Manly Monday’s – Ben’s Favorite Things to do in the Summer

It’s the first Monday of the month so it’s time for another ‘Manly Monday’ roundup, and this time we’re talking about some of Ben’s favorite things to do in the Summer. Naturally because we live here, a few are specific to Chicago. If you’re a resident of the Windy City I’m sure you’ll agree and if you don’t I would highly recommend a summertime visit! It’s by far the best time to be in Chicago, from festivals to movies in the park to concerts and al fresco dining abound, there are plenty of fun options to fill up your weekends without having to venture outside of the city.

1. Old Town Art Fair 

I am still amazed that it’s already approaching mid-June and it’s time for the Old Town Art Fair, but I’m also excited as it’s always one of the best festivals of the summer. Whether you’re actually in the market for art or an ornate piece of jewelry there are plenty of vendors to shop through, or you can just go straight for the music, food & beer which is our primary attraction. The food focuses on the neighborhood’s restaurants but there is plenty to choose from, from ice cream to pizza to tacos and beer, wine and Italian ice. There is also music all weekend long – you can check out this year’s line up here!


Copyright 2018 Windy City Smokeout


2. Windy City Smokeout

This is the second year we purchased 3-day passes, and if you think you’re going to go say on Friday night and Saturday/and or Sunday for some bbq, buying the passes in advance is the way to go! You can skip the line as the wristbands will be mailed to you, and with the new technology you can link it to your bank account so you can swipe throughout the festival for beer, bbq and beyond as you go. The bbq comes from twenty different joints across the country and there are plenty of options to wash it down with, from Budweiser products to local breweries and ciders. The music lineups have brought in some major talent and this year is no exception – you can see all of the bands here. Sadly for Ben, Jana Kramer won’t be back this year but with Brett Eldgredge and Kane Brown playing, he certainly can’t complain.

3. Country Concert 

I’ll just go ahead and follow up the country festival with a country concert! Last year Florida Georgia Line headlined at Wrigley, which is the ULTIMATE venue for a concert. It’s the perfect excuse to spend the day up and outside on one of the dozens of beer gardens in Lakeview. This year we are heading to Kenny Chesney at Soldier Field, which quite honestly isn’t our favorite venue (it can be tricky to get in and out of coming off Michigan Ave) but we’ll just have to keep our fingers crossed for nice weather for what I’m sure will be a fun evening.

4. Grilling 

We certainly love to have people over and go all out on what to make for dinner, but grilling dinner or a quick lunch on the weekend is the best in the summer! Ben’s recently discovered Whole Food’s chicken & blue cheese burgers, which are great with a bun but also awesome on their own. And I will 100% admit that we do our fair amount of grilling veggies, steaks and sausages but we do keep a package of hot dogs in the fridge. Because summer!

5. Indoor Tennis 

Sure, there are lots of public courts to play on and spending the extra time outside never hurt anyone. However, we go to Midtown and as members we take advantage of the free court time in the Summer. While I don’t mind working up a sweat in the sun, it can be up to 15 degrees hotter on the courts than it is outside and it’s nice to have a place where allergies, wind and temperature aren’t varying factors.

6. Intramural Sports & Golf

Ben fills up his weekday calendar pretty quickly between playing in various rec leagues through Chicago Sport & Social. He plays beach volleyball once a week and softball twice a week and I can attest, has made many long-lasting friendships from those evenings. As many Saturday mornings as he can, he grabs a tee time and a few buddies to play golf out in the suburbs. I kind of hate to admit that I admire his dedication particularly to golf on the weekends, he’s often up and on the road before 8A! Luckily for me early tee times means he is back in the city mid to late afternoon and we can head out together for the weekend. I always say of all of the habits to have, being outside and cultivating relationships with friends old & new is the healthiest obsession I could imagine for him. Plus I am free to occupy myself as I please. Ben – this does not mean you get to push it…

What are your favorite things to do in the summer, regardless of whether you live in Chicago or elsewhere? Comment or send me your suggestions at And cheers to one of the best times of the year!




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