Easy and Affordable Summer Activities in Chicago

With so much free time in the summer, there are many more opportunities to explore and try new things. Still, I always like to maximize the amount of activities I can do while still staying within my summer budget. Here are my current favorite activities to try out around Chicagofor all kinds of days. 

1. Friday Morning Swim Club

If you’re looking to amp up your morning, this is the perfect option. Friday Morning Swim Club meets on Summer Fridays starting at 6:45 AM at Montrose Harbor, where thousands of people jump into Lake Michigan (many with a tubeI definitely recommend bringing one) and enjoy the refreshing water. There is often free cold brew from Printer’s Row Coffee if you get there early enough, which is an added bonus. I wanted to get out of my comfort zone this summer, so this activity challenged me to wake up early and face a swim when I would normally be asleep. And honestly, I think it is an amazing experience! You see people biking and walking over with their tubes and towels, and everyone is welcoming so it is easy to join in and make some friendships too. All before work starts in the morning too!

2. Mini Golf in Maggie Daley Park

For a more competitive option that features Chicago Landmarks, I love to go to Mini Golf in Maggie Daley Park. Each hole references iconic elements of Chicago- from the classic Chicago Hot Dog to the White Sox and famous Musicians of the city. At $13, it is a low-commitment activity that always brings laughter and competition. Afterward, you can people-watch as you stroll around the park (this is the highlight of many of my walks now!). 

3. Swan Rides in Humboldt Park

Should you end up in Humboldt Park, the swan rides are a must. They are great to impress relatives who are visiting the neighborhood, and you can enjoy the views from the pond. I enjoy pedaling and looking at ducks swimming pastthere is so much to see from this leisurely option! Many times, there are deals and discounts for the swans too. If you’re in the area, grab a Chicken Skewer from Antojos on Wheelsat $3.50, they are phenomenal and add some energy back after paddling!

4. Biking Along the Lake

With Divvy Bikes, it is easy for anyone to try out biking! I recently brought my bicycle to Chicago and it was one of the best decisions I made. Grab a friend and take a ride down Lakeshore Trail, where you’ll see people walking, biking, roller skating, and just hanging out! I love the views here, and it makes it super easy to swing by the beach and hang out. I often end up stopping for some chips and guac from local beach spots, which is an added bonus. Regardless of the time of day, seeing the city from this different perspective is certainly a must!

I hope you get a chance to try out these activities, but, if not, you will be sure to find new onesit feels like everywhere you go in Chicago, there is something new to experience. And what better time of year than summer? Good luck exploring, and enjoy the summer fun!


Visit Chicago and tour DePaul.