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How to use transit to enjoy summer in the Chicago region

June 8, 2022

Summer Fun Blog Header 1

Summer weather is here and although the season can feel short for many Chicago residents, there is no shortage of fun to be had. To celebrate the sunshine, the RTA has curated a list of outdoor activities you can take the CTA, Metra, or Pace to across the Chicago area this summer.

Food and fests



This summer, experience tastes from local chefs at one of the many food festivals in the region.

Exchange Club of Naperville Ribfest 

The 33rd annual Ribfest hosted by the Exchange Club of Naperville will take place June 17-20 at the DuPage Events Center and Fairgrounds in Wheaton. The food festival features a selection of BBQ ribs, pulled pork and tasty sauces from nationally recognized ribbers, and Ribfest also offers a variety of food selections besides BBQ.

Where: 2015 Manchester Road, Wheaton, IL 60187.

How to get there:


  • Metra UP-W Line (Wheaton), to Pace Bus #301 (111-505 Manchester Road stop) and walk 6 minutes (0.3 miles).


Learn More

Taste of Chicago in Grant Park

Established in the 1980s, the summer exclusive Chicago tradition showcases the culinary excellence of local vendors in the city. Taste of Chicago will take place July 8-10.

Where: Grant Park Chicago. 301 S. Columbus Drive, Chicago, IL 60605

How to get there:


  • CTA Blue Line (Jackson) and walk 12 minutes (0.6 miles).
  • CTA Red Line (Harrison) and walk 9 minutes (0.5 miles).
  • CTA Buses #6, #J14 (Balbo and Columbus stop) and walk 4 minutes (0.2 miles).
  • CTA Buses #7 and #126 (Congress Plaza and Michigan stop) and walk 6 minutes (0.3 miles).
  • CTA Bus #147 (Michigan and Jackson stop) and walk 8 minutes (0.4 miles).


Learn More

Music



Immerse yourself in a wide variety of musical performances from national and up-and-coming artists at the plethora of outdoor concerts this summer.

Backyard Concert Series

Support up-and-coming local artists at the Backyard Concert Series in Elmhurst. This year, the intimate musical performances kick off Wednesday, June 22, at 7 p.m. Proceeds from ticket sales will go towards the Concert for Cancer grant fund.

Where: 575 South Linden Avenue, Elmhurst, IL 60126

How to get there:


  • Pace Bus #301 (Butterfield Road and Poplar Avenue stop) and walk 15 minutes (0.9 miles).
  • Pace Bus #313 (St. Charles/Poplar stop) and walk 12 minutes (0.6 miles).
  • Pace Bus #332 (York/Vallette stop) and walk 14 minutes (0.8 miles).


Learn More

Millennium Park Concerts

The Millenium Park Summer Music Series takes place June 20 through August 19. The series features free outdoor concerts from well-known and emerging artists at the Jay Pritzker Pavilion in Millenium Park.

Where: Millennium Park. 201 E Randolph Street, Chicago, IL 60602

How to get there:


  • CTA Green Line (Washington and Wabash) and walk 3 minutes (0.1 miles).
  • CTA Red Line (Lake) and walk 10 minutes (0.5 miles).
  • CTA Bus #20, #60 (Washington and State stop) and walk 6 minutes (0.3 miles).


Learn More

Ravinia Festival 

Experience Ravinia, an internationally recognized music festival featuring performances from the world's greatest artists. The festival runs all summer until September 18. Starting June 15, in partnership with Metra, all trains on the Union Pacific North Line will honor Ravinia tickets as train fare. Show your tickets for free train rides to and from the festival on concert days!

Where: 200 Ravinia Park Road. Highland Park, IL. 60025

How to get there:


  • Metra UP-N Line (Ravinia Park).
  • Pace Bus #213 (Green Bay and Lake Cook Road stop) and walk 5 minutes (0.3 miles).


