Chicago History Museum
1601 N. Clark St.
Chicago, IL 60614
While most people are familiar with the constant parade of large sightseeing boats cruising the Chicago River, the more intriguing waterway option that few seem to be aware of is the Chicago History Museum’s kayak tour. The museum offers a 3-hour “Paddle into the Past” tour of the Chicago River on Saturdays and Sundays (no tours July 2 & 3), as well as a “Fireworks Paddle” on July 6 and a “Sunset Paddle” on July 31. Single and tandem kayaks are available.
11411 W. 183rd St.
Orland Park, IL 60467
Sci-fi geeks will spaz out at this 18-hole miniature golf course decked out with an impressive array of space creatures, flying saucers and Hollywood alien replicas. If you’re in the area, it’s a unique destination for an outing with family & friends, particularly for a kid’s birthday party.
Paintball at Santa’s Village
Paintball Explosion Park
601 Dundee Ave.
East Dundee, IL 60118
Where else can you gather with a group of intrepid friends for hours of paintball combat among the ruins of a kiddie theme park? Paintball Explosion Park may be one-of-a-kind, but its more traditional themed war fields are impressive as well, with a fair amount of rugged nature to ensure a full day’s workout. There’s also an indoor speedball field for maximum mayhem.
Double J Riding Club
10545 W. 74th St.
Countryside, IL 60525
For something a little more genteel, you’ll find an equine option just past Midway Airport in Countryside. Double J Riding Club offers parent-child rides, summer camps, riding lessons, catered group outings and more.
Tall Ship Windy
700 E. Grand
Chicago, IL 60611
The big yachts at Navy Pier offer a comfortable and classy cruise, but the tall ships add the adventure. The Tall Ship Windy sets sail on 75-minute themed outings daily, including a “Real Pirates of the Inland Seas” sail on the lake with on-board pirates and true tales of Great Lakes piracy.
High Altitude Adrenaline
3215 E. 1969th Rd.
Ottawa, IL 61350
For the seasoned skydiver, or those looking to overcome a fear of heights in dramatic fashion, Skydive Chicago offers extreme aerial adventure at 13,500 feet. Schedule a jump, or take part in one of many July events, including “Night Jumps,” “4th of July Boogie,” “Freefly Money Meet,” “Fireworks,” and “Summerfest 2011.”
Open Air Rock-Out
Free outdoor concerts in Chicago
July is prime time for free jams under the sun and stars downtown. From Daley Plaza to Pritzker Pavilion and Grant Park, it’s hard to miss taking advantage of some of the musical offerings that make summer in the city great. Click here for a comprehensive rundown of upcoming shows.
New Hobbies With New Friends
Dabble, a new startup that launched in May in Chicago, makes it easy to follow through on the impulse to try something new. If you’ve always wanted to “dabble” in, say, photography, ballet, book binding, beer brewing, nonfiction writing, etc., but didn’t know where to start, Dabble offers affordable ($20) classes around town in a variety of pursuits. It’s a great way to get out and meet new people, too.
Greg Wahl is a Chicagoan, a freelancer, a grad student, and a seeker of all things awesome & interesting throughout the city and beyond.