BEST Things to Do in Chicago in June (From a Local!)

Searching for what to do in Chicago this June? Here are the best things to do in Chicago in June (from a local) – from fun outdoor activities and events to the best attractions.

I suggest bookmarking this blog post as I will be updating it regularly with new events and activities.

Disclosure: This article contains affiliate links. I may make a small commission if you make a booking using my links at no extra cost to you. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

What to Pack for Chicago in June

For out of town visitors, please note that the weather in Chicago in June is usually warm but the weather can be unpredictable and temperatures can vary greatly from day to day or even hour to hour. Be prepared for both summer and spring temperatures as well as rain. Make sure to pack layers and check the weather right before your visit to know what to expect.

Here are my must pack items if you are visiting Chicago in June for the first time:

• Comfortable walking shoes – Chicago is a very walkable city so you will do a lot of walking
• Reusable water bottle – It can get very hot so it is important to stay hydrated
• Sunglasses
• A hat
• A travel umbrella– It does occasionally rain in June
• Light sweater (and scarf) – For cooler nights and cold air conditioned places
• Waterproof case – For your phone if you plan to go kayaking
• Bathing suit and other beach essentials (if you are planning to spend time at the beach)
• External battery for your phone – it will be hard to find an outlet to recharge your phone’s battery when you are outdoors

If you forget to bring something essential, don’t worry. There are many drugstores located close to the popular tourist attractions if you need to pick something up.

Things to Do in Chicago in June

Below are the top things to do in Chicago in June including all of the best June events and festivals.

Take an Architecture River Cruise

river cruise is one of the best things to do in June

Chicago has amazing architecture and the best way to enjoy it is joining an architecture river cruise.

Take a Lake Cruise

If you enjoy being on the water, a lake cruise is a fun activity whether in the day, around sunset or in the evening. While you don’t get to see the buildings up close like on a architecture river cruise, you do get to enjoy skyline views and a refreshing cool lake breeze.

If your time is short, you can do a combination river and lake cruise.

Lake cruises depart from Navy Pier or the Michigan Avenue bridge.

Watch Free Fireworks at Night

You don’t have to wait until July to see fireworks. If you are looking for a fun thing to do in Chicago at night, Navy Pier puts on a free fireworks show on Wednesday (9:00-9:10 pm) and Saturday nights (10:00-10:10 pm) during the month of June.

While you can watch the fireworks show from Navy Pier, you can also watch the show from various spots along the Lakefront.

Active travelers might like to join fireworks kayak tour to enjoy the show on water.

Another great option for watching the fireworks is a lake or river cruise which will stop on the water for passengers to enjoy the show.

Hang Out on the Riverwalk

hicago riverwalk travel blog

The Chicago Riverwalk is one of the best spots in Chicago for boat and people watching. There are also restaurants, bars, shops and spots to sit and relax along the way.

June is one of the best times of the year to visit Chicago

Where: Along the south bank of the Chicago River in downtown Chicago from Lake Michigan to west of Franklin Street. You can see a map of attractions on the Riverwalk here.

Hours: Open daily from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m.

See Digital Art Projections at Art on the Mart

Art on the Mart in spring
Art on theMART is the largest permanent digital art projection in the world, projecting contemporary artwork across the 2.5-acre river-façade of theMART.

When: Twice nightly

Where: The Merchandise Mart, 222 W Merchandise Mart Plaza, Chicago, IL 60654. Spectators can watch the show from the jetty section of the Chicago Riverwalk on Wacker Drive between Wells Street and Franklin Street.

Cost: Free.

Go Kayaking in the River

A fun way to explore the city is to go kayaking in the Chicago River or in Lake Michigan.

There are several companies that offer kayaking tours in Chicago including Urban Kayaks, Kayak Chicago and Wateriders. Some of these companies offer sunset tours, evening tours or fireworks tours.

Please note that you will get a little wet so bring a waterproof case for your phone and water-resistant or quick-drying clothing.

You can also rent kayaks at Ohio Street Beach here.

Harry Potter™: Magic at Play

The Harry Potter™: Magic at Play is only in Chicago for a few months. Discover the Wizarding World and celebrate Harry’s adventures in this new hands-on experience, filled with magical moments and active play for witches and wizards of all ages with fun for the whole family. Harry Potter™: Magic at Play is a unique, hands-on experience that will engage imaginations of all ages to bring out the young witch or wizard in all of us. Explore, climb, and play your way through three floors of fun packed with playful celebrations of your favorite places and moments.

