My Chicago Summer Bucketlist

Chicago summer things to do for everyone, kids, and families

Lincoln Park

Chicago summer things to do for everyone, kids, and families

Lincoln Park Zoo

Chicago summer things to do for everyone, kids, and families

Bridge at Lincoln Park Zoo

Garfield Park Conservatory

Lincoln Park Conservatory

chicago hot dog at north avenue beach

Hotdog at North Avenue Beach


Montrose Point Bird Consrvatory

Chicago is just the best in the summer. In fact, us Chicago-goans wait all year for it. The festivals, beaches, farmers markets, and activities are endless. For tourists, it’s the best time of the year to visit as well. The city and it’s people really come alive during the spring and summer months.

I put a list together of things I like to do in the summer, some I plan on doing, and even ones you can bring the whole family to. If you know anyone looking for adventures or have friends coming in town, send this their way!

Bars and Restaurants with Patios:

Park and Field
Noyane (Burger & cocktails)
Parson’s Chicken and Fish (I took Noah a lot when he was younger)
Genes Sausage Shop
Al Patron (My favorite tacos in the city, BYOB, always lots of kids, cash only)
Sportsman’s Club
The Dawson
Blue Door Kitchen (Went for my birthday this year and loved it!)
Kaiser Tiger
Cindy’s at the Chicago Athletic Association
Summer House Santa Monica
RM Champagne (Great date night spot)
Bernie’s (Great happy hour)
Barcocina (Noah’s been for brunch a few times)

Things to Do:

Gallagher Park (So many activities for the family like green city market, yoga, kids sing alongside, etc)
Montrose Beach (There’s a bird conservatory “Montrose Point” as well. Noah loved it)
Garfield Park Conservatory (They don’t serve food, but pack a picnic.Perfect for families and lots of free activities for kids.)
Chicago Water Taxi (Really want to take Noah on one soon!)
Concerts in Millenium Park (Grab food and drinks at the Gage or Remingtons before. Manny and I did this for our anniversary last year and it was really fun!)
Movies in the park (One of my favorite things to do in the summer)
Kayaking on the Chicago River
Maggie Daley Park (Gets crowded, but kids love it.)
Lincoln Park Zoo (Wednesday’s are sing alongs for kids.)
Architectural Boat Tour
Windy City Smokeout
Sheffield Garden Walk (huge area for kids, even with a petting zoo and bouncy houses)
Roscoe Village Burger Fest (My personal favorite fest and have brought Noah for the past two years. Lots of families!)
Taste of Chicago (Best time to go is for lunch during the week and hit the food trucks!)
Chicago Blues Fest (Pack a picnic and spend the day at Millenium Park. Family friendly)

If I am missing anything, let me know and I can add it! And as always, thanks for reading.

You can follow me on Instagram and subscribe to weekly posts here.

Until next time,


Happy Memorial Day Weekend

north avenue beach memorial day weekend

north avenue beach memorial day weekend chicago

north avenue beach memorial day weekend chicago



north avenue beach chicago hot dog memorial day weekend

Outfit Details || Dress: Old Navy | HatAmazonNoah’s Shirt: Old Navy | Noah’s Shorts: Carter’s 

Hi! I hope you guys enjoyed your Memorial Day Weekend! The weather in Chicago has been perfect and we have been enjoying it outside. This is one of my favorite holidays. It’s not only the kickoff to summer, but time to spend with family and friends. And of course, good food. Friday’s post is one of my favorite family photos taken last Memorial Day. Friday’s post is here.

On Saturday, we went to the Lincoln Park Zoo and North Avenue Beach, Noah loved every minute. Saturday’s post is here.

We BBQ’d yesterday with friends and actually celebrated my birthday today (not till the 30th, but close enough!). Noah got a chance to spend time with grandma and grandpa at the pool, while Manny and I went to Blue Door Kitchen Chicago. It was our first time there and LOVED IT. It’s an old mansion that they rehabbed, but kept many of the original fixtures. They have a beautiful outdoor garden that I could spend hours at. Chef Art Smith has dishes like chicken & waffles, sweet potato hash and a number of egg benedicts. Everything we had was delicious. Sunday’s post.

