Summer solstice in Chicago

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    April 09, 2015

    Summer Solstice, Summer, Music, Illinois, Family, Art

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Attending concerts and festivals on the first day of summer

During the 1893 summer solstice in Chicago, Illinois, the World's Columbian Exposition unveiled the very first Ferris wheel. The superstar of the fair, this 264-foot rotating wheel was an architectural wonder built to outshine Paris’ Eiffel Tower. It transformed aerial observation and pushed architectural boundaries, placing the United States back in the engineering arena. 

This June 21, Chicagoans may have forgotten how the majestic Ferris wheel stirred up the city, but they haven’t lost sight of the significance of the summer solstice. As the first day of summer rolls in with more than 15 hours of daylight, embark on the best things to do in Chicago and soak it all up. Wake up at dawn, slap on some sunscreen, and get excited for the most supreme summer solstice in the Windy City: 

Sunrise: Set an alarm for 5:15 a.m. and wake up with the solstice sun. On second thought, set two alarms. It may be early for a weekend, but it’s the longest day of the year and you can’t miss a millisecond of it. As day breaks, head to Lake Michigan for a colorful view, and then get your caffeine buzz at the nearby Metropolis Coffee Company.  

Morning: Today’s the day when Chicago’s sidewalks becomes concert halls and storefronts transform into jam sessions. During Make Music Chicago, the city’s nooks and crannies echo with trumpet players and crooners, while parks resonate with the sounds of violin strokes and guitar strums. Turn up the volume at this all-day free event. 

Mid-day: Release your inner Rembrandt at the Gold Coast Art Fair at Grant Park. Considered the “Granddaddy of American Art Festivals,” this collection of eye candy includes paintings, sculptures, and masterpieces galore. Between speed-painting sessions and brilliant music performances, you’ll be in culture vulture heaven. The art festival will sprawl across Grant Park’s Butler Field between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. 

Afternoon: Nothing says summertime quite like a handful of peanuts and a good view of first base. Regardless of whether you’re a Chi-Town native, root for the home team as the Chicago White Sox rally against the Texas Rangers at 1:10 p.m. It’s Family Sunday at the stadium, so kid-friendly activities will be out in force, including balloonists, face painters, caricature artists, and more. 

Viewfinder Tip: The 46th Annual Chicago Pride Festival runs June 20-21, but the parade will take place on June 28.

Evening: Chicago Pride Fest is back with a vengeance. Follow the rainbow trail to Addison Street and Grace Street, where you’ll be greeted with drag shows, pet parades, and epic performances. The LBGT event will keep the good times rolling from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. 

Sunset: After concert, art show, and parade hopping, you’re probably itching for some peace and quiet. At 8:29 p.m., when the sun starts to set, find serenity at North Pond. This 1912 ice skating shelter turned restaurant serves farmers-market inspired fare and a flawless view of the city skyline. 

This solstice in Chicago, revel in the city’s art and culture scene, and if you’re feeling nostalgic for the summer of 1893, pay tribute with a ride on the ol’ Ferris wheel at Navy Pier. After a day packed with live music and art installations, rest up at one of the best hotels in Chicago. 

Here’s what you missed during the 2014 Chicago summer solstice:

-We watched the sunrise at Montrose Beach.

-The Body Art Expo hosted its tattoo and piercing event at the Navy Pier.

-Chicago Pride Fest celebrated with drag shows and concerts.

-Wicker Park’s Green Music Fest showcased an eco-friendly music event.

-We ended the day with sunset cocktails at The J. Parker rooftop bar. 

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