June is bustin’ out all over.
It’s June and that can only mean one thing– the gateway to summer is here! Memorial Day Weekend has come and gone, giving Chicago its first taste of summer festivities. There’s plenty more where that came from. From exhilarating interactive experiences to aquatic adventures, here are some of the best things to do this June in the Windy City.
1. Celebrate Pride Month!
First of all, this month is dedicated to celebrating our wonderful LGBTQ+ community. Pride Month is celebrated each year in June to honor the 1969 Stonewall Uprising in Manhattan, a tipping point for the Gay Liberation Movement in the United States. Today the country celebrates with pride parades, picnics, parties, concerts, and much more. Take time this June to explore all the amazing things the local LGBTQ+ community has done and continues to do throughout the month, and support them!
2. Revel in the world of Stranger Things
Hop on your bikes, mouthbreathers! The mysterious world of Hawkins is coming to life this summer! After an acclaimed debut in NYC and LA, Netflix’s first official Stranger Things pop-up store finally landed in the Chicago area! An interactive experience inspired by the cult TV sensation is waiting to be discovered, and who better to explore it than you?
3. Check out the interactive multisensory ‘Prince’ experience
Music lovers, casual fans, and superfans of legendary musician Prince can rejoice in the dynamic, multisensory, first-of-its-kind immersive experience, making its worldwide debut in Chicago from June 9 to October 9.
Superfly and The Prince Estate are collaborating to present Prince: The Immersive Experience, a multi-faceted musical universe revolving around the iconic artist, inviting guests to be completely immersed in the exhilarating, singular talent of a superstar who brought us hits like “When Doves Cry,” “Raspberry Beret,” and “Purple Rain.”
Grab tickets the world debut of Prince: The Immersive Experience here!
4. Attend the Queen’s Ball
Your presence is requested at the most exclusive ball of the season! This immersive Regency-era ball opened in Chicago on April 20th and now is your chance to secure your invitation and wait to be transported to England’s Regency era with stunning decor and period costumes.
Prepare to mingle with other members of the Ton as you sip on cocktails and partake in an evening of music and dance. Rumour has it that Her Majesty Queen Charlotte is looking for the diamond of the season, but will you be the one to win her favor?
Grab tickets to the Queen’s Ball here.
5. See Morton Arboretum’s new enormous sculpture additions
After opening last year, the Morton Arboretum’s arbor-inspired exhibition ‘Human + Nature‘ has been a huge success featuring five breathtaking sculptures by renowned multi-disciplinary South African artist Daniel Popper. While Popper’s work has featured at numerous hit music festivals around the world, Human+Nature is the largest exhibition of Popper’s work to date.
The five 15 to 26-foot-tall sculptures were crafted exclusively for the Arboretum and placed in various locations across its 1,700-acres leading guests to areas they may not have explored before. On June 17th the Arboretum will add three brand-new sculptures to the mix, bringing the grand total to 8 gigantic arbor-inspired creations.
Find out more information here.
6. Catch a weekly Navy Pier firework show
Navy Pier kicked off its summer programming on Memorial Day Weekend with a superb summer firework show completely free of charge. Throughout June there will be firework displays every Saturday at 10 pm and every Wednesday at 9 pm through Labor Day weekend with the first Wednesday firework display taking place on June 1st.
Onlookers can find a spot anywhere on the pier to take in the dazzling display completely free of charge. According to the Navy Pier website, there will be accompanying soundtracks featuring dramatic and popular music.
7-9. Hop on a memorial weekend booze cruise
If you’re a firework fanatic and want to experience the displays in style whilst also creating memories, the Fireworks Booze Cruise! is the perfect way to make it an unforgettable evening. Enjoy a live DJ set spinning the best Top 40, EDM, and hip-hop hits whilst taking in breathtaking views of Chicago’s architecture and the sunset before being treated to unobstructed views of the Navy Piers Fireworks show from the waters of Lake Michigan!
