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Summertime in Chicago Bucket List

Wed, 2016-06-08 07:39

There is literally something to do every day in the summertime in Chicago. And I don't mean literally in the way most people use it. I mean every day, without fail, there is something going on. So instead of listing the endless events, I wanted to share with you my top 10 things I am looking forward to most this summer in Chicago as a follow up to my Springtime in Chicago Bucket List.

1. Architecture River Cruise
I have not been on a architecture river cruise since I was a kid. I really enjoyed it back then but something tells me I will enjoy it even more as an adult - not to mention I no longer have to wind my camera to take photos. I've been keeping my eye on the Chicago Architecture Foundation River Cruise aboard Chicago's First Lady. I'll be sure to post again with updates and photos after I take the tour!

2. A Picnic and an Outdoor Movie
I have been loving the feeling of the sun on my skin during the late afternoon and then the cool evening breezes once the sun has set. One of my favorite ways to take in both during the summer is to pack a picnic for dinner and head to a local park during a movie night. The timing usually is perfect to enjoy some sun, see the sunset, and then take in a movie. You can see a full list of movies and locations this summer here.

3. Watch Fireworks Over the Lake
Lake Michigan is such a beautiful setting for the city and fireworks are always a fun summer tradition. Independence day is a given, but in Chicago, fireworks are shot off every Wednesday and Saturday for the entire summer. More information can be found here.

4. Lit Fest
This is one of the first festivals of the summer every year and it is one of my all time favorites. The festival has more than 200 booksellers from across the country displaying new, used and antiquarian books and features more than 200 authors participating in panels, discussions and a variety of other programs. More information can be found here.

5. Chicago Blues Festival
Chicago is known for amazing Blues music. I will admit I don't spend all year long listening to Blues, but I do really enjoy listening now and again. Plus, I cannot pass up hearing some of the best musicians there is for free in the middle of my favorite place in the world. For more information, click here.

6. Eat Italian Ice
I have been having some serious cravings for Italian Ice recently so this bucket list item is likely going to be checked off as early as this weekend. But I'm sure I will hunt some down more than once this summer. And I for sure want to visit the best in the city, Mario's.

7. Chicago Pride Parade
This is the first item on my bucket list that I haven't ever been to in previous years. I've always wanted to attend and show my support but the timing never worked out. Luckily this year the parade is a bit later in the month and I should have no problem making it! From what I hear, the event is a blast and of course, a great way to celebrate how far we've come in the recent years. For more information on the pride parade, visit here.

8. Randolph Street Market
The Randolph Street Market is an indoor and outdoor market featuring 300+ venders which include vintage, antique, indie designer, global goods, and food. The market takes place the last full weekend of every month. While this is a year round event, the summer is the best time to visit. Check here for more information.

9. Adler After Dark
I have yet to visit our planetarium for one of their 21+ night time events, but this year is going to be the year. Adler After Dark offers you open access, unlimited shows, and unique entertainment every third Thursday of the month from 6:00-10:00 pm. More information can be found here.

10. Sketch
There is nothing like finding a seat in a park with a great view and a sketch book. This summer I'm hoping to find enough time to fill an entire sketchbook with doodles and drawings from my adventures wandering the city.

I admittedly still have a few items to check off of my Springtime in Chicago Bucket List as well, but I'm hoping to have both lists complete by the end of the summer. And if you're looking to spend some time inside to get away from the heat, check out my list of Free Chicago Museum Days for 2016.

Do you have an item on your summer bucket list you cannot wait to check off?


Alexandra is a Chicago area blogger at Her writing includes life advice, random musings, her journey with PCOS, and details about moving into urban life in Chicago to start a family. Check out her popular post How to Survive Feeling Like You're Stuck.

She can also be found on the following social media platforms: Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, Facebook, Bloglovin.

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Taking Stock of Failure, Finding Ray of Hope From 2016 Legislative Session

Tue, 2016-06-07 10:54

For the second straight year, the Illinois General Assembly left Springfield this week without a budget in place for fiscal year that starts July 1.

A year ago, when Gov. Bruce Rauner and the Democrats who control the Legislature first deadlocked over the FY 2016 budget, the situation today was unthinkable. A full year without any plan for state spending and revenue was unprecedented.

But also unimaginable a year ago was that Rauner and the Democrats would enter FY 2017 not only without a balanced budget, but with a goal that in effect will prolong the budget standoff through calendar year 2016.

After nearly a year of rejecting pursuit of short-term budget fixes -- which he said would take pressure off for business and political reforms -- Rauner on Memorial Day abruptly changed course. He endorsed a stopgap budget to carry state government through 2016 and urged House Speaker Michael Madigan and Senate President John Cullerton to pass a stand-alone K-12 school funding bill so school districts statewide can be assured of opening on time in the fall.

A few days after Democrats in the House rushed to approve a budget from Madigan that was $7 billion out of balance, Cullerton attempted to pass it in the Senate, where it got a very unfriendly reception. Republicans railed against its massive unfunded spending while many Democrats rejected it both for its imbalance and the way Madigan forced it through the House.

In an attempt to appease Rauner while also backing him into a corner, the Senate in the final minutes of the spring session passed a stand-alone K-12 bill, but it increased school funding by an astounding $900 million. That was far more than Rauner's original proposal, which increased funding by only $120 million. It passed in the Senate but failed miserably in the House, where suburban representatives questioned why $475 million of the increase would go to Chicago Public Schools.

Thus our lawmakers left Springfield with neither a state budget nor a school budget in place.

In the two days that followed the session's collapse, Rauner hit the road on a tour of Illinois to gin up support for a "clean" school funding bill and a broader, stopgap plan to get state government through the calendar year. In the process, he did some Chicago bashing that probably isn't a healthy addition to the process.

We review the final days of the legislative session and look at what's to come on this week's "Only in Illinois." Despite all the bad news, we end this edition on a positive note thanks to the closing speeches of Cullerton and Senate Republican Leader Christine Radogno.

You can also listen to the podcast here or through iTunes:

Next article: Superintendents rip Rauner on school funding

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