Whether you are visiting Chicago for the first time or are a lifelong Chicagoan, there is always something new to try. The CS team shares their favorite summertime activities!
Dennis Culloton, President & CEO
Way back during the Reagan administration, I discovered one of my favorite things about Chicago during the summer: internships. This time-honored tradition has yet to die all of these years later, and talented young people continue to use their summers away from school to take part in internships, reminding dinosaurs like me of lessons learned as the low man on the totem pole. With summer more than halfway over, as they stroll down the Magnificent Mile and recollect their summer of employment, this year’s fresh-faced young people can measure the last two months in coffee runs, contacts made, and if we dinosaurs are doing our jobs right, lessons learned.
Back when I was first getting my start in this business, I found myself interning for the Chicago Department of Street and Sanitation one summer. I learned at least one curious lesson there that I certainly wouldn’t have learned in any classroom. I worked with a woman who insisted on wearing an overcoat in the office at all times and cut paper dolls at her desk all day. She was able to continue drawing a salary despite her unproductive work thanks to the age-old City of Chicago custom of promoting negligent workers “up and out” of one’s department.
But I also saw a lot of hardworking city employees, most of whom had roots in political ward organizations and had the sensibility that constituent service today can lead to votes tomorrow. It’s not fashionable today, but for all of the abuses we’ve seen over the years when politics and government mix the wrong way, we are also missing the days of accountability of getting a sidewalk fixed for a senior citizen.
So, to this summer’s class of Chicago interns – private and public sector alike – keep working hard – don’t waste it cutting out paper dolls. If you’re learning anything or meeting anyone in your field, you’re doing it right and that will pay off. Finally, enjoy it. Enjoy this once-in-a-lifetime chance to learn intangibles and tricks of the trade. Enjoy working in a world-class city that has so much to offer, even outside of the office.
Tracey Mendrek, Executive Vice President
I highly recommend a segway tour, despite feeling like a total tourist if you go. It’s a great way to see the city from a different perspective and cover a lot of ground in a short time. If you can get past the goofy helmets it really is a fun machine to learn how to operate. Also, of course, lunch outside anywhere on a great summer day. Finally, a little further north in Evanston, you can take a shot at paddle boarding from the Northwestern University Sailing Center. If you thought you were coordinated you haven’t tried paddle boarding. https:///www.fitrec.northwestern.edu/facilities/sailing/
Jeanne Atkinson, Vice President
Chicago comes to life in the summer in a way that can’t be fully appreciated until you’ve lived through a few winters here. There’s so much to do, but three of my favorites include:
1) Sitting on our front stoop with neighbors. It’s a great summer night when we share a glass of wine (or two) with our neighbors on our front steps while the kids on the block race up and down on scooters. Because we live on a well-traveled block, the people watching is great and we always find ourselves striking up conversations with passersby.
2) Going to Lollapalooza. We’ve downgraded to a two-day pass, but still have a blast walking around a beautiful area of the city with a gorgeous skyline as the backdrop, checking out bands we probably wouldn’t see otherwise. It’s also fun to torment my Lolla-going 16-year-old that we’ll definitely meet up with him.
3) Eating later, more leisurely dinners. When you have young kids, the school year carries with it a pretty rigid weeknight schedule. Summer means being able to relax more at night and loosen up.
Angela Benander, Vice President of Advocacy and Corporate Responsibility
* Movies in the park. I saw Psycho and the Odd Couple a few years back for the very first time with Manny Ozaeta in Grant Park. I wasn’t sure how conducive sitting in the park with a thousand other people would be to actually watching a movie, but it is so much fun sitting under the stars with the skyline in the background.
* Drinks on the patio. Even the tiniest establishments in Chicago make the most of summer with sidewalk cafes, porches and patios. We only get about eight weeks of delicious outdoor weather and we make the most of it. I love having summer cocktails outside, even with traffic rushing past. Or better yet, in a hidden outdoor garden strung with white lights. Old Oak Tap and Enoteca Roma are my current neighborhood favorites.
* Growing up in Michigan, there was little reason to visit our Green Bay Packer-worshipping neighbors across the Lake. Since moving to Chicago, however, I have fallen in love with Door County, Wisconsin. It’s about a four-hour drive from the City and I love being on the quiet State Park shores, hiking through the woods and eating at the Viking Grill. Last year, I took the ferry to Washington Island and cruised around on a rented moped. I took a kayak tour of the caves on the Lake Michigan side. I rented a cabin at the very tip of the peninsula with no Internet or TV. It is geographically similar to the shores of Northwest Michigan (aka heaven on earth) and being there feels like being home.
Patrick Skarr, Account Supervisor
I honestly believe you don’t really experience a Chicago summer if you don’t stop by Wrigley Field for a ball game – and that is despite my personal ambivalence towards sports in general. Another great summer activity that you’ll have to wait for next year to experience is Naperville’s Ribfest over the Fourth of July holiday. It is great to enjoy the concerts, see folks from around town and experience the atmosphere of a large-scale festival dedicated to raising funds for great causes – and that’s in spite of me being a vegetarian. Sailing on Lake Michigan is amazing – but I don’t own a boat or have ready access to a seaworthy vessel.