Of course, there are multiple ways to celebrate the warmer weather with many booze cruises taking place this summer. Float down the Chicago River admiring the views provided by Chicago and the sounds provided by DJ Tecknique at both Sunset Thursday Booze Cruises and Sunday Funday Booze Cruises.
Grab tickets to a Fireworks Booze Cruise here.
Grab tickets to a Sunset Thursday Booze Cruise here.
Grab tickets to the Sunday Funday Booze Cruise here.
10. Kayak down the Chicago river
Another unforgettable activity on the water can be enjoyed courtesy of Urban Kayaks. After shutting down for the winter season, Urban Kayaks have reopened their Riverwalk and Monroe Harbour locations kicking off the spring and summer seasons of kayaking.
Whether you’re down by Chicago Riverwalk flanked on either side by the city’s famous highrise architecture or taking in the skyline from the protected waters of Monroe Harbour, kayaking in Chicago is a truly unforgettable activity.
11. See the spring schedule of Art on the MART
A truly unique June evening can be had combining kayaking with the Art on the MART projections. One of the lights at the end of the tunnel every year comes in the form of artistic projections on the 2.5-acre river-façade of the Merchandise Mart. During winter Chicago goes several months without the stunning art spectacles but now after some spellbinding displays last year, the Art on the MART projections have returned for its 2022 run.
This time the new program features two climate change-themed projections presented in partnership with Shedd Aquarium. Art On The MART fires up all 34 digital projectors on the 25-story-tall face of the Merchandise Mart for two 30-minute shows each night at 8:30 pm and 9 pm through June 29.
12. Unleash your inner artist at a Spray ‘N’ Sip urban art workshop
If Art on the MART has your creative juices flowing there’s no better place to let your inner artist run wild than at Chicago’s incredible BYOB Urban Art Workshops.
Taking place weekly within Studio W.I.P. at The Chicago Kedzie Plaza, there’s no pressure and no presumptions, just creativity and fun flowing in all forms. Trained professional artists will teach you the tricks of the trade as unleash your inner artist on a mural with your favorite drink in one hand and a spray can in the other.
Grab your tickets to a Spray Paint ‘n’ Sip Urban Art Workshop here.
13-17. Be captivated by a Candlelight Concert
Chicago’s sublime Candlelight Concert series offers breathtaking spectacles throughout the year but this June there are some extra special concerts taking place in extraordinary venues all over the city. Flickering candles and melodic sounds combine phenomenally to create magnetic atmospheres in some of Chicago’s most unique spaces with surreal acoustics. Here are some of our favorite festive concerts taking place this month:
- Candlelight: Latin Jazz Tribute to Celia Cruz, Tito Puente and More at Salvage One
- Candlelight: From Bach to The Beatles at the South Shore Cultural Center
- Candlelight Open Air: Mozart’s Requiem at Artifact Events’ Courtyard
- Candlelight Gospel: “Amazing Grace”, “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough” and Much More at Wicker Park Lutheran Church
- Candlelight Ballet: Featuring Tchaikovsky and More at Oak Park’s Free Church
See the full list of candlelight concerts taking place in Chicago here.
18. Enjoy an intimate live jazz show at Le Piano
When it comes to live music, few places offer a better jazz experience than Chicago. There are so many wonderful places to see live jazz in its rawest form here in the Windy City. Alongside esteemed venues like South Loop’s The Jazz Showcase, and Uptown’s Green Mill Cocktail Lounge, Le Piano has emerged as a phenomenal new jazz hideout.
In the middle of Le Piano sits a magnificent grand piano where some of Chicago’s most talented pianists and jazz performers come to play. Here you will find a mind-blowing musical experience merging dinner and intimate performances. Immersive Live Jazz & Dinner for Two and Immersive Live Jazz & Cocktails both ensure memorable nights of dining, drinking, and the magic of jazz in a truly vivacious venue.
Grab tickets for Immersive Live Jazz & Dinner for Two here and Immersive Live Jazz & Cocktails here.