Learn More

Get outdoors



Gardens



Appreciate Chicagoland's scenic landscape architecture by visiting one of the many gardens, parks, trails, and observatories in the region

Chicago Botanic Gardens 

Where: 1000 Lake Cook Rd., Glencoe, IL 60022.

How to get there:


  • Metra UP-N Line (Braeside), then to Pace Bus #213 (Lake-Cook and Turnbull Woods stop) and walk for 8 minutes (0.4 miles).


Learn More

Dearborn Observatory 

Where: 2131 Tech Drive, Evanston, IL 60208.

How to get there:


  • CTA Purple Line (Noyes) and walk for 12 minutes (0.6 miles).
  • CTA Bus #201 (Sheridan and Haven stop) and walk for 3 minutes (0.2 miles).


Learn More

Hiking 



Escape to the Chicagoland wilderness and take a hike at one of the region's many trails.

LaBagh Woods and the North Branch Trail

Where: W Foster Avenue & N Cicero Avenue, Chicago, IL 60630

How to get there:


  • CTA Red Line (Argyle), then transfer to CTA Bus #92 (4720 W Foster stop) and walk 12 minutes (0.6 miles).
  • CTA Blue Line (Jefferson Park), then transfer to CTA Bus #92 (4659 W Foster stop) and walk 12 minutes (0.6 miles).
  • Metra UP-NW Line (Jefferson Park), then transfer to CTA Bus #92 (4659 W Foster stop) and walk 12 minutes (0.6 miles).


Skokie Lagoons

Where: Erickson Woods, Winnetka, IL 60093.

How to get there:


  • CTA Purple Line (Linden), then change for Pace Bus #423 (Willow Road and Lagoon Drive stop) and walk 4 minutes (0.2 miles).


Learn more about Chicagoland's transit-accessible hiking trails here.

Boating, Canoeing, and Kayaking



Rent a boat, canoe, or kayak and voyage along the region's scenic waterways.

Chicago River Canoe and Kayaking:

Where: 3400 N Rockwell Street, Chicago, IL 60618.

How to get there:


  • CTA Bus #49 (Western and Roscoe stop) and walk 7 minutes (0.4 miles).
  • CTA Bus #77 (Belmont and Campbell stop) and walk 8 minutes (0.4 miles).
  • CTA Bus #94 (Rockwell and Devry stop).
  • CTA Bus #152 (Addison and Talmon stop) and walk 7 minutes (0.3 miles).


Learn More

Lake Park Boating and Sailing:

Where: 1015 Howard Avenue, Des Plaines, IL 60016.

How to get there:


  • CTA Blue Line (Rosemont), then change for Pace Bus #223 (Touhy Avenue and Eastview Drive stop) and walk 12 minutes (0.7 miles).
  • CTA Purple Line (Davis), then change for Pace Bus #250 (Touchy Avenue and Eastview Drive stop) and walk 12 minutes (0.7 miles).
  • Metra UP-NW Line (Des Plaines), then change for Pace Bus #250 (Lee Street and Howard Avenue stop) and walk 5 minutes (0.3 miles).


Learn More

Naperville Kayak

Where: DuPage River Trail. Naperville, IL. 60564.

How to get there:


  • Metra BNSF Line (Route 59), then change for Pace Bus #559 (Chokeberry Drive and High Meadow Road stop) and walk 17 minutes (0.9 miles).


Learn More

Guided water tours



Cruise through the region's waterways and admire the scenic architecture on one of the many water tours offered throughout summer. Shoreline Sightseeing offers a bounty of guided water tours across Chicago; learn more about their water sightseeing expeditions and locations here.

Beaches



Swim, bike or relax at one of Chicagoland's plentiful sandy waterfronts. Check out these resources to find a beach close to you.



Enjoy the region's summer weather and take advantage of the abundance of outdoor activities available throughout the Chicago area this season. Explore the following resources and discover more activities, destinations, and events to engage in this summer.

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