By Marissa Parra

CHICAGO (CBS) — The summer heat is here in full swing, and the timing couldn’t be better, just days before Chicago is set to fully re-open.

CBS 2’s Marissa Parra reports lot of people are hitting the beach this weekend, for the first time in a long time.

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Chicago beaches officially opened last weekend, but let’s be honest, the chilly and windy conditions didn’t feel like beach weather. Saturday’s hot and sunny weather felt like the unofficial start to beach season.

This made for the first full week that Chicago beaches have been open and visitors have been allowed to step on the sand since September of 2019.

At the iconic “Bongo Beach,” otherwise known as 63rd Street Beach, it was packed on a scorching hot and sunny day, when Lake Michigan offered a nice frigid balance, with water temperatures still in the 50s.

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After the city’s beaches were closed for more than a year because of the pandemic, the return of crowds is bringing good business to the restaurants and food stands nearby.

Some people visiting the lakefront on Saturday said it was their first time at a beach in years

“It feels quite warm, kind of humid, but the sun is magnificent. So I’m glad to be alive, and enjoying life,” Jacquelyn Davis said.

“I didn’t think there would be so many people out here. I was like, ‘Wow, all these people, where did they come from?’” Lemuel Alexander said.

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Between the scorching heat and the crowds, consider this the unofficial start to beach season.