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19. Revel in the pandemonium of a Drunk Shakespeare show
Another brilliant experience comes in the form of a live Drunk Shakespeare show. Taking place on a stage in a hidden speakeasy located behind the Chicago Theater, guests will find a glam cocktail bar and library with over 10,000 books. Five classically-trained actors meet as members of “The Drunk Shakespeare Society”. One of them has had at least 5 shots of whiskey and then they (quite over-confidently) attempt to perform a major role in a Shakespearean play! Hilarity and mayhem ensue while the four sober actors try and keep the script on track. Every show is different depending on who is drinking… and what they’re drinking!
Grab tickets to a Drunk Shakespeare show here.
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24. Chuckle away at Chicago comedy show
We could all do with a chuckle with the tumultuous years we’ve had and luckily there’s no place better for that than at a Chicago comedy show. At Laugh Factory Chicago some of today’s biggest names and local comedians are delivering something for every taste and style throughout June. You’ll also find a variety of the city’s best comedians every Tuesday at Shady Babies Comedy Showcase.
Grab tickets to a show at Laugh Factory Chicago here.
Grab tickets to a show at Shady Babies Comedy Showcase here.
25. Check out a one-of-a-kind live magic show
If magic is your thing prepare to have your mind blown at Trickery & Distillery! From actor and producer Jonathan Sadowski and world-renowned card magician Jason Ladanye comes a one-of-a-kind live theater show. Stroll through the luxurious space, enjoy the sounds of live blues and sip on some delicious craft cocktails before a strolling magician performs close-up magic for you and your friends.
After an hour of socializing and entertainment, take your seat around a card table where the lights will dim and Jason Ladanye will share how he learned to become the best card cheat around. Get your tickets for an unforgettable evening of jaw-dropping magic!You can grab tickets to Trickery & Distillery here!
26. Kick back with goats and beer
Some days you just need some one-on-one time with a pasture full of adorable goats, you know? Experience the pinnacle of wholesomeness by hanging out with the billy kids over at GlennArt Farm and afterward, double down on those warm fuzzy feelings with a few flights of delicious craft beers on the rooftop of One Lake Brewing with this exclusive Brews n ‘Baahhs’ experience. If there’s one way to relax and let your mind unwind it’s with a pasture full of adorable billy kids followed up by a selection of craft beer.
Grab tickets to Brews n ‘Baahhs’ here.
27. Enjoy a flight of beer at the Pilot Project Tasting Room
If craft beer floats your boat another fun tasting experience this month comes in the form of a beer flight at Pilot Project Brewing. Pilot Project Brewing is a brewery incubator, tasting room & cafe located on Milwaukee Ave in Logan Square, Chicago. Pilot Project was launched as a collaborative and artistically curious space to help support talented brewers in an industry with exceptionally high barriers.
Modeled after the music industry, Pilot serves as a launchpad for start-up breweries, offering assistance with fine-tuning recipes, production, business development, marketing, distribution, and more. They are Chicago’s incubator dedicated to the art of brewing and a community inspired by the craft. Pick from 24 taps to make your perfect flight of beer and taste and compare with your besties
You can purchase a flight of beer at the Pilot Project Tasting Room here.
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28. Attend a drinks and games night at Midlane
Logan Square’s Midlane E-Sports is Chicago’s newest Esports venue providing both the group gratification of days gone by and the luxuries of modern technology. With high-end gaming computers, the latest consoles, tournaments, viewing parties, social gatherings, and a full-service bar it is the perfect gaming hideout for gamers of all genres.
Fancy a game? Call up your favorite gamer friends and head on down to Midlane Esports for a night of gaming fun and drinks specials. Whether you are a casual gamer or want to compete in tournaments – there is something for everybody!
Find out more information here.
29. Experience a new kind of festival
Altered Festival is a mixed-reality adventure highlighting cutting-edge artists and immersive experiences that alter reality. Stimulate all your senses through the art shown, you’ll not only see it, but you’ll hear it, touch it, or even taste it! Step inside the art (literally) through the latest VR, AR and XR (Enhanced Reality) technology that Altered brings to the table. Once you’ve stepped back into the real world, you’ll be able to see 8 featured local artists from Chicago that will have their art on display and for sale, so you can take something special home with you.