Where: Water Tower Place, 835 N Michigan Avenue, Chicago, IL 60611 (corner of N Michigan Ave. and E Pearson St.)

Cost: Price varies. Click here for full prices and to purchase tickets in advance.

Attend a Candlelight Concert

Chicago’s Candlelight Concerts is a series of special classical music concerts that take place in beautiful venues bathed in candlelight. Some of the concerts taking place this June include:

Candlelight: A Tribute to Taylor Swift
Candlelight: A Tribute to Beyoncé
Candlelight: A Tribute to Adele
Candlelight: A Tribute to Lana Del Rey
Candlelight: Neo-Soul and Hip-Hop Favorites
Candlelight: The Best of Hans Zimmer at Music Box Theatre

You can find the full list of candlelight concerts in Chicago here.

Listen to Concerts Under The Stars

Enjoy classical music concerts on a rooftop. Upcoming Concerts Under The Stars this June include:

Sinatra Under the Stars at AIRE
ABBA Under the Stars at AIRE

You can find the full list of Concerts Under The Stars here.

Enjoy Free Music Concerts at Millennium Park

concert at Millennium Park Chicago
One of the best things to do in Chicago during a nice summer evening is listening to free concerts at the Jay Pritzker Pavilion in Millennium Park.

The annual Grant Park Music Festival, the only free outdoor classical-music concert series in the US, starts its summer season on June 14. It features the Grant Park Symphony Orchestra and Grant Park Chorus along with guest performers and conductors. You can see the full schedule here.

The Millennium Park Summer Music Series, which features a wide variety of genre-defying music from established and emerging artists, starts on June 20.

Take Photos at The Bean

The Bean at Millenium Park

If you have seen photos of Chicago on social media, chances are you have seen photos of Cloud Gate (also called The Bean), the famous mirrored sculpture in Millennium Park. Millennium Park is a free attraction and is a portion of the Grant Park. In addition to Cloud Gate, Millennium Park also includes the Jay Pritzker Pavilion, the Crown Fountain sculpture (more below) and Lurie Garden.

Although The Bean is very very touristy, don’t skip it. It is a bucket list attraction and a great photo spot.

Want to join free yoga (and other exercise classes) while also spending time outside? The Millennium Park Summer Workouts program offers free Tai Chi, Yoga, Pilates and Zumba classes on Saturday mornings at Millennium Park Great Lawn.

Have Fun at Navy Pier

Navy Pier is a must do if you are visiting Chicago with toddlers or kids. There are fun attractions at Navy Pier including a large Ferris wheel (click here to purchase a fast pass ticket and skip the long line), restaurants, shops and the Chicago Children’s Museum.

During the entire month of June, Navy Pier will be home to Pixar Putt, a pop-up, open-air 18-hole mini-golf course featuring characters from some of Pixar’s most beloved films including Toy Story, The Incredibles, Monsters, Inc., Finding Nemo, Coco, A Bug’s Life, Wall-E, and Inside Out.

Make sure to come back or stay for the free fireworks every Wednesday and Saturday night.

Navy Pier is also the starting point for various sightseeing tours and cruises.

See Buckingham Fountain

Buckingham Fountain in Chicago
Buckingham Fountain, a well known Chicago landmark in the center of Grant Park, is one of the largest fountains in the world.

When the water is turned on, it produces a major water display for 20 minutes every hour with a center jet shoots water to a height of 150 feet into the air. Beginning at dusk, a spectacular light and music display accompanies the major water display.

Hang Out at the Beach

Most people don’t think of Chicago as a beach destination but Chicago has many beaches on Lake Michigan. The most popular beaches are located downtown (Oak Street and North Avenue) but they are also the busiest.

Explore the Lakefront

Chicago lakefront
Chicago’s Lakefront Trail is a paved path on a 18-mile-long stretch along Lake Michigan. In the summer and especially on weekends, the lakefront is packed with locals and visitors walking, running and riding bikes. Walking or biking all or part of the trail is a great way to enjoy the Chicago skyline, people watch and get some exercise. Here is a map of the trail as well as its access points.

Look for Street Art

Moose Bubblegum Bubble by Jacob Watts

Chicago is full of street art and there are always new murals popping up. One of the most famous Chicago murals is “Moose Bubblegum Bubble” (pictured above) by Jacob Watts located at 33 E. Ida B. Wells Drive. It is part of the Wabash Arts Corridor which is walking distance to Millennium Park, The Art Institute of Chicago and other tourist attractions.

