July 17, 2023

Chicago Sports & Fitness: Top Outdoor Summer Activities

Liam Rogers
Chicago Sports & Fitness: Top Outdoor Summer Activities

Aren’t you missing out, sitting inside all day? In the beautiful Chicago summer?

Summer is here and you’re missing out on all the fun from that ‘highlight reel’ Summer you talk about every year. Don’t let it pass you by again – get outside and see what you’re missing out on!

You don’t need a huge budget to make the most of life in Chicago, you just need this article – the best places to play outdoor sports in Chicago – and other great summer activities.

Why bother with Chicago outdoor sports?

You should play outdoor sports in Chicago because it’s the best way to make the most of the city regardless of budget. Chicago comes alive in the summer with a huge variety of free (or affordable) sports that help you get fitter, make more friends, and explore the city.

It’s the best way to make the most of your summer without breaking the bank, and it sure beats sitting inside scrolling on tik tok.

While temperatures are high, sports keep you active and help you balance up your mental health while improving your physical health. The wide range of options for outdoor sports and activities in Chicago also gives you plenty of chances to find like-minded people in your local community.

If you don’t want to get fitter, make friends, and learn new skills then you’re the one missing out!

Tennis Courts 

Nothing says summer like tennis – and you’ve got plenty of courts to choose from. You can find tennis courts all the way along lakeshore drive.

From Chase tennis courts in the north, all the way south to the Calumet tennis courts, there are plenty of options. They’re all over the city and found in most of the parks that dot Chicago and paint it green!

If you’re struggling to play tennis near you, try the Chicago Parks department’s directory. This is an easy way to find tennis courts, wherever in Chicago you’re located – or visiting!

Biking on Popular Trails

Chicago has some of the best trails around for biking – especially in this weather.

Lakefront trail is a scenic route with great, cooling winds off the lake along an 18.5 mile stretch. You don’t have to do the whole thing – why not stop off and enjoy a cool drink? 

You’ll be travelling through gorgeous parks with easy access to all the cultural hotspots like the Lincoln Park Zoo and the nature museum. 

Not got a bike? The Divvy bikes are easy and affordable to rent, giving anyone a chance to beat the summer sun with a pair of wheels and the wind blowing through your hair!

Outdoor Rock climbing

Try something new with outdoor rock climbing – an addictive form of upper body exercise.

There’s a reason everyone who tries rock-climbing talks about it all the time: it’s one of the most fun ways to get into amazing shape. If you want to get into superhuman shape with some monkey-ish fun, Chicago has an excellent outdoor wall at the Maggie Daley park.

Plus, if you take to it, we also have a huge range of bouldering options within the city - such as Lakeshore Sport and Fitness. Is this the start of your new favorite hobby?

Basketball Courts

Pick up on Chicago’s long basketball history and run with the bulls from the comfort of your local basketball court.

Head down to the Jackson Park Court and social club for courts, or head to Foster Avenue Beach Court. Chicago is a great place to ball, with multiple friendly communities built around local sport and health centers.

Playing in these tight-knit communities, you can make friends and even join local leagues – if you’ve got what it takes!

Soccer Fields

British food might not be the best, but soccer is one of our favorite imports from the old country. 

Chicago has had an active soccer league for 110 years, and we’ve got the fields (or pitches) to prove it like Lincoln Park Soccer Turf. Once again, Chicago Sport and social has fully developed soccer leagues for enthusiastic amateurs who want to enjoy the thrill of competition.

Alternatively, get in touch with ‘fair play soccer for support finding your local league or pitch.

Baseball Fields

Get in the diamond for the nation’s pastime, hitting dingers in the sunshine. 

Chicago indoor sports offers baseball year round, but Oz Park is the place to go for a game in the summer sun.

Check out the Chicago Parks district list of places to play baseball. This includes a wide range of amateur leagues to help you get into the swing of things. These also include options for individuals with disabilities, young people, and those who want to try their hand for the first time as an adult! 

