday sun has long since peaked and it’s time to settle into patio magic.    

Women wearing t-shirts and walking on 606 trail
Left to Right: “NTNL PRKS” t-shirt by Ross Zietz and “Bike Dreams” t-shirt by Lisa Sundin
Woman wearing drawstring bag, walking on 606 trail
Summer Popsicles” drawstring bag by KORA
Guy and girl wearing shirts, biking and skateboarding on the 606 trail
Left to Right: “Let’s Summon Demons” t-shirt by Steven Rhodes and “I Love Being Around You” t-shirt by Nathan W. Pyle
Friends taking selfies in front of mural
Left to Right: “Avocardio” t-shirt by mogumogu, “Stop, Please!” phone case by Willian Richard and Tobias Fonseca and “Alegria, Alegria…” t-shirt by Dracolmagem.com

Memories made and captured, we headed to the Lido Deck of the Royal Palms Shuffleboard Club on Milwaukee. It’s a prime place to enjoy a chilled beverage and kick back on a patio, basking in the long, glorious dusk. Play a little shuffleboard while a DJ spins relaxing tunes and the Chicago skyline waxes metallic to neon sunset. Summer adventures in the city we love? Check.

Guys wearing t-shirts and hanging on the Lido Deck at Royal Palms
Left to Right: “Smile High Club” t-shirt by Katie Campbell, “Save Ducky” water bottle by Steve Ash, “Royal” snapback hat by Steve the Great and “Kawaii as F*ck” t-shirt by Vincent Trinidad
Friends wearing t-shirts, hanging on the Lido Deck at Royal Palms
Left to Right: “Avocardio” t-shirt by mogumogu and “Alegria, Alegria…” t-shirt by Dracolmagem.com
Sarah Fischer

Doting on my house plants is how I fill my time when I'm not writing, reading, running or playing with my darling cats, Evelyn and Charlie. In a past life, if any of us live more than once, I might have been a French poet or horticulturalist. Powered by: beautiful cake, morning sunlight and black coffee.