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Summertime in the Windy City

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Whether sunbathing on the shores of Lake Michigan, reaching for a foul ball at Wrigley Field, or browsing antiques at a vintage flea market, there's no shortage of things to do in Chicago when the sun starts to shine. With the proper planning, a summer day in the Windy City offers a variety of activities that are sure to make some memories.

North Avenue Beach

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When winter snow melts away, the picturesque Chicago landscape reveals the city's many beaches. As soon as it opens on Memorial Day, North Avenue Beach is one of the most popular lakeshore destinations. Attracting plenty of fit 20-somethings who have been hitting the gym throughout the colder months, there's ample opportunity to show off your hard body while working on a tan. Or you can bump, set, and spike on one of the beach's 50 sand volleyball courts.

Wrigley Field

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If you're not quite ready to hop into board shorts or a bikini, throw on a baseball cap and head to Wrigley Field. The historic venue has been home to the Chicago Cubs since 1916, and even though the team hasn't won a World Series in over a century, it's still a favorite outing for locals who like sports, booze, and tasty ballpark eats. Once the game is over, stop by one of the many bars on Clark Street and wear your Cubbies jersey with pride.

Lincoln Park

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If the beach and ballgame aren't making you long for the outdoors in Chicago, perhaps a scenic picnic will. With expansive lawns and winding paths that span nearly six miles, Lincoln Park has plenty of spots to spread out a blanket and enjoy a basketful of nibbles. Bring along a good book, or gaze out at the Lincoln Park lagoons as kayakers and canoers take to the water. The park is also home to the city zoo and Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum.

Second City

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If weather conditions make a day outdoors in Chicago less than ideal, step inside Second City in Old Town. With alums that include Bill Murray, Jon Belushi, Steve Carell, and Tina Fey, it's one of the best comedy theaters in the country. The venue has live performances nightly with beer and snacks to enjoy between cackles. Once the show is over, be sure to stick around and see what the comics have up their improv sleeve for those still in their seats.

Randolph Street Market

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But all else aside, one of the best things to do in any big city is experience the quirkier offerings that are typically privy to in-the-know residents. Randolph Street Market in West Loop offers just that experience with its European-style bazaar featuring more than 200 vendors hawking an array of antiques, handmade items, and vintage goods. Both an indoor and outdoor event that takes place the last weekend of the month from February to December, sellers set up shop either in covered booths on a large parking lot or inside the nearby Plumbers Hall.

Chicago can be a summertime dream if you know where to look. It's time to peel off that winter jacket, throw on a tank top, and explore what the Windy City has to offer.

By Marie Cunningham, Party Earth writer.

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