Exploring our great city and the surrounding areas can be tremendous fun when doing this on two wheels. I frequently go exploring by bike, and find great gems in parts of the city where I don’t often go. When I return, it’s always nice to see some of the places I haven’t been since the last time that I visited by bike. Here are some suggestions on good places to ride.
One way is to find some events that are fun and easily accessible by bike. Some examples are:
Go To a Concert at Northerly Island
You can plan an adventure to see a concert at the Huntington Bank Pavillion at Northerly Island. Check their site for artists you may want to see. Also, bring comfortable shoes. Much of the venue is standing room only.
Go To a Concert at Ravinia in Highland Park
You may opt to catch a concert at Ravinia. They have a terrific lineup this summer. Go to their website, pick a concert, and go! Just be sure that you ride a bike that allows you to bring lots of stuff. You’ll want to bring a chair, food, and drinks.
Tour Soldier Field
See where the Monsters of the Midway play. Soldier Field has tours for $15. If you convince 9 more people to come, you can get a 25% discount. Tour dates and times are available on the website.
Go See a Movie In The Park
The Chicago Park District also puts together Movies in the Park. Be sure to check their website often for times, dates, locations, and movies of your choice. They are popular, so be sure to arrive early. Pictured is an event at the Pritzker Pavillion.
Go See a Play
I can’t wait until the Theater on the Lake opens. These will also be offered by the Chicago Park District. It’s brand new, and the plays should be announced this month. I’ve read that the plays should begin in June. This would be a great place to ride and enjoy oneself.
Go Listen to House Music in Jackson Park
July 2nd & 3rd, many house music fans will head over to the Chosen Few Picnic in Jackson Park. I’ve personally attended this event several times. It’s a 12 hour musical extravaganza. Its house music’s Woodstock. Be sure to check it out, HouseHeads.
Taste Some Food & Go Listen To Music In Grant Park
There are always the free concerts that you can catch during the Taste of Chicago. And, even if you don’t catch a concert, the food is reason enough to hop on your bike and ride to Grant Park. The Taste will run this year from July 5th – July 9th.
Experience Pierogi Fest
You may decide that you want to head over to Pierogi Fest in Whiting, IN, which runs from July 28 – July 30. Pierogi Fest is always fun and usually there's a ride Chainlink members organize for this event, starting at Buckingham Fountain. This is always loads of fun. It’s really a slice of a small town USA right here in Chicago’s backyard.
Even if there isn’t any specific event, you can head to some pretty cool places that are even cooler if you arrive on two wheels. Here are some suggestions that you can do anytime the mood strikes you.
Go To The Zoo
Starting with our tremendous lakefront trail, Lincoln Park Zoo is a great choice. Take a child, or someone with the spirit of a child. It’s an awesome time with someone who will appreciate the animals.
Visit a Museum, Or Two, Or Three...
The museum campus is a good place to see, especially if you haven’t been there in a while. If you’re like me, then this could be 3 different trips. For others, YMMV. The Field Museum is the home of Sue, the T-Rex. And, there is a wonderful exhibit on ancient Egypt. The Tsavo Lions are among my favorite exhibits of any museum I’ve visited. How many times have we rounded the back side of the Shedd Aquarium without stopping inside? Go ahead and see the beluga whales, the stingrays, sea otters, and other aquatic life. My fascination with celestial bodies is satisfied at the Adler Planetarium. This is the best place to gaze at the stars and learn more about the universe.
The Museum of Science and Industry is also a great destination for museum fun on the lakefront. The Lego exhibit is terrific, and you can actually board a German U-Boat. Be sure to catch one of the shows at the Omnimax Theater. If you’re interested in going to the Field Museum, Shedd Aquarium, Adler Planetarium, and the Museum of Science and Industry, consider getting a CityPass.
Be A Tourist For a Day and Go To Navy Pier
Always popular, Navy Pier is a great destination, especially Wednesday and Saturday evenings during the fireworks display. No matter what’s your pleasure, Navy Pier has it. If you love ice cream, Haagen Dazs is there. If you want a beer, you have plenty of options. You may opt to eat at a number of different restaurants, and there are even free yoga classes during the spring.
Go To The Yatcht Clubs
The yacht clubs in Chicago can be a pretty good place to visit. As a matter of fact, last year the Major Taylor Chicago Club did a ride that culminated at the Southern Shore Yacht Club’s terrific Steak Fry. You can look to see which ones and when you’d like to visit and see when they have activities by clicking this link.
Try Some Tasty Food
And, remember, there is always Calumet Fisheries on 95th Street. Some would say that you haven’t lived until you’ve had the smoked fish from Calumet Fisheries.
If fish isn’t your thing, Skyway Dog House is just over the bridge from there, also on 95th Street. A Chicago-style Dog can be just what hits the spot when you get hungry while pedaling away.
Venturing off the lakefront can be fun too. On Sundays, you can take a trip to Frankfort via Old Plank Trail, and find my favorite Farmer’s Market. Be sure to note the hours for the time of year you plan to go.
Spend a Day At The Beach
I also think that Whihala Beach is absolutely beautiful in Whiting, IN. You can get there by traveling on the Wolf Lake Trail to the Lake George Trail to the Whihala Beach Trail. Just on the other side of the Horseshoe Casino, the sunsets there are amazing. While you’re there, be sure to get some ice cream from the Whihala Ice Cream Shop. And, if you’re hungry and/or thirsty, stop at Bulldog Brewery. The beer drinkers in our group always love our stops there.
Smell The Flowers
For people more interested in nature, be sure to head to Glencoe via the North Branch Trail which runs right into the Botanical Gardens. You can’t beat a visit here on a gorgeous day.
I’m sure that many of you have your favorite places to visit. Please share them in the comment section below. Be safe and enjoy the ride.
Shawn Conley is a Chicago native who loves road cycling. He has a passion for helping others discover their cycling legs, which he typically does through the Major Taylor Cycling Club of Chicago (MTC3). Shawn was chairman of MTC3, and also is a member of the Chicago Cycling Club (CCC) and the Friends of the Major Taylor Trail. When he is not on 2 wheels, he coaches track and field, and is a real estate investor. He is a Chainlink Ambassador who has an affinity for pizza and ice cream. Follow him on Twitter: @ShawnGeauTigers and on Instagram: antonlove1.