After months of frigid temps, Chicago comes alive in the summer with festivals and outdoor activities galore. As the summer starts to wind down, make the most of this wonderful weather with some fun family-friendly activities in and around the city. All of these options can easily fill a day of fun, if not more!
(Photo Credit:

(Photo Credit:

Lincoln Park Zoo
2001 N. Clark St.
Chicago, IL 60614
(312) 742-2000

Lions, tigers and bears, oh my! This free zoo may be open every day of the year, but the summer is one of the best times to see all the animals, from the monkeys swinging from branch to branch to the lazy amphibians sunning themselves outdoors. The zoo also regularly organizes fun family-friendly activities, such as “Mystery at the Zoo,” “Zoo Detectives” and “Zoo Crew.” Every day, kids can learn about taking care of the wild animals through a number of activities such as watching the zookeepers milk the cows at the farm or meeting the animals in the reptile house. Zoo entrance may be free, but there is a parking cost.

Bristol Renaissance Faire
12550 120th Ave.
Kenosha, WI 53142
(847) 395-7773

The annual Bristol Renaissance Faire is spread over 30 acres near the Illinois and Wisconsin border, and is fun for all ages. While there’s plenty of entertainment (and pub crawls) for the adults, there’s also some kid-friendly activities, including comedic acrobatics, stage magic, juggling and jousts. Games and rides will also keep the kiddos entertained, even though they’re all ‘muscle-powered’ and don’t use electricity or gas in the spirit of the Renaissance. The Faire is open Saturdays, Sundays and Labor Day through Sept. 7th, 2015.

(Photo Credit: Maggie Daley Park's Facebook)

(Photo Credit: Maggie Daley Park’s Facebook)

Maggie Daley Park
337 E. Randolph St.
Chicago, IL 60601
(312) 742-3918

Your kids’ imagination will be captured in this one-of-a-kind city park. The recently-opened Maggie Daley Park is spread over 20 acres, and includes a climbing wall, skating ribbon and tennis courts. But what will fascinate your kids the most is the unique play garden, which was inspired by Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and Alice in Wonderland. Kids can play in the “watering hole,” an animal-themed play space, swing in the “harbor,” explore the Enchanted Forest and so much more. When the family is ready for a break, enjoy your packed lunch over in the picnic grove.

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Air & Water Show
Lakefront – North Avenue Beach
Chicago, IL 60614

Chicago’s Air & Water Show is the largest free show of its kind in the U.S., but that’s not the only reason to go to this annual event. Hang out on the beach between Oak Street and Fullerton while watching the amazing demonstrations by civilian and military aircrafts, as well as boats, and parachute and diving teams. This is a weekend of fun inthe sun, and even if you can’t make it right to the beach, you can often see aircrafts return to their flight patterns from points throughout the city. In 2015, the show takes place Aug. 15-16 from 10 a.m. – 3 p.m. on both days.

Navy Pier
600 E. Grand Ave.

Chicago, IL 60611
(312) 595-5282

Take a stroll down Chicago’s Navy Pier with your family this Summer. Running the length equivalent to six city blocks, there’s plenty to do while visiting this warm weather destination. Take in some live music in the Landshark Beer Garden, jump on a boat for some city sightseeing and experience the ferris wheel before a new all-year-round one replaces it this winter. And don’t forget the fireworks! Navy Pier sets off fireworks every Wednesday and Saturday night through Labor Day weekend.

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Elizabeth SanFilippo is a freelance writer, who enjoys trying new foods from all over the world. But her favorite city for culinary treats will always be Chicago. When not blogging about food, she’s working part-time at a culinary vacation company, The International Kitchen, based in the Windy City, as well as repping Younique cosmetics and skincare products. Some of her writing can be found at