Summer solstice in Chicago

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    May 20, 2014

    Summer, Illinois, Myself, Outdoors, Summer Solstice

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Experiencing 2014 solstice celebrations in the windy city

June 21 marks the summer solstice in Chicago, where you can bask under the summer sun for a whopping 15 hours, 13 minutes, and 42 seconds. Because of the nature of the sun’s orbit, the days surrounding this celestial phenomenon are almost as long, just a few seconds shorter. This means late June is the time to throw on your sunglasses, slather on the sunscreen, and get ready to kick start the summer in Chi-Town.

Take a peek at our suggested summer solstice schedule for tips on making the most of the longest day of the year in Chicago this June:


Montrose Beach: Rise and shine, bright and early, to start the summer solstice as the sun rises over Lake Michigan. Montrose Beach is an excellent destination to spread out a blanket in the sand or to take to the lake on a stand-up paddleboard for a front-row spot.


Body Art Expo: Whether you’re still proudly rocking your “I Love Mom” tat or you’re looking to add to the inked mural on your back, beat the crowds and check out the Body Art Expo at the Navy Pier. Opening at 11 a.m., this 3-day event from June 20-22 will showcase more than 300 artists, exhibitors, and piercers, along with food, beer, and live music. Show off your own inked emblems in a tattoo contest, or simply marvel at the impressive body artwork at this colorful affair.

Chicago Pride Fest: Alternatively, consider rejoicing in more than just the longest day of the year and celebrate the LGBT community, too. Show your gay pride and support at the Chicago Pride Fest at the intersection of Halsted and Waveland. Here, you’ll find kaleidoscopic performances, vendors, and drag shows galore. Making merriment from 11 a.m.-10 p.m., this elaborate event invites you to relish in the dance shows, live music, and crafts and other pieces from more than 60 art vendors.



Fuel up for the day: Though many of the day’s events feature food vendors, if you’re in the mood for some sit-down food, take refuge from the summer heat in one of the city’s many restaurants. Chow down on some famous deep-dish pizza and discover the splendor of the inches-thick pie at Lou Malnati’s Pizzeria, or prepare your palate for an acclaimed Italian beef sandwich at the city’s favorite spot, Portillo’s.

Wicker Park’s Green Music Fest: For a mean, green activity that the whole family can enjoy, mosey over to Wicker Park’s Green Music Fest at high noon. Taking place June 21-22 on Damen Avenue, this eco-conscious event presents live music and local artists and vendors serving up eco-friendly foods, crafts, and services. From noon-10 p.m., nosh on organic grub, learn about solar-powered devices, and discover the benefits of diesel while rocking out to Old Honey Drums, Safe Haven, and Mike Golden & Friends on the bike-powered stage.


Jackson Park: Meanwhile, if you’re looking to celebrate this summer solstice sensation a bit more quietly, find solitude in Jackson Park. This inviting green space borders Lake Michigan and offers the perfect spot to greet the onset of summer. Breathe in the sweet smell of summertime in The Osaka Garden, and keep an eye out for the Illinois state bird, the Northern Cardinal, as you stroll through the birding trails.

Viewfinder Tip: The Chicago Cubs play the Pittsburgh Pirates at Wrigley Field on the summer solstice. First pitch is scheduled for 6:15 p.m., which means tailgating should start around 2. 

Juneway Beach: With a name like Juneway Beach, there’s no better place to indulge during this monumental day in June. Soak up the solstice sun on the sandy shores of the northernmost beach in Chicago Park District and take a dip in the lake to cool down during the early days of summer. 


The J. Parker: Top off the first day of summer with spirits and sweeping city views at The J. Parker rooftop bar. Towering above Chi-Town on the thirteenth floor of the Lincoln Hotel, this swanky bar features a voguish ambience and spectacular sunset views. Pay tribute to Ernest Hemingway and toast the summer solstice with an appropriately named signature cocktail, The Sun Also Rises.

What are your go-to spots in Chicago?

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