Is there anything better than a Chicago summer? We think not! It’s been one for the books so far, but make it epic by checking out Pride events, fireworks, a civil war reenactment, stage shows, exhibits and more all across town. What are you waiting for? Ready, set … go!
photo: Randolph Street Market
IN THE CITY
Back Lot Bash Baby & Family
One of the most highly anticipated events in the country geared toward lesbian pride, Back Lot Bash invites families to have their world musically rocked. Although this event that focuses on showcasing local and emergent performers in a festive, inclusive setting hasn’t always been a destination for the diapered crowed, Back Lot Baby and Family Day features activities and entertainment for even the littlest of guests. Sat., 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Cheetah Gym. $5/person; kids under 2 are free. All ages. Event details.
Bringing New LYFE to the Gold Coast
Good news! LYFE Kitchen added their 5th location to the Chicago market! Check out their newest location on the ground level of Loyola University in the Gold Coast neighborhood. Be sure to bring the kids because they have stellar options that will appease even your pickiest of eaters. Fri., 7 a.m.-9 p.m.; Sat. & Sun., 8 a.m.-9 p.m. LYFE Kitchen Gold Coast. All ages. Event details.
Get the Scoop on Sweet Home Chicago
Uncover why Chicago is known as “America’s candy capital” as the traveling exhibit, Sweet Home Chicago, makes a stop at the National Hellenic Museum. Learn how Chicago has been on the forefront of America’s candy scene since the late 1800s when the first wave of Greek immigrants made their way to the Windy City (including the story of a dad who invented Dove ice cream bars to keep his kids from chasing the ice cream truck!). Fri.-Sun., 11 a.m.-5 p.m. National Hellenic Museum. $10/adults; $7/kids; free for ages 2 & under. All ages. Event details.
Discover Math in Nature with a Mirror Maze
Discover how naturally fun math can be in a maze filled with mirrors that help kiddos unlock the beautiful symmetry of the natural world. Numbers in Nature: A Mirror Maze kicks things off with a film that presents how fractals, spirals and “golden ratio” are woven into our lives. Fri.-Sun., 9:30 a.m.-4 p.m. Museum of Science and Industry. $18/adults; $11/children 3-11. All ages. Event details.
From superheroes to undersea adventures, princesses to dinosaurs, Storytown takes you on an interactive, fully improvised adventure. The actors use audience suggestions and ideas to create a different story every week. Sat., 10:30 a.m. Stage 773. $10. Ages 3-10. Event details.
Kids Classic Cooking Series: It’s Summer!
S’mores, chocolate fondue – say no more – we’re there! Join The Kids’ Table to cook up some of the favorite recipes from their Summer Camp series. Check their website for a full menu. Sat., 10:30 a.m.-11:30 a.m. The Kids’ Table. $22.50/members, $25/non-members. Ages 4-10. Event details.
A Detective Game with Cat-titude
This interactive spy story provides the purrr-fect opportunity to show your little ones the mystery and excitement of live theatre. With the promise of pie and the smell of a rat close by, gather clues to help Three Little Kittens find their missing mittens. Fri., 10 a.m.; Sat.,10:30 a.m.; Sun., 10 a.m. Emerald City’s Little Theatre. $15; $8/children 1 & under. Ages 0-5. Event details.
Try the New Kids Menu at Blackwood BBQ
A staple for fast-casual barbecue and smoked meats, Blackwood BBQ just became a easy choice for hungry families on the go with the introduction of their new kids menu. Hit up this Lakeview favorite and you’ll find Mac n’ Cheese, Hot Diggity Dogs, ‘Cuetie Sliders and BeansNFrank. Fri. & Sat., 10:30 a.m.-midnight; Sun., 10:30 a.m.-10 p.m. Blackwood BBQ. All ages. Event details.
Engage in Improvised Fun at ComedySportz
This hilarious 90-minute improv show has two competing teams creating comedy scenes, songs and games right on the spot based on audience suggestions. The audience chooses the winner and the show never repeats. Fri., 8 p.m.; Sat., 6 p.m. & 8 p.m. ComedySportz – CSz Theater. $23-$25. All ages. Event details.
Biggest Pride Party of the Year
The oohs and ahhs will be heard from kids all of over the Pride Parade. This iconic parade draws hundreds of thousands of spectators who watch the 200+ floats, decorated vehicles, performance groups, marching bands and walking contingents. Help community organizations, individuals, business and governmental officials celebrate the LGBTQ community. Sun., noon. Starts at Broadway St. & Montrose Ave. & ends at Sheridan Dr. & Diversey Ave. Free. All ages. Event details.
