Summer in Chicago: What are you looking forward to?

The 88-degree weather this past weekend was just what our family needed-healthy doses of sunshine, sidewalk chalk, and summer-like fun. I love that about Chicago; just when you think you can’t bear to spend another winter in this city, the nicer of our two seasons comes along and reminds us that summers here make it all worth it.

This year, we’re not packing the kids’ schedules with camps or classes. (Maybe just one or two, for sanity’s sake.) There’s plenty to do on any given day, and the best part about lazy summer days is, well, being lazy: the simple pleasure of being at play, all day, every day. Here’s what I’m looking forward to:

1.Family Fun Tent at Millenium Park. We go to this smorgasbord of fun every year: Wiggleworm sessions, a reading area with books aplenty, crafts, science projects, and a blocks/construction area. It’s open every day and is absolutely free.

2.Street fests. I’ve been meaning to scope out some of the hip family fests, but I’m happy with the two we always go to:Printer’s Row Lit Fest (scores of used books, vintage posters, and letterpress type-great décor for the kids room) and the Korean Festival (hot-off-the-grill galbi, traditional Korean-style wrestling matches, and the Jesse White Tumblers. Hey, why not?)

3.Mario’s. The first time my boys tasted Mario’s, they had this look on their faces as if to say all is right with the world. I love the fact that this humble “lemonade stand” brings together people from all walks of the city – all with a simple lemon ice.

4. Beach bumming. I find Foster Beach to be the most kid-friendly of the city’s free lakefront hot spots, but Oak Street Beach is just as good. We always get our beach tools in the dollar section of Target, bring a cooler, and forget the time.

5. Being outside. I’ll be honest; my favorite part about summer is hearing my 3-year-old’s tricycle rumble down the (uneven) sidewalk, laying out a blanket for an impromptu picnic, catching fireflies, running through the sprinkler, and blowing bubbles for the umpteenth time. Just enjoying every minute of the season as slowly as possible, knowing that it’ll be gone before we know it.

What’s at the top of your summer to-do list?

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