our 2019 Chicago SUMMER Bucket List

This weekend we turned the “summer mode” ON (yes, I know we need to wait until June 21st to make that call!) and you have no idea how happy this makes us!

The warm weather is finally here, and with it, longer days will embrace us daily (hopefully!). Green is coming out from my planters, birds are chirping loudly outside, barbecue smells everywhere, patios are full of happy people… and the girls, oh! they are so ready for school to be over and ditch their not very loved bedtime. You see, summer to us, is the perfect context for unstructured learning, and we focus on life skills and creating memories, tons of them! We will stroll, swim, ride our bikes, listen to music and dance, play soccer, climb trees, explore the city, and go camping! Quality time overflow is the mission here!

This whole bucket list is very new for us, I guess that when you come from a place where the ocean is your back yard and endless summer is the usual weather on the forecast, there is no need for a summer bucket list because the year goes by very slowly and after all, whats the rush? but life is no longer margaritas, sun, pool, ocean, repeat! and even though I feel very flexible and no pressure, about this list (Self-Love and Slowing down are very important to keep mental sanity during these 93 days, maybe more for me since I’m starting earlier), a small part of me wants to squeeze summer until its last drop… And then, my soul screams -as a friendly reminder- to slow down and enjoy these warm months ahead.

I’m planning my mornings to be very slow, wake up early and go for a run (I'm leaving my couch potato lifestyle because I'm running the Chicago marathon… wish me luck) have two cups -or more- of coffee, read, lay around, read again, and just do whatever without any kind of pressure. I am very ready to ditch routine, to embrace spontaneity, and to encourage any unstructured learning experiences to my girls.

Chicago has soooo much to offer and time doesn’t seem to be enough, so don’t panic when you read the list. The whole point of this (at least to me) is to have a list of options organized to look at and do whatever we feel or weather permits of doing. Summer feels endless, there is so much to discover!! So here it goes, from firefly catching and kite flying on the beach, to family bike rides all the way 606 route and mini road trips with adventures in new places!

air show + Shore Club for brunch

The Chicago Air and Water Show will happen this year on Aug 17-18 and is the largest FREE show of its kind in the US. The best spot will be north beach but it can be viewed along the lakefront from Fullerton to Oak Street. On Friday we usually lay on the beach and see them practice.

Chicago Riverwalk

This is another whole day plan kind of thing. Explore the riverwalk, grab a water Taxi to Chinatown and end the day with a simple picnic at Ping Tom Memorial Park to watch the sunset.

concert in Millennium Park

Felt so lucky when we saw the line up, one of our favorite Venezuelan bands (Amigos Invisibles) will be performing there on July 25th. So, of course, we will be there! And if you are ready to experience a real fun Venezuelan conga please join us! it is going to be great!

They have an incredible list of performers, and you can find it here!

dancing night at the Chicago botanic garden

Free concerts nightly, Monday through Thursday until 9pm. Live music performances are fun for the whole family. The perfect plan for a picnic and dinner!

duck derby + MILLENIUM PARK

The Duck Derby will take place on August 8th at 401 North Michigan Avenue. This event it's an annual fundraiser benefiting Special Olympics Illinois. Please consider participating and helping fundraise for our special athletes. After that, we will cool down at Millennium Park with some splash-pad fun. I’m pretty sure the girls will make me go to the Maggie Daley Park and the bean, and before any meltdown, due to tiredness we will be getting home. Wish us luck! LOL

Eat outdoors all-SUMMER-long!

At least once a day, because to me, everything tastes better when you're eating outside! Patio season is ON!


Cricket hill or Horner park’s hill are our favorites. High hills with wind + beautiful surroundings. Beautiful Golden Hours as bonus points!

Go berry picking

There's nothing like picking up fresh fruit and teaching the girls that food doesn’t come magically to supermarkets. My city girls desperately need farm contact!! I would say I have the perfect excuse to take the girls out of the city for a non-urban adventure!

Hot air balloon fest

I’ve been romanticizing with this idea for years. So when I found out about Galena Balloon Race I didn’t think it twice... I’ll keep you posted and I’ll leave here a list for hot air balloons fest in the Midwest.

Humboldt Park

The Lantern festival is a beautiful and peaceful family friendly event to celebrate life. Will take place on July 20th at Humboldt Park.


3D fireworks as if a decent fireworks weren’t enough! plus food, drinks and live bands in the parking lot of Niles West High School before the big show. Noon parade followed by fireworks at 9:30 p.m.

