Summer in Chicago
You might be smack dab in the middle of America’s Midwest, but in Chicago, you are never far from the beach. Surfers and boogie boarders looking for big waves will surely prefer the beaches on America’s west coast, but swimmers and sunbathers who want to get wet without a mouthful of salt water will savour Chicago’s vast blue lake.
Beer lovers who prefer playing volleyball to building sand castles flock to Lincoln Park’s North Avenue beach. Dance-offs are not uncommon on the weekends as 20-somethings in board shorts and bikinis get down while DJs spin and bands jam at beachfront bar and grill Castaways. Shirts and shoes are optional while enjoying a Castaway’s island ice tea or mango margarita, but finding a table on the upper deck of this boathouse is not easy. Nearby Oak Street Beach features equally spectacular views of the skyline, and has a bit more space to soak up the sun or toss a Frisbee.
The more adventurous set can speed across the calm water by renting a waverunner or kayak at Montrose Beach. Afterwards, beachgoers can enjoy fresh guacamole or cool off with one of the more than 20 beers on offer at the new 3,300 square foot patio bar, The Dock.
The great American past time
Summer in Chicago is synonymous with the Cubs, the ivy-covered walls of iconic Wrigley Field and the nearly century-old tradition of infamous baseball curses. With a scoreboard that is still turned by hand, the second oldest pro baseball stadium in the country evokes a time when Babe Ruth may-or-may-not have called his shot before blasting a homer into center field in the 1932 World Series.
The Cubbies are entering their typical mid-season position toward the bottom of the National League, which is good for anyone trying to score cheap tickets. Depending on the opponent, tickets can be found for as little as $5 for a seat in the nosebleeds section. But a few extra bucks will secure you a seat among the infamously rowdy Bleacher Bums, who embody the celebratory spirit of the city with enthusiastic chanting after a few Old Style beers.
Watching a game from one of the apartment rooftops along Sheffield and Waveland avenues provides a unique perspective. These all-you-can-eat-and-drink seats, which can cost as much as $300 when the Cubs are in contention for the pennant, can currently be found for less than $100.
After days of food, festivals and fastballs, it will be a long nine months before the city heats up again.