Release the Butterflies!
Who doesn’t love butterflies? Experience their beauty as new butterflies are released daily at the Peggy Notebaert Museum’s Butterfly Haven exhibit. Daily, 2 p.m. Peggy Notebaert Museum. $9/adults; $6/ages 3-12; free for ages 2 & under. All ages. Event details.
Milk a Cow at Lincoln Park Zoo
Visit Farm-in-the-Zoo at Lincoln Park Zoo to see how a typical family farm combines rural life with modern technology to milk its Holstein dairy cows. Fri.-Sun., 10 a.m. & 3 p.m. Farm-in-the-Zoo at Lincoln Park Zoo. Free. All ages. Event details.
Proud to Run
Show your support by participating in this 10K and 5K lakefront run/walk focused on celebrating pride and raising funds to support the LGBTQ community. Post-race entertainment is on-hand to keep the mood light and is so fun you’ll forget you’re exercising. Participants will receive a tech shirt, participation medal and pride-themed tote. Sat., 10K starts at 8:04 a.m., 5K starts at 8:15 a.m. Montrose Harbor. $45 per walker/runner; $50 onsite registration. All ages. Event details.
See the Navy Pier Fireworks at 360 CHICAGO
Climb 94 floors above The Mag Mile to 360 CHICAGO Observation Deck to get a unique and unforgettable view of Navy Pier’s fireworks, happening every Wednesday and Saturday this summer. Sat., 10 p.m. 360 CHICAGO Observation Deck. $12/ages 12 & up; $13/ages 3-11; free for ages 2 & under. All ages. Event details.
Field Market Days at Field Museum
This summer, enjoy fresh food, live music, and lakefront views at a monthly farmers market in The Field Museum’s own backyard! Shop local produce, prepared foods, craft beer, and other goods offered by local businesses and vendors. Field Market Days will also feature local Chicago artists performing live music. Sat., 2 p.m.-6 p.m. Field Museum. Free. All ages. Event details.
Fitness at the Field
Grab a water bottle and a workout buddy for a series of free outdoor fitness classes at The Field Museum! Fitness at The Field offers a variety of group fitness classes hosted by local gyms and studios, including kickboxing, yoga and zumba. All workouts are free and healthy grab-and-go food is available for purchase. All fitness classes take place on the Museum’s Northeast Terrace and will be held under a tent in the event of rain. Sun., 8 a.m.-10 a.m. Field Museum. Free. All ages. Event details.
Race Cars in the Zoom Room
It’s a race to the finish at Zoom Room, Chicago Children’s Museum’s newest exhibit. Check out the twisting racecourse that fills an entire room with hundreds of toy cars that race on crazy tracks. Fri.-Sun., 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Chicago Children’s Museum. Included in general museum admission of $14/person. All ages. Event details.
Near West Side
Go Red, White & Cool at Randolph Street Market
Before the 4th of July festivities begin, Randolph Street Market, America’s largest and liveliest urban market will host Red, White & Cool. Perfect timing to find your 4th of July party essentials, outfit and American nostalgia! Sat. & Sun., 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Randolph Street Market. $10; free for ages 11 & under. All ages. Event details.
Hogwash: An Improvised Tall Tale
Fitting of its name, which means “nonsense”, the lack of structure of this improvised show makes it an absolute riot. Kids assist with costume selection and choose a location for the fully improvised story. Sat., 10:30 a.m.-noon. Bug House Theatre. $10/kids; free for adults. Ages 3-12. Event details.
Take the Rubik’s Cube Challenge
Do you know someone addicted to solving cubes? Professor Ernő Rubik’s brainteaser is the world’s most popular puzzle and one of the best selling toys of all time for good reason. Participants in the Rubik’s Cube Challenge can choose 3 of the following 5 cubes to solve: 2×2, 3×3, Pyraminx, Megaminx or Mirror Cube. Sat., 1 p.m.-3 p.m. Cat & Mouse Games. $5. Ages 6+. Event details.
Learn From the Best: Manchester United Coaches Camp
Convinced you’re raising the next futbol super star? Have them learn from the best by signing up for Pro United Soccer’s camp led by Manchester United coaches. They’ll spend the week learning from coaches utilizing the same core sessions and curriculum that produced some of the best players in the world – David Beckham, Ryan Giggs and Paul Scholes (just to name a few). Visit their website for camp specifics. Jun. 27-Jul. 1; daily 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Canlan Sportsplex (camps available in other locations in July). $525 (includes training shirt & lunch). Ages 8-18. Event details.