Sand Volleyball at the Beach

Make the most of the lakefront beaches and get your Top Gun on with beach volleyball. There’s no better time of year for sun, sand, and bump-set-spike. 

With all of that lakeshore land, it’s easy to play sand volleyball along the beach. 

You’ll find easy opportunities to play along the Navy Pier and Lincoln Park, but you can also find sand volleyball throughout the city – such as Wrightwood Park, Welles Sands, and others. From 43rd street eastwards, you’ve got dozens of options to choose from.

Track Fields

Track and field season is well underway – and it’s great fun starting out as an adult. Athletics clubs have track and field events, coaches, and more so you can make fitness fun.

Once again, Chicago is packed with opportunities for these sports, with 25 running tracks east of 43rd. Look at Whiteny M Young field, and Montrose Beach Track and Field.These all have other options – you don’t have to be the world’s best runner to start – and each club has its own history and culture.

Some of these tracks are in parks and schools, while some offer the full spectrum of track and field training options. 

Kayaking on the River

If you’re feeling like normal outdoor sports aren’t scratching your excitement itch, try kayaking on the river.

Try a service like Urban Kayaks, offering a simple way for first-timers to get more familiar and build confidence on the water. You want to make sure you’re in safe hands when you’re on the river – even if you’re a strong swimmer.

For experienced Kayakers, the entire Riverwalk section is worth trying, with other opportunities as you get a little further out towards the lake. Thanks to the stability of these waters, you’ve far more options than traditional coastlines!

Summer Activities In Chicago FAQ

It’s easy to get confused with everything going on in Chicago through the summer. These frequently asked questions might provide a little clarity!

Is Chicago an outdoorsy city?

Yes – Chicago has an incredibly strong parks department, with real investment in the accessibility and quality of outdoor sports and activities. Chicago is an outdoorsy city if you know where to look – which is why today’s list of things to do has been so important to us.

Chicago has amazing options that are easy to find along lake Michigan’s shore, with options along the beach and pier. However, it also has amazing hidden gems throughout the city, whether that’s a great running track, fantastic kayaking options, or one of the nation’s best outdoor rock-climbing walls.

There’s a lot to do outdoors in Chicago this summer – so go out and find it!

What is there to do in Chicago in summer?

You can spend summer in Chicago with sun, sea, and sport – with some of the nation’s best facilities for:

  • Tennis
  • Soccer
  • Baseball
  • Bike riding
  • Kayaking and water sports
  • Volleyball
  • Rock climbing
  • Track and field
  • Basketball
  • Trail walks
  • And more!

You’ve got all kinds of options just outside your door – what’s most important is being proactive and looking out there. Try out the places on today’s list to get the best from your city in the sunshine.

Is Chicago cool in the summer?

Chicago isn’t cool in the summer – it’s still summer, and you’re going to get highs in the 80s and 90s.

However, it’s not going to feel too hot if you’re moving or visiting from somewhere like Florida or Texas, where those are everyday numbers in summer. Regular cold fronts help regulate summer temperatures, bringing nice 70-80 degree days to break up the sweltering heat!

Chicago is northerly, keeping it moderate in summer. This can make outdoor sports more appealing when you’re able to enjoy the sunshine with less risk of dehydration and sunstroke.

Even so, take your hydration seriously in the summer. Make sure you eat plenty, keep water with you, and replenish your electrolytes to keep your heart healthy in the summer sun!

Final Thoughts

Chicago has really re-invested in accessible and plentiful outdoor sports and activities. It has a fantastic range of options for miles off of the lake, with a strong parks department that continues to improve the city’s outdoor spaces.

The best way to get fit is to come along to Fit Results classes, but they’re even better combined with outdoor sports and activities in the glorious Chicago sun!

Get outside this summer and you’ll find that each of these options comes with its own culture and community. It’s an easy way to find excitement in the city and keep yourself healthy while making new friends or picking up a new skill.

Stay fit, make your summer special, and get out there for outdoor sports in Chicago!

Liam Rogers