6 thrilling ways to celebrate the end of summer

The number of summer days may be dwindling, but it’s not over yet. Make the most of the warm days with these ways to enjoy last-minute summer fun as a family in Chicago and beyond.


If you want a fun food festival, head to the Logan Square Food Truck Social this weekend.


This festival makes tummies of all ages happy with taste treats including empanadas, pierogis, donuts, noodles, lobster and more culinary delights. The focus is on food, music and family-friendly fun. Good folks from the Shedd Aquarium will be there with a pop-up gallery and art making on Saturday. Older kids can burn off some energy at the Peloton bike station. Dogs on leashes are permitted. The 606 Trail is at Bloomingdale and Humboldt, a great place for a walk to ward off food coma.


August 24-26, hours vary, $5 donation suggested, Humboldt Boulevard between Armitage and Bloomingdale in Chicago


If you and your littles are looking to get your groove on, don’t miss SummerDance Celebration.


Chicago SummerDance has been around for 22 years because it’s free, fun and appeals to all ages. The season culminates in the SummerDance Celebration in Millennium Park that welcomes attendees of all ages and dance abilities. There are lessons in many kinds of dance, from Bollywood to line dancing to samba, as well as many performances if watching is more your speed.


August 25, 12-9 p.m., free, Millennium Park in Chicago


For family adventure, go troll hunting at the Morton Arboretum.


If you haven’t yet checked out the large trolls hiding among the trees at the Morton Arboretum, there’s still time! While they’re here through the end of the year, it’s a great way to spend a warm day. The Children’s Garden features Nature’s Instruments, a self-guided activity offered in August. If you’ve already been troll hunting, head back and check out a family explorer’s backpack from the Visitor Center. Intended for families with kids ages 2-6, they’re full of science tools, guides and fun props designed to help your family explore nature.


Every day, 7 a.m. – sunset, Adults $15, Children 2-17 $10 (Wednesdays are discount days), 4100 Rt. 53, Lisle


For a fun evening event for adults, head to Jazzin’ at the Shedd.


With the stunning view of the city at sunset, great music, adult beverages and aquatic life, Jazzin’ at the Shedd features all the great elements of summer. It’s a great option for date night or girls’ night out. If your schedule is packed or you’re holding out for cooler weather, you’re in luck. Jazzin’ at the Shedd has an extended season and these weekly events will continue into October.


If you want to send summer off with a splash, swim on over to Raging Waves.


Water parks are synonymous with summer. West of Chicago you’ll find Illinois’ largest water park. It has an Australian theme and Quokka-Nut Island (named for marsupials that live on Rottnest Island) is a new space for littles. The Three Sisters slide is also new. Parents who have run themselves ragged this summer can enjoy a relaxing float on the quarter-mile long lazy river. (If you aren’t up for a drive to the suburbs, check out the many beaches in Chicago. They’re staffed with lifeguards from 11 a.m. – 7 p.m. for swimming through Labor Day.)


Open Aug. 25-26, admission varies from $13.99 – $32.99 to based on height, age and time of entry but is free for kids 2 and under, Sept. 1-3, 10 a.m. – 6 p.m., 4000 N. Bridge St., Yorkville


Go out with a bang at the Navy Pier Summer Fireworks.


Bid summer farewell with some final oohs and aahs as you watch the last Navy Pier Summer Fireworks. The beautiful display is synchronized to music.


Wednesday at 9:30 p.m. and Saturdays at 10:15 p.m., last show on Sept. 1, free, Navy Pier, 600 E. Grand Ave., Chicago


Follow Shannan on her blog, Between Us Parents


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