Find out more information here.
30-32. Check out the multitude of events taking place at Chicago’s newest speakeasy
If you really want a buzz we suggest you head down to West Loop’s Grand Cabaret After Dark this month for a roster of rip-roaring revelry. On Fridays, STRIPPED provides a decadent and debaucherous night of burlesque while on Saturdays you’ll find vintage evenings of cabaret, jazz, and magic in Chicago’s newest speakeasy followed by Boozy BBQ Drag Brunches on Sundays. All promise a mesmerizing experience in one of Chicago’s most exciting new venues.
Tickets and information for Grand Cabaret After Dark! can be found here.
Tickets and information for STRIPPED a Decadent, Debaucherous Burlesque Revue can be found here.
Tickets and information for Boozy BBQ Drag Brunch can be found here.
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33. See a burlesque and belly dance show at the Newport Theatre
Grand Cabaret is far from Chicago’s only speakeasy burlesque experience. Catch some of Chicago’s finest burlesque, belly dance, drag, and variety entertainers plus screenings of incredible digital content at The Newport Theatre’s Newport Peek-Easy Burlesque Show. Specialty cocktails, intimate tables, and a true speakeasy feel make this a night like no other!
You can purchase tickets here.
34. Settle in for Crescent Moon Nerdlesque
Get your theater fix (with a twist) at this fantastic new burlesque and variety cabaret show. Every 3rd Saturday of the month, Redline VR hosts the incomparable Crescent Moon Nerdlesque, a unique and nerdy cosplay group that’s sure to keep you engaged in the act. Each month features a new and exciting storyline so write down the date, grab your friends and prepare to be amazed at this month’s unique showing.
Learn more and get your tickets here.
35. Be charmed by Circus Vazquez
Circus Vazquez is back with brand new shows in Chicago. Prepare for outstanding performances from the new generation Vazquez family, David Larible who is known as the world’s greatest clown, amongst many others from around the world that will blow your mind. Classic circus vendor items are available for purchase such as popcorn, cotton candy, nachos, funnel cakes, churros, snow cones, and more! Get the family together and share an unforgettable experience.
Tickets to Circus Vazquez can be purchased here.
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36. Indulge your artistic side at Chicago’s Museum of Contemporary Art
As well as boasting an extraordinary live entertainment scene, Chicago is famous for its plethora of world-renowned museums. One place where you can embrace your whimsical, artistic nature is at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago. This unique, grand structure houses exciting temporary and permanent exhibitions that are sure to leave you awe-struck. Make it a whole family day and prepare for an unforgettable experience in contemporary art. Or, gather a group of friends and explore the fascinating collections and multiple artistic disciplines available for viewing. Filled with endlessly intriguing paintings, sculptures, and photos, this museum is always one for the books.
Grab a ticket here or opt for a reduced entrance if you’re a senior resident, teacher, or student.
37. Enter the Adler Planetarium for free on a Wednesday
Another of Chicago’s famed attractions, The Adler Planetarium, is reopening this month after a two-year hiatus. The planetarium will reopen to visitors once more at the start of March and now boasts a brand new telescope in the Doane Observatory which holds the title of the largest public telescope in the Chicago area.
As well as a new observation park, guests will notice the planetarium’s shiny new dome roof which has been restored with brand-new copper tiles giving the 80-year-old dome an iconic new glow. The best news, however, is that Illinois residents will be able to enter for free every Wednesday evening from 4-10 pm provided they bring proof of residency.
More information and tickets can be found at adlerplanetarium.org.
38. Dive deep with the Field Museum’s newest exhibit
Field Museum’s new exhibit ‘Jurassic Oceans: Monsters of the Deep’ takes visitors on an underwater journey where they can encounter some of the most fascinating, fierce, and strange creatures that dominated Earth’s Jurassic seas while dinosaurs ruled the land.
It features over 100 fossils ranging from enormous marine reptiles to small, stranger creatures as well as huge replicas and CGI projections that offer visitors the chance to come face-to-face with some of history’s most terrifying marine predators to have ever existed.
