You may not be ready to officially admit that lazy summer days are dwindling, it seems as though it only just begun, but that time is creeping on us. This may seem like a moment for panic, but we’re going to help you rally and organize to squeeze in every bit of sunshine and outdoor adventuring. Before you have to settle into school-year routines, read on and make memory magic with the kids.

photo: Maria Chambers

Take a Hike

The call of hanging in the urban jungle all summer long is strong, as there's no shortage of activity to fill the days. But, how about throwing in some fresh air, unforgettable scenery and wild animal spotting into the agenda? Lace up your boots, strap an infant to your back and explore our favorite hiking spots found in our story Hiking Trails Even Toddlers Will Love

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Seek Out a Street Fest

Chicago's popular street fests have been in full swing since May, but it's not too late to get in on the fun. Some favorites we'll throw your way are Jeff Fest (Aug. 2-4), Retro on Roscoe (Aug. 9-11) and Pilsen Fest (Aug. 17 & 18) in the city and Port Clinton Art Fest/Taste of Highland Park (Aug. 24 & 25) and Naperville's Last Fling (Aug. 30-Sept. 2) in the 'burbs. To read about these events and more, see our story A Family Guide to the Best Summer Festivals

photo: Maria Chambers

Go for a Jog (or Walk)

Exercise is way more fun when you do it with a pal, and your kids will be over the moon to get those legs moving with you or even just to have you there to cheer them on. Read our story Runs and Stroller Races Perfect for Kids and sign up for two of our favorites that are still up for grabs: the Stan's Donuts 5K (Aug. 10) has the added bonus of free donuts during and after the event and the Lifetime Kids Tri Chicago (Aug. 24) offers kids the chance to showcase their skills running, biking and swimming.

Explore the Chicago River

It gets less glory than our beautiful Lake Michigan, but the Chicago River has much to offer when it comes to outdoor family fun. From iconic bridges and a secret museum to exhilarating speedboat tours, we've got it all covered in Exciting Ways to Explore the Chicago River.

photo: Midnight Circus in the Parks

Let Your Imagination Soar with Midnight Circus in the Parks

Chicago’s offbeat and totally entertaining circus, Midnight Circus in the Parks, takes its act on the road, performing in parks in all corners of the city. The troupe does high-wire acts, juggling, clowning and acrobatics. It’s all for a good cause: The tour raises money to improve public parks and playgrounds. Shows start August 25 and run through October 20. Read all about the husband and wife duo who spend their summer making magic in Run Away and Join Midnight Circus in the Parks.

photo: Naperville Park District

Get the Low Down on a Cool Down

Finding a spot to float about isn’t tough with all the beautiful city beaches and community pools. In fact, you can find our favorite pools in 16 Community Pools to Dive Into Now. However, sometimes a change of scenery is in order. Better yet, something a bit rugged or off the beaten path. Our favorite swim spots, from the manmade to the naturally wonderful, can be found by reading Take a Dip! Awesome Watering Holes Near Chicago. If you're looking for a lightning-speed cool down, Water, Water, Everywhere! Spraygrounds to Drive you Wild should do the trick. 

Pitch a Tent and Take a Snooze

Grab the s’mores ingredients and flashlights: It’s camping season! There is a lot of rugged wilderness and great scenery in Chicago or within a short drive. Whether you’re looking for an adventure in the great outdoors, a jam packed schedule or a night of luxury, the camping locales in our story Best Family Campsites for Dreamy Overnights and Best Glamping Spots Close to Chicago can't be beat. 

Go Back in Time to a Renaissance Faire

Now through Labor Day, grab a sword and shout, “huzzah!” because Bristol Renaissance Faire is back for their 31st year. The full-on homage to Elizabethan England — complete with costumed characters, period music, jousting tournaments, acrobatic and comedy acts, rides, games and food — is an outdoor village set back from the highway near the Illinois/Wisconsin border. To make the most of your visit, read our story 12 Crazy-Cool Reasons to Go to Bristol Renaissance Faire.

Enjoy an Outdoor Movie

Spread your blanket at a local park or mall for a movie and a picnic! Check out our story Pick a Flick! Outdoor Movies for Summer Nights and see everything from favorite throwbacks to recently released blockbusters. 

— Maria Chambers

Cover photo via Cuncon via Pixabay

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