The heat is on in Chicago, and although summer hasn’t officially started yet, the city is seeing scorching hot temperatures.
The temperature along the city’s lakefront reached 84 degrees by Monday morning, and the forecast shows it’s not cooling down anytime soon. Highs of 94 and 92 are expected Monday and Tuesday.
While hot weather is inevitable, here are seven ways to beat Chicago’s first heat wave of the season:
1. Take a dip in Lake Michigan.
After taking a run or bike ride down the Lake Shore Path, cool off by jumping into Lake Michigan. While Chicago’s temperature is skyrocketing to the 90s, Lake Michigan’s temperature is a refreshing 66 degrees, according to the National Weather Service. Chicago has 24 beaches along its 28-mile lake front. Some of Chicago’s most popular beaches include North Avenue Beach, Oak Street Beach and Montrose Beach.
But some of the most underrated beaches include Berger Park in Edgewater, Ohio Street Beach and Kathy Osterman/Hollywood Beach, which is located on the northernmost tip of Lincoln Park.
Berger Park is home to the Waterfront Cafe, which is the perfect spot for visitors to ponder life or enjoy quaint meals by the lake. The cafe also hosts live bands that set up beachside.
2. Jet ski or paddle board on Lake Michigan.
From testing your balance on a paddle board to slicing through Lake Michigan’s rigid waves on a jet ski, there are a lot of recreational water activities beach-goers can enjoy. People can rent equipment and jet skis at Chicago Water Sport Rentals at 31st Street Harbor and Jet Ski Chicago. Jet ski rentals can cost any where from $100 to $150 per hour. Paddle boards are less expensive; they cost just $25 per hour.
3. Kayak on the Chicago River.
While it’s not encouraged to swim in the Chicago River, it’s common to see people kayaking up and down the river. There are a variety of places offering kayak tours and rentals, including Urban Kayaks and Wateriders. Kayak rentals cost about $25 per hour.
4. Splash into Crown Fountain.
Channel your inner child and splash around in Chicago’s Crown Fountain located in Millennium Park. The Crown Fountain, an interactive public art work, has been in the park since 2004 and is made up of two 50-foot-tall video boards. Each video board displays a Chicagoan’s face and makes it appear that the two are spouting water at one another.
5. Grab a scoop or two of ice cream.
If water activities aren’t your cup of tea, there are other ways to beat the heat while staying dry. Some of the best places to get ice cream in Chicago include Cone Gourmet Ice Cream in the West Loop and Bobtail Ice Cream in the Lake View neighborhood. Another spot, Lickity Split, is located in Edgewater and Rogers Park and doubles as an ice cream parlor and candy shop. It’s known for its malt-a-licious frozen custard.
If you’re looking for a unique take on ice cream, than Aha Crepe is for you. Rather than scooping its ice cream, the Lincoln Park ice cream parlor rolls its ice cream and serves it in your choice of a bowl or crepe cone.
6. Play with the penguins at Shedd Aquarium.
Play it cool, while playing with the penguins at the Shedd Aquarium. Change out your sandals for rubber boots and enjoy the hour-long “Penguin encounter.” The bird is free to waddle around the room, while a trainer will teach guests more about the penguins’ anatomy and living habits. Penguin Encounters are offered year-round on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, but the aquarium will start offering them daily beginning June 26. People can make reservations on the Shedd Aquarium’s website.
7. Cool down in a basement bar.
Heat rises, so why not escape the hot weather in one of Chicago’s many basement bars. Three Dots and a Dash, which is a River North bar located underneath Bub City, will make you feel like you’re at a luau. The tiki-themed bar specializes in rum and tropical cocktails.
Another basement bar is Suite Lounge, which serves classic martinis and cocktails in Old Town.