Challenger Sports’ British Soccer Camps
Spring soccer season is long gone and fall has yet to kick off, but don’t let those cleats get dusty this summer. Take some time this weekend to sign your kids up for Challenger Sports’ British Soccer Camp, where they’ll benefit from the efforts of hundreds of Challenger’s coaches who have developed one of the most innovative approaches to coaching youth soccer in the US. Week-long camps through Aug. 26. Various field locations throughout Chicagoland. Ages. 3-18. Event details.
Foodie Adventure Series
The best childhood memories come from Summer Camp, right? No need to pack your sleeping bags for this one – The Kid’s Table has you covered. Join them for their summer camp’s favorite recipes. See their website for the weekly menu. Sat., times vary. The Kids’ Table Wicker Park & Lakeview. $22.50/members, $25/non-members. Ages 4-10. Event details.
IN THE BURBS
Civil War Reenactment Weekend at Fischer Farm
On to Richmond! At Civil War Days there will be an opportunity to meet Abraham Lincoln and Sojourner Truth, to hear music, and learn what life was like for ordinary people who lived through a truly extraordinary time. There will be a rally for drill in the afternoon as well as first person presentations throughout the day. Sat., 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Fischer Farm. Free. All ages. Event details.
Model Railroad Garden: Landmarks of America
Experience the delightful sights and sounds of miniature trains traversing high and low tunnels, across bridges and around buildings at the Chicago Botanic Garden’s Model Railroad Garden. The exhibit features 18 garden-scale trains on 1,600 feet of track with vignettes of tiny people and animals that give it a storybook feel. Fri.-Mon., 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Chicago Botanic Garden. $6/adults; $4/ages 3-12; free for 2 & under. All ages. Event details.
Play with Butterflies at Chicago Botanic Garden
Come play with hundreds of colorful butterflies at the Chicago Botanic Garden’s Butterflies & Blooms. Enter the serene tropical habitat made up of beautiful flowers and hundreds of butterflies fluttering about. Sit still and they may just land on you. Fri.-Mon., 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Chicago Botanic Garden. $6/adults; $4/children 3 – 12; Children 2 & under free. All ages. Event details.
Toys: The Inside Story at Kohl Children’s Museum
Learn what makes toys tick at Kohl Children’s Museum’s newest exhibit, Toys: The Inside Story. This temporary exhibit lets visitors take a peek inside some of the most recognizable toys to examine the linkages, pulleys, cams and circuits that make them irresistibly fun. Fri. & Sat., 9:30 a.m.-5 p.m.; Sun., noon-5 p.m. Kohl Children’s Museum. $12; free for ages 11 months & under. All ages. Event details.
Ribbit! The Exhibit Hops into Morton Arboretum
This spring and summer, hop over to The Morton Arboretum for Ribbit! The Exhibit, a whimsical collection of larger-than-life copper frog sculptures. The exhibit features 19 displays of five- to seven-foot-tall frogs taking part in a variety of activities. Daily, 9 a.m.-6 p.m. Morton Arboretum. $14/adults; $9/ages 2-17. All ages. Event details.
GlowJump at Pump It Up
The only thing better than jumping at Pump it Up is glowing at Pump It Up. Kids will have the time of their lives playing in the massive inflatables with special FX lighting that makes white clothing glow in the dark. Fri., 4 p.m.-5:30 p.m. Pump It Up. $8/child (includes either a glow necklace or bracelet). Event details.
Capannari’s Concert in the Park: Zydeco Voodoo
Join Capannari Ice Cream for a Concert in the Park! Bring a picnic dinner, lawn chair and your dancing shoes for a great night of music with friends. Sun., 6 p.m.-8 p.m. Capannari’s Ice Cream. Free. All ages. Event details.
Mermaids & Pirates Event
Ahoy Matyes! You are all o’-fish-ally invited to the Pirates and Mermaid sealife adventure. Join in for games, crafts, dancing, photos & play time with Princess Ariel and a Friendly Pirate! Feel free to come dressed up as a Mermaid or Pirate and bring peanut free food. Sat., 10 am..-noon. Odyssey Play Place. $20. Ages 0-6. Event details.
Tell us how you plan to spend your weekend in the Comments below!
— Maria Chambers