Chicagoans are beyond ready to hit the sunny streets clad in sandals and SPF 30. But, not all of us are meticulous planners who already have every weekend of summer 2011 accounted for. (Though if you are, hats off.) Bookmark our list to keep track of 29 of the best events and ideas for having summer fun in Chicago. If you ever find yourself plan-less, we've got you. (This makes a great list for out-of-town guests, too!) And if you know of a great event we missed, tell us in our comments. We want to be there!
1) Randolph Street Market Festival, June 25-26, and once at the end of every month at Plumber's Hall. A street fair centered around shopping? Psssh, too easy.
2) Sausagefest, June 4-5 in Lakeview. Calm down, it's a real street fair. It's also meat-centric, but still boasts typical street fair staples like Shock Top. Welcome back summer, welcome back.
3) Yoga in Millennium Park, every Saturday, June 5-September 11. Outdoor exercise doesn't have to be all about running. Everything is zen in the sunshine this summer.
4) Old Town Art Fair in Lincoln Park, June 11-12. If you ask us, strolling in the summer air while simultaneously supporting local and Midwestern artists seems like a fine way to spend a weekend. This one is great for a day with the fam, too!
5) Jellies at Shedd Aquarium, through May 28, 2012. These lil guys creep us out, but this convenient Shedd exhibit keeps us far from the sting-y parts while letting us bask in their beauty.
6) Go to the pool already! Chicago has several public parks with swimming pools. Each has designated swim times based on age, family status, etc. So, you don't have to share your lap lane with a four-year-old in arm-floaties, unless you want to.
7) Movies in the Parks, June 14-September 16. Throughout the city, parks open up their space for movies—and they’re free! We're sweet on the Grease sing-a-long in Bucktown. What’s your fave?
9) Taste of Randolph on Randolph Street, June 17-19. Bring your sun-starved, your hungry, your booze-craving masses yearning to eat cheap. Randolph Street's restos move into the street to bring you teeny tastes of their best. Delish.
10) Take a Shopwalk guided shopping tour of one of five Chicago neighborhoods. While we trust our shopping instincts completely, it would be nice to get a second opinion.
11) Eat a taco on the patio at Big Star. Okay who are we kidding, eat several. The horchata is also delicious.
12) Taste of Chicago in Grant Park, June 24-July 3. A huge, eclectic music lineup and more Chicago restaurants than you can shake a corndog on a stick at.
13) Green Music Fest in West Town, June 25-26. West Town's pride and joy, Green Music fest is always a summer street-fair must. Boasting one of the best music lineups of the summer, a $5 donation will get you in to see Yo La Tengo, Les Savy Fav, and The Thermals. Hi.
14) Watch summer reality television. Even in summer, we can use a night off every now and then. Treat yourself to takeout and prime couch positioning for some low-brow summer entertainment.
15) Fireworks at Navy Pier, July 4. The fireworks go off at Navy Pier all summer, but never on a grander scale than on the 4th. Picnic blankets and cameras are musts.
16) Walk, bike, or run along the lake. We have the world's best built-in workout trail, take advantage of it this summer.
17) Britney Spears & Nicki Minaj at the United Center, July 8. The greatest traveling pop cocktail that ever existed is coming to Chicago in July. We'll be in pink wig, trust.
18) Pitchfork Music Festival at Union Park, July 15-17. It doesn't get much better than an all-star lineup packaged into a music festival of manageable size. Sign us up.
19) Blonde Redhead at Millennium Park, July 18. Of all the free Monday night shows this summer, we aren't shy about revealing our favorite. And yours is?
20) Brunch on Lula's patio. This is a summertime classic. Go early or on a weekday and save yourself a lengthy wait where you'll have to stare at everyone's pretty cocktails and fancy pancakes.
21) Bon Iver at the Chicago Theatre, July 24. As if warm weather wasn't gift enough, we also get Justin Vernon. There is a huge sell-out risk with this one, so grabbing your tickets in June is the perfect insurance policy.
23) Lollapalooza in Grant Park, August 5-7. Toss on a onesie and some feathers and for heaven's sake hydrate.
24) Befriend someone with a boat. A little excursion on the lake doesn't sound half-bad, does it? Email us, wink wink.
25) Chicago Air & Water Show, August 20-21. We stipulate that this is best enjoyed from a downtown or Gold Coast rooftop. Send us pix, k?
26) People watch in Wicker Park. A blanket, a book, maybe a dog or two. This is bliss.
27) Body Worlds & the Cycle of Life at the Museum of Science and Industry, March 18-September 5. Museum exhibits are activities you save for a rainy day. We'll have rainy days this summer (eye roll), so keep this one in mind.
29) Chicago Jazz Festival, September 1-4. Not all amazing music is played by ratty T-shirt-clad hipsters. Expand your sonic horizons and enjoy one of the festivals Chicago is known for.