That’s not all there is at the Field Museum. Spend as long as you like exploring the museum’s collection of more than 26 million artifacts. Get to know SUE, the world’s largest T. Rex, or stroll through the sparkling Hall of Gems. Time travel through 13,000 years of history in the Americas, from the Ice Age to Inca and Aztec temples. Don’t forget to meet Maximo, the museum’s newest titanosaur at over two stories tall! You can do all the above with a Field Museum All-Access Pass which includes access to all ticketed exhibitions and one 3D movie.
Grab a Field Museum All-Access Pass here.
39. Go treasure hunting with Chicago Scavenger Hunt: A Day At The Zoo
Speaking of field trips, take a day-cation to the Lincoln Park Zoo for an unforgettable scavenger hunting adventure. Let’s Roam is the #1 app-led scavenger hunting company and provides a can’t-miss reason to explore the infamous Chicago zoo. This family-fun activity is perfect for all ages at an ultra-exciting location. Play in teams or compete on your own for a fun interactive day filled with trivia questions, riddles, and competition-based challenges.
Get your tickets here.
40. Peruse the magnificent street art murals of Chicago
The consequence of a thriving artistic community is not just a plethora of museums and attractions. Today the street art and graffiti scene in Chicago is alive and kicking more than ever before with new pieces popping up all over the city every week. Some of these are so esteemed that they’ve embedded themselves in the very fabric of Chicago and are now part and parcel of the Windy City’s identity.
With more formality and respect from the local community street art has thrived in Chicago over the last decade and with the events of the last two years many, many, astounding new murals have gone up of late. Today murals do more than just provide an extraordinary spectacle for our eyes. They pay homage to icons, fight for racial equality, celebrate different heritages, and honor the essential workers of our societies during turbulent times.
Hunting down the many masterpieces in our great city is a rewarding experience any time of the year. Many of these wonderful murals reside in West Town in the mile-long street art corridor in Chicago’s Fulton Market meatpacking district known as the B_Line. With the West Town Street Art Walking Tour run by Tours By Native you can enjoy an immersive tour that will engage the senses like never before!
Grab tickets to the West Town Street Art Walking Tour here.
41-43. Savor sensational food samples on a food tour
For foodies who prefer to sample tasty delicacies over perusing extraordinary street art, there is a range of fantastic food tours for all manner of foodies.
Taste all of Chicago’s classic eats on a four-hour guided bicycle tour courtesy of America’s longest-running city bicycle tour company with Bikes, Bites, and Brews: Chicago’s Signature Dishes Bike Tour. The journey is 14 miles in total (traversed at a nice leisurely pace) and includes a slice of deep-dish pizza, a gourmet brownie, a Chicago-style hot dog, and a few samples of Chicago’s legendary craft beer!
Alternatively, you can sign up for the ultimate foodie adventure in Chicago’s historic River North with Lonely Planet Experiences: River North Historical Food Tour. Join a local expert and uncover hidden gems and the best spots for some of the city’s best-loved dishes. This tour will leave you filled with delicious local foods as well as some insider knowledge of the city’s culinary history and culture.
Despite having a kaleidoscopic food scene offering all manner of savory and sweet treats, nothing in Chicago has truly celebrated donuts in all their glory, until now. The Underground Donut Tour is Chicago’s first-ever donut tour and was born to give those who truly enjoy donuts the perfect excuse to sample the Windy City’s very best. Tours include such favorites as Do-Rite Donuts, Firecakes, Stans, and Doughnut Vault as well as some lesser-known spots.
Grab tickets to the Bikes, Bites, and Brews tour here.
Grab tickets to a River North Historical Food Tour here.
Grab tickets to a donut tour here.
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44. Go insta-famous with the Chicago Instagram Walking Tour: Most Famous Spots
Another architectural journey awaits you on this next walking tour. Only this time, it’s all about capturing those Instagrammable moments. A local host will take you along a scenic tour of Chicago’s most famous spots so get ready to take in all the architectural feats, hidden gems and snappable landmarks you can imagine. The half-day tour is sure to inspire a caption or two and is jam-packed with endless breathtaking views, exciting fun facts, and memorable moments.
