6 places to bid farewell to summer in Chicago

Is anyone else more than a little shocked that August is over and summer–arguably the best season in Chicago–is on its way out?

Make the most of the time we have left at these spots. They are the perfect places for your family to give summer a proper send-off.

Wave bye-bye at Buckingham Fountain

Buckingham Fountain is one of the largest in the world, and it’s worth a visit. You can find it in Grant Park at Columbus Drive and Congress Parkway. Beginning at 9 a.m., at the top of the hour, the water shoots 150 feet high as part of a 20 minute water display. Seeing that plume of water shoot into the blue sky with either the lake or skyline as backdrop is a summertime postcard come to life. At dusk, the lights make it super special. One of the benefits of the sun setting earlier is being able to catch the show with kiddos before bedtime.

The fountain is typically turned off around mid-October.

Bid farewell at the Cell

If baseball players are the boys of summer, catching a Chicago White Sox game is a wildly appropriate way to spend the end of summer, right? Tickets are easier to come by and more affordable than those to see the white-hot Cubs, and it gives you a chance to say you’re headed to the The Cell, officially known as U.S. Cellular Field, before the name changes to Guaranteed Rate Field in November. The Sox take on the Detroit Tigers on Labor Day afternoon.

Have a family-friendly Last Fling in Naperville

Over Labor Day weekend get in a Last Fling, thanks to the Naperville Jaycees. Head to Naper Settlement for Family Fun Land, which features kid crowd pleasers such as inflatable bouncers, pony rides, craft area and an entertainment stage. There’s also a chance on Sunday afternoon to meet Corey Fogelmanis, who plays Farkle on the Disney Channel show “Girl Meets World.”

Say so long at Chicago SummerDance

Haven’t made it to SummerDance yet? Don’t worry! There’s still time and tunes left with three free opportunities to tear up the outdoor dance floor on as a family over Labor Day weekend.

Friday night features house music and Saturday features swing music. Hour-long lessons start at 6 p.m., followed by music and dancing from 7:30-9:30 p.m. Sunday night features square dancing to music from the Golden Horse Ranch Band with dance lessons from 4-5 p.m., and music and dancing from 5-7 p.m. Head to Spirit of Music Garden in Grant Park at 601 S. Michigan Ave to join the fun.

Bid adieu at Chicago beaches

What better place to soak up the essence of summer and enjoy the sunshine than on the shores of Lake Michigan? Labor Day closes out the official beach season at Chicago’s 23 beaches. After that, the lifeguards head home.

To really mix it up, try hitting three beaches over the three days of the long weekend, Montrose Beach is a great option for families and other favorites include 12th Street Beach by the Adler Planetarium and South Shore Beach.

Close out summer with a bang at Navy Pier

One of my favorite things to do in the summer is watch little ones as they watch fireworks. Their delight is contagious. You’ve got a few chances to see the summer fireworks display at Navy Pier before they wrap up on Labor Day weekend. Catch the dazzling display on Aug. 31 at 9:30 p.m., Sept. 3 at 10:15 p.m. or Sept.10 at 8:30 p.m. After that, there’s nothing again until the Halloween fireworks.

And while you may be sad to see summer go, fear not. Fall here is pretty fabulous, too!

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