June 21st marks the official First Day of Summer! Though the Chicago weather may not always agree with us, we think it’s time to hit the beaches, patios and events around town. Here’s a roundup of a few of my favorite Summer-themed articles to help celebrate!

Free Summer Concert Guide

When summer comes to Chicago, it brings with it many good things. Not the least among them is free concerts. There are, in fact, so many free shows that it’s difficult to keep track of all the live music one can take in without spending a dime. Here’s a rundown of notable upcoming performances that are strictly free of charge (ticketed street fests, and those with “suggested donation” entry fees, have been omitted).

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Top Summer Sports Leagues

Get in shape, enjoy time outdoors and compete against your friends, this summer at one of these featured sports leagues. From volleyball to kickball, there’s something for everyone on this list!

Beach Volleyball
Oak Street Beach, North Avenue Beach, Montrose Beach

It’s a familiar sight on the lakefront path – as you pass the sands of North Ave. beach, it’s nothing but volleyball nets for what seems like a mile. Chicago Social’s volleyball has several leagues on each night of the week, all starting in the first week of June. League play is available for men, women and co-ed.

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Galena, Illinois

(credit: Galena/Jo Daviess County Convention & Visitors Bureau)

Road Trips Around Chicago

You want to load up the car, hit the highway and explore new frontiers. You get away from it all, but not too far away. But you don’t want to go without a plan, and end up like Clark Griswold in “National Lampoon’s Vacation.” So why not try out one of these Chicago road trip ideas?

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Best Places To Buy Swimwear

Swimsuit season is relatively short here in Chicago, but there is no shortage of shops selling you suits that’ll keep you looking great on the beaches. Stop in any of the shops below at the beginning of swimsuit season and you’ll have your choice of the best styles.

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(credit: Aldo)

Stylish Summer Sandals

I am getting married next summer, and as I meet with vendor after vendor, each asks me the same question. What is your style? It’s not easy to sum up the contents of my closet or the sophistication I hope my apartment achieves. One word, however, continually pops to mind: vintage. The anthropology-inspired, shabby-chic-with-a-burst-of-color style I “think” defines my clothes, accessories and residence’s furnishings can also be paraded in my footwear. So, here are five sandals (all $60 or under!) that I would buy today – if I wasn’t trying to save for my honeymoon.

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5 Picks For Outdoor Brunch

Summer in Chicago almost makes us forget about the days when we nearly lost our fingers to frostbite on a below zero afternoon (almost). It also makes us remember why we need to cherish every moment of nice weather we receive.

An outdoor brunch is the perfect opportunity to savor just those moments (however fleeting they may seem).

We know there’s hundreds out there, but here are 5 picks for outdoor brunch to try this summer.

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(credit: clipart/CBS)

Summer Safety Guide

The sun is out, the beaches are open and the kids are in their last weeks of school. To make sure this summer is a great one for you and your family, here is our guide to preventing (and treating) some of the season’s health hazards.

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(Photo Credit: Shaun Heasley/Getty Images)

4th of July Guide

For everything 4th of July in Chicago, check out the CBS 4th of July Guide. From the Taste of Chicago, to grilling tips and fireworks information, this guide has it all!

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Lauren Wulf, CBS Local Chicago