Summer of Black Joy: Chicago


Summer of Black Joy: Chicago16 Free-ish Things to Do in Chicago to Stay Glo’d Up This Summer!

We are now in summer full swing! If your coinage isn’t the same as it was in the colder months, don’t fret, here are 16 cost effective ways to enjoy one’s self this summer without going deeper into debt. So put on your flyest sunglasses and your cutest sundress and let’s go:

1. Read in the park Reading is fundamental and a staple when it comes to being fly Black girl. Grab a blanket, some headphones, and your favorite book and make it happen. If you need a few “ great reads” , check out the Lemonade and Black Lives Matter reading lists! Find a park!

2. Museum of Contemporary Art MCA offers free admission to Illinois residents every Tuesday, which means you can experience really amazing and breath taking art and artists for free. Check out artist, Kerry James Marshall , or their newest exhibition Making of a Fugitive . MCA doesn’t disappoint so you are in for a treat!


3. Movies in the park Backdrop of the city, nature, and great friends while watching movies in the park. What better way to spend the summer nights munching on snacks and chilling in the park. Complete schedule: Movies in the Park .

4. Music in the park Whenever I want to feel a little fancy, I grab some friends, a few bottles of two buck chuck, and a big wide blanket, and head to Millennial Park. They play a variety of music from classical, electronic, punk, and jazz. Regardless of the music, there are tons of people ready to soak up Chicago’s long awaited summer.



5. Second Fridays in Pilsen Every second Friday, Chicago’s Art District opens up their gallery doors and invites art enthusiasts to roam and view. Some exhibitors provide wine (who doesn’t like wine with their art ) and lights snacks. There’s also a really dope bookstore that sells dollar books!

6. Theatre on the Lake Chicago is a mecca when it comes to the art scene. Every summer, Theatre on the Lake invites theatre productions to produce their show at the lake. Some of these events are free, while others may be offered at small costs.



7. Festivals Summer is festivals galore. You can wander the city and randomly stumble on a festival or have it meticulously scheduled. Either way, festivals in summertime chi are lots of fun. Check out new food, new crafts, and maybe even a new part of the city. Your Festival Guide !

8. BBQ by the Lake Front I love food and being able to enjoy it by the lake is a plus. I usually throw seasoned chicken and veggies on the grill, play some R&B , and chill. And I even purchased a tent to stay bug free.

9. Art Institute of Chicago If you’re an Illinois resident, the Art Institute of Chicago offers free admission from 5:00 p.m.-8:00 p.m. on Thursdays, year round. If you’ve seen Ferris Bueller’s Day Off – this is the museum he and his friends ditched too. Check out all the classics and get some culture.

10. Lincoln Park Zoo If you’re ever in the mood to see fierce animals, check out Lincoln Park Zoo, it’s free and they serve beer. Not to mention, you may catch the lion and lionesses frolicking in their enclosure. Beware of running and screaming kids.

11. Chicago Botanical Gardens Whenever you need to meditate or balance your chakras (Osaka garden is closed until October 2019) , check out the botanical gardens. The beauty of nature is always a blessing and a great place to hang out , read , and wander.

12.  Navy Pier Just a quick jaunt into downtown, one of Chicago’s most prized attractions is definitely a nice place to take in the sights and people watch. Perfect place to have an impromptu photo shoot and further reiterate why our melanin stays poppin’.



13. Go to the beach It’s summer, why not catch some summer rays at any of Chicago’s free beaches . Yes, these beaches are free , so wear your cutest bathing suit and frolic in Lake Michigan.

14. Farmer's Market Window Shopping at any of Chicago Farmer’s Markets is fun and a great opportunity to meet local vendors and see their produce. There’s a market to match any day of the week and some of them are night markets, great for those of us who have day jobs.

15. Sundays at DuSable Museum When you want to get some culture and support black museums, DuSable is a great place to do both. Not only do they offer free Sundays, but you get a chance to brush up on history and marvel at black excellence of African and African American exhibitions.



16. Stony Island Arts Bank Apart of Rebuild Foundation, Stony Island Arts Bank is a hybrid gallery that encourages Chicagoans to engage with the community . If you couldn’t get enough of Kerry James Marshall , you can take a peek here as well and become acquainted with Kara Walker.

Rachel DuboseRachel DuBose is Chicago-based playwright returning to the area by way of Atlanta, GA. After finishing her undergraduate career at Spelman College, Rachel went on to work with NinaHoliday Productions and BET. Some of her work, Eve Within and Alkie's Anonymous have received stage readings at Spelman with the latter being showcased at The Alliance Theatre during Spelman Salon. Most recently, Lonely Hearts participated in The Fade 2 Black Festival in Houston, TX. Rachel holds a Master of Fine Arts in Writing for the Screen and Stage from Northwestern University.  Rachel is also a resident playwright at Mercy Street Theatre Company and a regular contributor for Black Girl Fly Magazine.