It was a great weekend with family and friends. Good food and lot’s of time to relax and be thankful to all those brave men and women.

I have a TON coming up that I can’t wait to share with you guys! I hope you enjoy it. You can sign up to receive alerts when I post through this link.

This week:

  1. Summer Recipes
  2. What I learned (and haven’t learned in my 30’s)
  3. My Chicago Summer Bucketlist
  4. Kicking off Summer with Barritt’s Ginger Beer (I made some awesome cocktails for our BBQ)

Enjoy the rest of your Monday (which feels like a Sunday!). And as always, you can sign up for weekly blog alerts here. Thank you for following along!

Until next time,


 Recap: Taste Talks

Taste Talks is a 3 day national series filled with seminars, tastings, dinners and parties. It is an intimate way to bring amazing chefs, restaurants and influencers together to engage in conversations through Q & A, demos and sampling. I was fortunate enough to attend the conference on Saturday and the cookout the following day. More about this event on Chicago Taste Talks.

Taste talks seminar


  1. Taste Rare Varietals: Rachael Lowe (Spiaggia) and Emily Wines (Cooper’s Hawk Winery and Restaurant).

Being an “expert” wine drinker, I chose this panel to learn more about the recent trends in wine right now. I am always looking to learn more about wine, all the varieties and the process of wine making. Best part about it, these two women are extremely powerful in the wine industry. See what I took away from the session below:

  • Greek wines are becoming really popular. The soil is really unique and the climate creates some really great wines (we tasted 3 Greek wines and loved all of them)
  • Wineries are experimenting more than ever. Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon are still popular, but there are more combinations of grapes than ever before.
  • Georgia wines are becoming really popular and “exciting”. More on that here.
  • The Etna Rosso from Sicily was my favorite. Lowe described it as, “a ballerina with a shot gun”. Goes in smooth and leaves with a kick. I couldn’t have described it better myself.


2. Keeping up Appearances: Today’s Perfectly Instagrammable plate- Mel Muoio (Style Director), Huge Gladones (Photographer), Chef Scott Green (Travelle), and Adam Soko (Social Media Marketer and Influencer).

So I chose this panel, well, because I follow all of them on their social media accounts and I would consider myself a fan. They are definitely experts in their field and I wanted to gain any knowledge they had to share. All three of them definitely gave out a lot of great tips and their own perspective on social media. See below for some great tips:

  • When taking pictures, there are different rules for different dishes.
  • Don’t need to follow the rule of 3- not necessary (I am very guilty of this)
  • Ask yourself before you post: what is the image used for? An event? Just Instagram? Other social media outlets? Professional or personal blog?
  • Be authentic, use high quality content (NEVER USE FLASH. EVER.) and add your personality/motif (Soko’s example was “egg porn”. Anything for you viewers to engage with you).
  • Placing the light/flash behind the plate can create beautiful images.
  • Instastories, live video, boomerangs, polls and videos will become more popular than ever.
  • No more than 2 posts a day. It can impact your algorithm. Even if you don’t post, keep your instatory active or vice versa. Posting everyday isn’t needed if you keep something active on your account.
  • Don’t interrupt other’s people’s meals. From Chef Green’s perspective, this can ruin everyone’s experience while dining.

3. A Fireside Chat with Andrew Zimmern and Kevin Pang

This ended the day with a candid conversation and Q & A with Kevin Pang and Andrew Zimmern from Bizarre Foods on the Travel Channel. He had some really interesting insight about being chef, dad, and now being a TV celebrity.

  • He started his career in TV as a result of being a dad. “There were things the rest of the world could teach us and I wanted to explore it”
  • A family meal will always be incorporated in a his shows-very important to him
  • Parents is a lot like traveling- takes away all your judgement (I totally agree!)
  • Just be a good person- be the best guest you can be in someone’s home, city, country, etc.
  • We will no longer use the phrase “ethnic food”. Food is food. It comes with a certain connotation.
  • He loves Chicago as a BBQ town.


The following day, there was a cookout in Palmer Square. We got a chance to sample a variety of dishes from the best restaurants in Chicago.








The weekend was such a great experience, not only to eat, but I learned a lot. I will definitely see you next year Taste Talks!

Until next time…