Memorial Day is approaching which means its time to head outside for some fun. The city of Chicago has tons to offer throughout the year with Memorial Day weekend kicking off many of the events for the summer season. Whether you enjoy playing at the beach or shopping for antiques, there is something for everyone. Chicago offers several indoor activities year round but as the locals will tell you, once Memorial Day weekend comes its time to enjoy the summer season .
Memorial Day weekend definitely signals the beginning of summer for my family. This means warm weather and outside activities. After being stuck inside all winter and dealing with the torrential rain and hail storms of Spring, it is definitely time to enjoy outdoor activities.No more sweaters and rain boots, pull out the short sleeve shirts and if we’re lucky, a pair of shorts. Dust off your bicycle and pull out your running shoes. Pack a picnic basket full of your favorite foods and head towards the lake for some pre-summertime fun.
Some of our favorite activities are biking down the shores of Lake Michigan, Visiting Lincoln Park Zoo and eating outside at one of the many restaurants in the city that offer Al Fresco dining. What family doesn’t enjoy dining by the lakefront while watching the sail boats pass by or dining under the stars while watching the evenings fireworks light up the night sky. Enjoy this weekend with your family while creating family memories for all.
Here are my favorite 5 picks for family friendly activities for Memorial Day weekend in Chicago
Chicago Beaches Open – May 27, 2011. Combining Sand and Sun with a little fun!
Be aware of the signs for safe swimming: Green (o.k .to swim), Yellow (swim advisory in effect) and Red (Hazardous Conditions/Swim Ban. Most of the beaches are wheel chair accessible via a walk way and all have limited street or lot parking with some pay parking available. Public transportation is recommended. Visit the Chicago Park District website for more information.FREE and family friendly.
Chicago’s Memorial Day Parade – May 28, 2011. Parade begins at 12 noon and proceeds South from State Street(at Lake) to Van Buren. This is an annual parade that honors fallen soldiers.This year’s Grand Marshal will be General Raymond T. Odierno, United States Army, Commander, U.S. Joint Forces Command. During the parade, Odierno will swear in new recruits representing many branches of service. FREE and family friendly.
Bike the Drive Chicago – May 29, 2011. This event takes place Rain or Shine. Bring your bike and enjoy the beauty of all Lake Shore Drive and Lake Michigan have to offer, without the traffic. Lake Shore drive will be blocked off so you can bike the drive. This is a 30 mile route that will allow you to enjoy breathtaking views of the City of Chicago. Route opens at 5:30am and closes at 9:45. Need to rent a bike? Overnight Rentals start at $20 (see site for more info) $42 for adults and $15 for those under 17 years old (all participants receive a t-shirt). Registering on the day of the event will cost you a little more, $55, so register early. Family friendly although you need to be a early riser to participate. www.bikethedrive.org
Fireworks at Navy Pier – May 28, 2011.This is the beginning of the summer firework season ! Fireworks run from Memorial Day weekend thru Labor Day Weekend. Bring a blanket and your family and watch the best fireworks that Chicago has to offer. Displays are Wednesdays at 9:30om and Saturdays at 10:15pm. On-site pay parking is available . There many restaurants, from fine dining to fast food, clothing and souvenir shops and Navy Pier is home to the Children’s Museum, IMAX theatre, Chicago Shakespeare Theater, and the Pepsi skyline stage. Hours of Operation are Sunday – Thursday 10 to 10 and Friday-Saturday 10 – midnight. There is no FEE to enter Navy Pier and stroller rental and Free Wi-Fi available.
Randolph Street Market – May 28-29, 2011. This is opening weekend for this world renowned market! This is a European indoor/outdoor market with over 200 vendors. It has been featured in Travel&Leisure, NY Times and is considered the “mecca of cool”. Runs Saturday 10-5 and Sunday 10-4 Tickets are $8 in advance and $10 at the door The is FREE street parking at streets around the market. Valet parking is avalable for $10 and a FREE trolly is available from Water Tower Place. Kid-friendly and Pet friendly. www.randolphstreetmarket.com
These are just a few of the family friendly ( and FREE) events that Chicago has to offer for Memorial Day weekend. Whether you live in Chicago or are visiting for the holiday weekend, head out and enjoy what this remarkable city has to offer.
Prescott Carlson, “May in Chicago”, About.com
“Go A Little Overboard”, Navy Pier.com
“Randolph Street Market Opening Weekend”, Randolph Street Market