The Chicago lakefront is pictured in a July 2022 file photo. (Michael Izquierdo / WTTW News)

Beaches in Chicago will open Friday at 11 a.m. for the 2024 season – just in time for Memorial Day weekend. Here is everything you need to know to enjoy those Chicago summer days. 

Chicago-born rapper Common (left) and the Latin music group Fruko y Sus Tesos (right) will headline a free, four-day celebration for Millennium Park’s 20th anniversary. (Courtesy of Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events / Brian Bowen Smith / Patrick L. Pyszka / Daniel Prada)

The special anniversary celebration will take place July 18-21, in addition to the annual film and music events programming offered at Millennium Park.

Tom Cruise in “Top Gun: Maverick,” to hit the outdoor screen in Millennium Park in summer 2023. (Courtesy of Skydance Media)

Free concerts, theater and dance performances, and workouts are also part of the slate of summer events in Millennium Park announced Thursday by city officials.

Chicago is taking some of its popular music fests online. (Courtesy Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events)

The Millennium Park at Home series will deliver concerts online via YouTube and Facebook, kicking off Memorial Day weekend with a virtual version of the House Music Festival.

Music director Carlos Kalmar leads the Grant Park Orchestra in 2019. (Courtesy of the Grant Park Music Festival)

The news is increasing familiar, yet heartbreaking. In the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, yet another much-beloved live music series is being silenced this summer. 

A red wolf pup at Lincoln Park Zoo (Christopher Bijalba / Lincoln Park Zoo)

From rare blind salamanders to adorable red wolf pups, here’s our guide to the newest and most unique animals to visit in and around Chicago. 

A monarch butterfly (Pixnio)

It’s a colorful sign of summer: brightly colored butterflies floating on the wind. From nature museums to forest preserves to beachfront parks, Chicago has plenty of spots to see these beautiful insects. Here are 10 of the best. 

2017 Chicago Blues Festival in Millennium Park (Photo credit: City of Chicago, DCASE)

The annual Grant Park Music Festival kicks off Wednesday. The free concert series is just one way to see music under the stars in Pritzker Pavilion. See the full summer 2019 concert lineup.

Shedd Aquarium’s Kayak for Conservation program aims to introduce residents to the Chicago River ecosystem and the wildlife that call the waters home. (Hilary Wind / Shedd Aquarium)

Chicago summers are nature’s way of rewarding your winter survival skills. And now that warm weather is here, it’s time to get off the couch and actively embrace the season. Here are 10 fun, easy ways to do just that.

(Courtesy of Wicker Park Fest)

Up next: Oktoberfest Chicago, Chicago Gourmet, Fall Fest at Lincoln Park Zoo, Edgewater Arts Festival and more.

Ramsey Lewis (Courtesy City of Chicago, DCASE)

The Chicago Jazz Fest is expanding its scope and reach. We discuss what’s new – and what to expect this weekend – with Mark Kelly, commissioner of the Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events.

Carlos Kalmar (Photo: Patrick Pyszka)

As difficult as it may be to believe, the summer of 2018 is winding down. One significant marker: the Grant Park Music Festival will give the final performances of its 84th season on Saturday.

This summer, a local sailing camp has tried to break down economic barriers with a scholarship program for a majority of its campers. 

(Roger Ho / Lollapalooza 2017)

The annual music festival gets underway Thursday in Grant Park. Why this year’s four-day event comes with tightened security measures.

Promontory Point (John Picken / Flickr)

Despite its moniker as “The City that Works,” Chicago features plenty of places to get away from the city’s hustle and bustle. Here are 10 spots to zen out in the city this summer.

Producer Jay Shefsky and cameraman Felix Mendez pose with the crew of Mise en Place at Jackson Park Harbor.

Sailing is a mostly white, male sport. On the eve of the Race to Mackinac, we visit one crew that bucks both of those trends.