It dawned on me I need an activity that doesn’t require a caveat…a recent addition to my summer schedule as a can’t miss event is the Whiting Indiana Pierogi Festival. (Pierogis + Festival) – Indiana = Still Amazing
Other than that, there are the occasional days when sitting in bumper-to-bumper traffic on the Ike, the weather is just right and you can roll down your windows and open the sunroof and enjoy the weather as you cruise at an impressive 12 mph.
Manny Ozaeta, Account Supervisor
There is only one reason why Chicagoans put up with months and months of frigid temperatures: summer. It is simply the best time of year to enjoy our city. Below is a small list of things that are a must:
*Ravinia- an outdoor amphitheater bringing a variety of acts from classic to country and everything in between
*Farmer’s markets- downtown and in several neighborhoods throughout the city
*Lollapalooza- music, music, music
*Movies in the park- cinema under the stars
*Dining al fresco- enjoy tasty cuisine and people watching from several great eateries
*Symphony in the park- a bottle of wine, a blanket, and peaceful music
*Taste of Chicago- food, food, food
*Walking by Buckingham Fountain- reenact a scene from Married With Children
*Pride Parade- this year’s parade attracted almost a million spectators
*Running on the lake path- get those endorphins going with a view of the city skyline
*Street festivals- rib fest, burger fest, blues fest, you-name-it fest
The list is by no means comprehensive but whatever way you choose to enjoy Chicago, get out there before Father Winter starts rearing his head.
Julia Schatz, Account Executive
A Chicago native, I am biased that this is the greatest city in America – at least for three months of the year. There is an extensive list of summer to-do’s but some of my current favorites include:
*Playing in a summer volleyball league at North Avenue Beach with my friends.
*Taking my nephews to the Lincoln Park Zoo. It’s free, outside and very entertaining.
*Going to baseball games and concerts at Wrigley Field.
*Eating and drinking outside – whether it’s on my deck, in a beer garden, or on a sidewalk, patio or rooftop! The city offers endless options of restaurants and bars that have great views of the skyline and/or great people watching!
*Going to lake houses in Michigan and Wisconsin. There are so many great spots only a couple hours away! Great mini-vacations to spend with friends and family!
Pat O’Connell, Intern
In a city as diverse and fast-paced as Chicago, it’s almost impossible to not have a good time. Whether it’s as simple as riding your bike down the bike path, or spending the day at the Friendly Confines, there is always something to do in the Windy City. Unfortunately as a student in college, I am only able to enjoy the city for a couple months of sunshine. For that short time however, I favorite activities such as Cubs games, riding my bike around the city, and playing pick up games of any sport at all. I have even begun to stop and admire the unique architecture that sets Chicago apart from anywhere else in the world. Chicago truly is a city like no other with plenty to keep you busy and is, after all, my kind of town.
Conor Culloton, Intern
When comparing Chicago to New York, Tina Fey once aptly said of Chicago, “there’s a beach there. In the middle of the city. That you can use for like… ten days out of the year.” That halcyon, fleeting handful of sometimes beautiful, sometimes perilously humid days, is what Chicagoans call summer. Having lived in Chicagoland for every one of my nineteen years, and having commuted to work in Chicago proper for the last four summers, I’ve grown to love many things about this great city. Here are my top three, in no particular order:
- The Beach.
Tina Fey expressed the novelty and empirical superiority of having beaches within the city limits. Because of this, Chicagoans don’t have to leave town to take a refreshing swim in Lake Michigan. As a student at Loyola University Chicago in Rogers Park, I can’t give high enough praise to the quiet, laid back beaches in Chicago’s northernmost neighborhood. Hartigan Beach is an underrated plot of waterfront a block north of campus and my favorite beach in the city. The beach becomes overrun with Ramblers any time the sun comes out and the temperature makes it above 70.
- Running the Lakefront.
Out on the lakefront trail, every day is like a 5K fun run, with a sea of other runners enjoying the sun and the sport, giving any mundane training run a festival-like atmosphere with the added bonus of being set along a stretch of beaches where you might just catch a pleasant lake breeze.
- The Spirit.
My final selection is intangible. By the time the weather shapes up, Chicago takes on a whole new vibe that manifests itself in many ways. The spirit can be found in the rapture in the streets after the Blackhawks’ Stanley Cup-clinching game, the local pride and exuberance of street festivals from Wicker Park Fest to Pride Fest to the Printers’ Row Book Fair, and the spring in the step of everyday Chicagoans as they hustle off to work, weighing the often uncomfortably muggy summer weather against freezing cold memories of blustery, endless Februaries and realizing that June isn’t so bad.