By Melanie Falina

Although the actual first day of summer isn’t until Tuesday, June 20 this year, for many the honorary beginning of summer is actually Memorial Day weekend.

And one of the great things about summer in the city of Chicago is that there’s always a plethora of things going on – and particularly on holiday weekends. So regardless of how you like to celebrate with friends and those you love, there’s something for everyone going on during Memorial Day weekend to honor those who gave their lives for our way of life, and to celebrate the beginning of the summer season

Chicago Memorial Day Parade
Richard J. Daley Center
50 W. Washington St.
(312) 744-5000
www.cityofchicago.org

Honoring those who have sacrificed all in defense of our country since 1870 in Chicago, the Chicago Memorial Day Parade will take place on Saturday, May 27 this year. Beginning with the Wreath Laying Ceremony at the Eternal Flame on Daley Plaza at 11 a.m., then the parade steps off at noon. Marching south on State Street from Lake Street all the way over to Van Buren Street, come join the City of Chicago as it pays homage to the men and women who died protecting the U.S. and our way of life. The Chicago Memorial Day Parade is also a great place to celebrate the beginning of the summer-season in the Windy City as well.

2017 Beach Season
Chicago’s Beaches
(312) 742-BEACH
www.cpdbeaches.com

If you’re a Chicagoan who’s missed being able to dip your toes back in the sand, then Memorial Day weekend is the time to start dipping again. Beginning on Friday, May 26, the 2017 Chicago Beach Season will be underway and with a full summer’s worth of days under the sun’s rays to warm everyone’s hearts. With 26 miles of sandy lakefront – 27 beaches, in total – there’s a special spot out there just waiting for blankets, beach balls, and you and your loved ones. And as always, there’s a full lineup of great activities to enjoy on Chicago’s lakefront as well, from the Wednesday and Saturday night firework shows from Navy Pier to the 59th Annual Chicago Air and Water Show in August, and so much more.

Bike The Drive
Lake Shore Drive
www.bikethedrive.org

Everyone has zoomed down Lake Shore Drive in Chicago at one time or another and realized how stunning the views are of both Lake Michigan and Chicago's iconic skyline – but the sights are difficult to truly appreciate while navigating traffic, and there's always traffic on Lake Shore Drive. But there is one day a year where LSD gets closed down to normal car traffic allowing for a leisurely bike ride on the drive and it's happening this year during Memorial Day weekend. On Sunday, May 29, Bike the Drive is happening – the annual event and fundraiser that benefits the Active Transportation Alliance's work to improve biking, walking, and transit, and for a few glorious morning hours on the lakefront turns a historic highway into a pretty awesome bike-path. Bike from from Bryn Mawr Avenue all the way south to the Museum of Science industry, and then back again if you so choose – there are five designated hours of car-free riding just waiting for you and the entire family.

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Belmont-Sheffield Music Festival
Sheffield Avenue from Belmont to Roscoe
(773) 584-6638
www.chicagoevents.com

For more than three decades now, one of the integral events to celebrate summer in Chicago is at the Belmont-Sheffield Music Festival. Now in it’s 33rd year, one of the Windy City’s favorite street parties will kick off this year on Saturday, May 27 and run through Sunday May 28. Taking place along Sheffield Avenue between Belmont and Roscoe, from noon to 10 p.m. both days, the Belmont-Sheffield Music Festival will once again present the areas best-loved bands and DJs, tons of delicious food, arts and crafts, and all the great elements of summer in the city.

Jurassic World: The Exhibition
Field Museum of Natural History
1400 S. Lake Shore Drive
(312) 922-9410
www.fieldmuseum.org

If you’ve enjoyed the movies that entertain the idea of walking among dinosaurs, then you’re going to love actually being able to do it yourself. Beginning just prior to Memorial Day weekend on May 26, the Field Museum of Natural History will be hosting the epic Jurassic World: The Exhibition. Based on the blockbuster movies, Jurassic World: The Exhibition was created with the help of renowned paleontologist Jack Horner, and brings dinosaurs to life right before audience’s eyes. The interactive exhibit guides humans of all ages on a journey and gets them up close and personal with the majestic creatures of the past like the Velociraptor, the Brachiosaurus, the infamous Tyrannosaurus rex, and more.

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