Jeni’s ice cream and exploring Bucktown

Afternoon stroll while eating the best ice cream in the city + street art? Yes please!!

lazy days at the beach

We spend as much time as we can on the lake, remembering having the ocean as our backyard and getting mesmerized with the city's gorgeous lakefront. we usually go more than once during the weekdays evenings to avoid big crowds. Days are longer and we don’t have bedtime during summer!

Lincoln square concerts at Giddings plaza + farmers market

This is right in the heart of our neighborhood and there is no better way to fix a week evening than with these lovely summer mini concerts. After that grab a quick bite (Jerry’s is our place to go) and you will be ready for bedtime.

Here the line-up!

mario’s italian lemonade + ITALIAN VILLAGE ADVENTURES

A little drive to Italian Village to enjoy our favorite Italian Ice place

movieS in the park

Can’t wait for BIG at the Gallagher Way (Wednesday, Aug. 28), E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial at Horner Park (Saturday, July 20) and of course, The Wizard of Oz (Saturday, Aug. 24) at Oz Park. The perfect plan to lay under the sky with some snacks and great company. Find the full schedule here.

Navy Pier

Ferris wheel, beer garden, music, and fireworks! sounds unbeatable to me!


My ideal Pilsen adventure will start taking the pink line, followed by Lunch at 5 rabanitos. Walk around and visit the Mexican Museum of Art, Hector’s House and of course, find some delicious churro place.

I looooove pilsen! It feels so good to speak Spanish with everyone!


we are so in to see Ringo star and The Beach Boys!! sooooo in!!

road trips

Beach day at Indiana Dunes, a quick road trip to Milwaukee to enjoy breweries and the zoo, and a camping adventure at Starved Rock (firefly catching and s’mores are the main requests of the little ladies)

Shakespeare in the Park

I’m so excited about this!! Such a great way to introduce theater to the girls. This year they will be performing The Comedy of Errors and we will be going to the Welles Park function on Friday, Aug 16th, 2019 at 6:30 p.m. This is completely free. More locations here.

summer festivalS

Square Roots Festival (July 12-14) is our festival to go with the girls! It right around the corner, the food is delicious, tons of beer options (cheers!) + music and fun for everyone. Here is a list of tons of street festivals happening in Chicago this summer and the rest of the year!

SummerDance + south loop murals

Summerdance is free evening event with dance classes and live music at Grant Park and everyone is welcome! This could be the perfect addition to end up a day of adventures scouting Wabash art corridor downtown.

Sundays ARE FOR church, brunch, & west loop shenanigans

I love this neighborhood and couldn’t feel more blessed that our church is right there! my ideal Sunday is church-playground-brunch-explore!

street art

This is one of my favorite things in Chicago! I just can’t have enough of it!

It is inspiring, unpredictable, fun, entertaining, urban, amazing. It inspires me to document the girls while we are here, watch them grow, change and have fun surrounded by such a cool vibe. I love how it leads you to discover hidden gems around the city without intention… I’m a big fan of unexpected surprises! This summer I'm determined to scout cool locations for my personal project and I will share them with you in case you are interested in documenting your little ones too. Some of my “must visit” are Wabash art corridor, Pilsen, West Loop, Logan Square & Wicker Park/Bucktown… and already crossing my fingers to discover new ones!

The 606

I have two plans for this wonderful place: For the Love of Stars (resident astronomer Joe Guzman host public observation sessions at the western end of the trail, every second Friday of the month) and a Family Biking Ride Day


This is a MUST do on the girls' list. So we will probably explore the ones around us! Any Suggestions?

Wrigley Field

Catch a Cubs game!!

Particularly HOT & Humid / rainy DAY PLANS:

this city has some incredible museums worth exploring: Shedd Aquarium, Museum of Science and Industry, Adler Planetarium, The Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum, Harold Washington library are good ideas when it’s raining and you don’t want to stay at home. And if we decide to stay home, we will do art, bake together (mostly chocolate chip cookies) and hang out until we get bored… I really believe that it’s for kids to get bored once in a while.

May the summer be full of experiences and hope this list serves as a go-to idea list, but without the need to cross anything and the well-deserved permission to just HAVE FUN! and please, if you love anything about our CHICAGO summers that I missed, please share in the comments below!

Wishing you the best summer ever!


Alicia Mayorca