Learn more and grab a ticket here for an unforgettable tour.
45. Head out of the city and see Illinois’ natural spectacles
Heading out into the wilderness is another way you can enjoy a fulfilling experience without paying more than the cost of travel. If you’re one who enjoys being surrounded by nature then heading out to the quiet of Illinois’ natural beauty is a great spring experience. Though our state may not boast wonders with the universal magnitude of the Grand Canyon nor the grandiose reputation of Niagra Falls, Illinois is teeming with diverse ecological landscapes that transform into incredible spring spectacles this time of the year. From monolithic marvels to cascading waterfalls, here are 7 natural wonders of Illinois that you can visit while they’re about to peak:
- Garden Of The Gods: Saline County
- Wildcat Canyon In Starved Rock State Park: La Salle County
- Cache River State Natural Area: Johnson County
- Cave-In-Rock: Hardin County
- The Pomona Natural Bridge: Jackson County
- Cascade Falls In Matthiessen State Park: La Salle County
- Bork Falls In Ferne Clyffe State Park: Johnson County
More information can be found here.
46. Discover the Windy City’s small pockets of Eden
Or course, you don’t have to leave the Windy City to find natural escapes. Chicago is certainly no far friend from nature, there are many places you can get back in touch with Mother Nature right here in the city. The Lakefront, lush parks, and incredible hiking trails offer great natural experiences but Chicago also has numerous secret gardens hidden across the city. Read our full article on 10 of the best spots around the city to stop and smell the roses here.
47. Try a mystery picnic in Chicago
To spice up any park or garden experience in the city you can book an exciting mystery picnic experience. This self-guided food adventure is the perfect way to explore Chicago’s best neighborhoods and avoid the crowds! Starting with a picnic basket, have fun solving personally curated clues and riddles sent to your smartphone that’ll take you on a journey to collect your special gourmet picnic food bit by bit.
Each clue you solve will lead you closer to your next picnic food pickup and even closer to your final stunning secret picnic spot. You can expect a 3-4 hour all-inclusive stress-free date with this fantastic picnic experience. Grab tickets and select the date here and everything will be planned for you.
48. Try an indoor skydiving experience
If you’re the outdoorsy type who likes a thrill you’re probably the type who would be interested in testing your skydiving skills in one of Chicago’s state-of-the-art indoor skydiving centers. With an iFly Indoor Skydiving Center in Lincoln Park and another iFly Indoor Skydiving Center in Rosemont, there are two conveniently located cutting-edge centers to choose from. Kids and adults can both experience the same sensation you’d get 12,000 feet up in the sky and if you feel you have what it takes, you can test your vertigo above Chicago’s iconic skyline at Skydive Chicago, one of the world’s largest skydiving resorts.
49. Throw some axes at Kanya Lounge’s adult playground
Another activity for the active type and those who thrive on adrenaline and competition can be found down at Kanya Lounge’s exclusive 2-story adult playground. Five Axe Throwing Lanes allow you to test your inner lumberjack and blow off some steam while a Rage Room Experience offers 3 unique custom-made rage rooms providing the ultimate stress reliever after the torrid months we’ve had. Either way, signature cocktails and a bucket of beers can be enjoyed in the bar and lounge area while you’re at it.
More information and tickets can be found here.
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50. Secure tickets to a 360° exhibition featuring the iconic art collection of the Louvre™
The Musée du Louvre™ in Paris is undeniably one of the most iconic and recognizable art museums worldwide, drawing over 7 million visitors a year to its famous rhombus-shaped glass museum.
This July, Louvre™ Fantastique: The Exhibition is coming to the Chicago area for a 360° experience, showcasing over 70 reimagined masterpieces that are famously on display at the Louvre™, from French artist Jacques-Louis David’s Oath of the Horatii to Da Vinci’s Mona Lisa, who has captivated art lovers all over the world.
[Featured image from Shutterstock]