Another famous mural is the Greetings From Chicago Mural at 2226 N Milwaukee Ave. You can see this mural and other street art on this street art tour.

Watch a Baseball Game

wrigley field Chicago

Chicago is known for their love of their sports teams, so if you are visiting in June you might want to attend a baseball game. To those unfamiliar, historic Wrigley Field is home to one of the city’s baseball teams – the Cubs. Whether a fan of the Cubs, baseball in general or just a fun atmosphere, a day at the 100 year old ballpark is a must for locals and tourists alike. You don’t need to enjoy baseball to enjoy a Cubs game – it is fun to just soak in the atmosphere.

You can find their schedule here.

Listen to Free Music at the Museum of Contemporary Art Tuesdays on the Terrace

The Museum of Contemporary Art hosts the popular Tuesdays on the Terrace this summer starting in June. Enjoy free music highlighting artists from Chicago’s internationally renowned jazz community at at MCA’s Anne and John Kern Terrace Garden. For the first time, Tuesdays on the Terrace expands beyond its jazz focus to include more diverse genres and styles that have unique Chicago roots. This year’s series includes hip-hop, house, blues, bomba, and more, while maintaining a set of jazz performances. Light refreshments and a full bar with cold beverages, wine, and cocktails are available for purchase on the upper terrace.

Where: Museum of Contemporary Art, 220 E Chicago Ave, Chicago, IL 60611

When: Every Tuesday starting mid June

Cost: Free tickets must be reserved in advance. Reservations are limited.

Visit Local Farmers Markets in Chicago

You can find many farmers markets around Chicago in June. These markets are a great place to buy healthy, local, farm-fresh foods. Two of the best farmers markets in Chicago include the Green City Market in Lincoln Park and the Logan Square Farmers Market. You can see the list and schedule of all Chicago farmers markets here.

Walk The 606

The 606 is Chicago’s version of The Highline in NYC, an elevated trail goes through 2.7 miles of the city’s northwest side neighborhoods: Wicker Park, Bucktown, Humboldt Park, and Logan Square. It is a bit off the beaten tourist path but it great place to walk, run or bike. There are several access points so you can get off the trail to explore the various neighborhoods.

Eat or Drink on a Rooftop

Chicago has several rooftop bars and restaurants with amazing views of Chicago. Here are some of the best rooftops in Chicago:

Cindy’s (12 S Michigan Ave) – Restaurant and bar on the rooftop of the Chicago Athletic Association Hotel located across Millennium Park which offers panoramic instagram worthy views of Millennium Park and Lake Michigan. This is a popular spot and the wait for the elevator can be long but if you visit around the time it opens you can enjoy the great views without the crowds.

LH ON 22 (85 East Wacker Drive) – Enjoy classic cocktails and small bites from the outdoor LH terrace of LondonHouse Chicago which offers great views of the Chicago River, Lake Michigan and the Magnificent Mile.

The J. Parker (1816 N Clark St) on the rooftop of the Hotel Lincoln with great views of Lincoln Park.

Kennedy Rooftop (1551 W North Ave) on top of the Hyatt Place Wicker Park, has amazing skyline views.

Attend an Outdoor Festival

Want to enjoy live music, food, drink and people watch? June is the busy month for outdoor festivals and events in Chicago from neighborhood family friendly events to popular alcohol fueled music festivals. Outdoor festivals taking place in June include: Do Division Street Fest, Lincoln Park Greek Fest, Windy City Hot Dog Fest, 57th Street Art Fair (June 1-2, 2024), Chicago Gospel Music Festival, Chicago Blues Festival, Lincoln Square Greek Fest, Andersonville Midsommarfest, Vegandale Fest, Wells Street Art Festival, Old Town Art Fair (June 8-9, 2024), Taste of Randolph Street, Hyde Park Summer Fest, Chicago Pride Fest (June 22-23, 2024), Pride in the Park (June 28-29, 2024), Logan Square Arts Festival, and Ravenswood on Tap.

Chicago June Events

In addition to the activities mentioned above, other Chicago June events include: Chicago Pride Parade (June 30, 2024).

As you can see there are many things to do in Chicago in June. If you are looking for more things to do in Chicago in June or the rest of the summer, see my list of the Best Things to do in Chicago in the Summer.

Planning a trip to Chicago? Check out my Chicago guides and itineraries:



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