Nine ways to sweeten your Chicago summer


How sweet it is! There's nothing like (finally) sinking into summer. But as we all know too well, summer in Chicago is short and sweet. This year, look for ways to soak up each and every sunny day.


Sweet pea

Nothing is sweeter than a day spent in nature. Do a little pea picking this summer and show the kids that peas don't grow in grocery stores. Check out Susie's Garden Patch in Garden Prairie on U.S. 20 where you can pick your own peas, lettuce, tomatoes and strawberries. (815) 597-3011.


Sweet 16

Soak in some sweet views of the city! Dine in front of fantastic panoramic views at SIXTEEN, a Forbes Five Star Restaurant on the 16th floor of Trump International Hotel. Open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. 401 N. Wabash Ave., Chicago.


Find the sweet spot

On game days, young White Sox fans can find the sweet spot with a little help from their friends from the Chicago White Sox Training Academy. Above the left field concourse, you'll find batting swing boxes where you can pick up a few batting techniques along with other baseball pointers.


Catch a sweet ride

As seen on Cupcake Wars, food truck Sweet Ride is a mobile dining adventure that brings sweet treats to you! Known for its cupcakes and whoopie pies, Sweet Ride can be booked for block parties, festivals, even weddings. Or look for Sweet Ride in your neighborhood Tuesdays-Saturdays (just like the ice cream truck!). Check the website for its schedule. (312) 798-YUMM (9866).


Short and sweet

If you are looking to sneak in a quick date night, check out Quickies on the second Tuesday every other month, at Innertown Pub for story readings under four minutes. This is not for the longwinded: audience members have four minutes to read a story, not an excerpt, not a summary, but a full-fledged story. Can you do it? Innertown Pub, 1935 W. Thomas, Chicago.


Sweet tee

Fore! Nothing screams summer like golf. The Chicago Park District offers six courses, three driving ranges and two miniature golf courses. I love Diversey Driving Range, 141 W. Diversey Parkway, Chicago. Hit a bucket of balls or treat the family to a round of mini-golf. 7 a.m.-11 p.m. (312) 742-7929.


Sweet tooth

Go ahead and belly up to Amy's Candy Bar, a sweet little candy boutique in Lincoln Square. You'll find local artisan candy, Amy's signature sea salt caramels, even nostalgic candies that will make mom and dad feel like kids in the candy store again-Bottle Caps, Razzles, Chuckles, Charleston Chews. 4704 N. Damen, Chicago.


Revenge is sweet!

The sweet thrill of victory! Go to war with your family-paintball war, that is. Or challenge the family next door! Let loose at Paintball Explosion in East Dundee, where you'll find nine paintball war fields. You can even take the fight indoors on rainy summer days!


Sweet nothings

Don't forget to take a little time to soak up summer by doing nothing at all. Just bask in time together. Our favorite family spot? Lakefront Park in Glencoe at Park Avenue and Lake Michigan, a spot the fictional Ferris Bueller loved on his day off. I think it's the most glorious spot on the North Shore. There is even a family swing for sweet togetherness. We always pack a football and picnic blanket.


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