Chicagoans LOVE their summer. For many people it’s the reason they’re willing to put up with terrible winters that involve so many layers (and a risk of frostbite on the regular). We complain and complain and complain, and then BOOM. SUMMERTIME CHI.
(Take a look at the average Chicagoan’s Instagram and you’ll see a lot of #summertimechi. It’s not the best hashtag but I can’t deny that summertime Chi is a very real and amazing thing.)
Summertime Chi has (hopefully) begun!
This weekend was the beginning of something GREAT. Friday, Saturday, and Sunday were all gorgeous with temps in the 70s and 80s. Walking around there were people everywhere. Joggers sweating it out, lots and lots of puppies (my fave!), and an abundance of patio drinks. My favorite part about the Chicago residents’ attitudes is how alive everyone becomes during the Spring, truly taking advantage of the tiniest amount of sun or a slight hint of warmth. Which brings me to… patio season.
patio season [pat-ee-oh see-zuh n]
1. The time of the year where Chicago is filled (literally filled, you can wait hours for a seat) with people outside relaxing with their friends and family, dogs, and usually a glass of wine or cold beer.
2. Usually takes place from March or April through October or November.
3. Does not have to be an established business, and is sometimes best when the “patio” is actually a stoop outside of your house.
4. Surely occurs elsewhere, but is probably not as celebrated as it is in Chicago.
Having grown up in the Chicagoland area, I’m a huge fan of every season because I’m lucky enough to get them all. By the time one ends, I no longer fully appreciate it and am ready for something new. I actually look forward to winter!
(There’s something super cozy and lovely about spending the holiday season bundled up. It’s weird to me that people in warm climates wear flannel during the winter. Flannel’s main purpose is to keep you warm. See? Exactly.)
Despite my love for patio season, I would always recommend visiting the city. But since it’s April, and I’m sick of snowy days, and want to wear my new Levi shorts… I’m going to use this as an opportunity to show you how awesome Chicago is when it’s warm.
Here are a few of my favorite places to enjoy during patio season:
Enclosed by a fence with the best twinkle lights, beautiful flowers (no idea how they keep them alive with crazy Chicago temperature changes) and a fireplace should it get a bit chilly.
Division Street from Leavitt to Ashland.
The cutoff between Ukrainian Village and Wicker Park, this strip of Division has super wide sidewalks making for AWESOME outdoor seating. A huge selection of bars and restaurants, plus cafes. One of my favorite things is that most of the sports bars have TVs that swivel around so those sitting outside have just as good of view of the game as those inside. Read about a few of these spots in my guide to Wicker Park, here!
I wrote a winter post about Cindy’s here, but during the summer they have outdoor seating on their patio and the views of Millennium Park are BEAUTIFUL.
This preppy patio is basically on the corner of Michigan Avenue and Chicago Avenue, making it a great place to people watch while feeling like a million bucks. Granted I can probably only afford one glass of wine, but the experience and setting is totally worth it.
Parson’s Chicken and Fish
There’s even outdoor ping pong.