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Summertime in Chicago

Summertime in Chicago brings an abundance of sunshine, blue skies, and long days to spend exploring everything the city has to offer. Optima Signature, located just east of Michigan Avenue’s Magnificent Mile, is perfectly positioned to access the best of the city’s summer activities. Here are just a few of the many adventurous things to do this summer in Chicago:

Farmer’s Markets

Every Tuesday from 7 am – 2 pm through October 26, the Streeterville Organization of Active Residents (SOAR) Farmer’s Market sets up in the plaza of the Museum of Contemporary Art just blocks away from Optima Signature. The SOAR market features a diverse array of local vendors and seasonal produce including Back of the Yards Coffee, a woman and Latinx owned coffee company based in Chicago’s south side, Bennison’s Bakery based out of the North Shore, flowers from Oosterhoff & Son Flowers, and numerous farms from Indiana and Wisconsin. 

Of course, a visit to the Museum of Contemporary Art is always fun after a day at the market. The museum champions the new and unexpected in contemporary art and culture and has an exhibit on Chicago Comics: 1960s to Now through October 3.

Just a short bike or bus ride away, the Green City Market in Lincoln Park runs from 7 am to 1 pm on Wednesdays and Saturdays, May through October. The market features sustainable vendors and community programming. Chef’s and vendors offer wholesale pricing on their fresh products and many local restaurants use the market to obtain ingredients. 

After visiting the market, be sure to explore the Lincoln Park Zoo, the Lincoln Park Conservatory, and the nature boardwalk.

A group of kayaks floating down a body of water

The Chicago River

Spending a hot day on the water is a perfect Chicago summer activity. Optima Signature’s proximity to the Chicago River makes e-boating or kayaking a perfect outdoor activity. 

Urban Kayaks located on the Chicago River Walk provides guided kayak tours and rentals seven days a week through the end of the summer. Chicago Electric Boat Company, also located on the River Walk, offers environmentally-friendly electric boat rentals that can be exhilarating experiences for water novices and experts alike.

Chicago’s River Walk, open until 11 pm, offers beautiful views of the city and the river’s bridges, restaurants, and cafes, and is a perfect place to end a summer day.

For Chicago residents and visitors alike, the summer months are precious. So while we still have these long, warm days and sunny skies, make sure you venture out to enjoy the bounty at the iconic neighborhood farmers markets and the unique access to our namesake river!

Neighborhood Spotlights: Our Favorite Streeterville Spots

Home to Optima Signature and Optima Chicago Center, Streeterville is one of Chicago’s many thriving neighborhoods. Nestled just north of the Loop in downtown, the Streeterville area intersects the art, culture, food and event scenes of the Windy City. Here are just a few of our favorite spots:

The Chicago Riverwalk

Whether you’re looking for a fun Friday night out or to learn more about Chicago’s history, the Riverwalk is your destination for a good time. Spend an evening at City Winery’s riverside location, hop on an architectural boat tour or go for a quick jog around downtown Chicago. Although best experienced in the city’s warmer months, the Chicago Riverwalk is a fantastic spot for Optima residents, visitors and locals alike. 

The Restaurant Scene

Like the rest of Chicago, Streeterville boasts plenty of amazing restaurants and drinkeries. For a night of fantastic food, The Purple Pig’s tapas, the pasta at Volare Ristorante, or a lobster roll at the Hampton Social are just around the corner. From Sunday brunch to Friday evening date night, Streeterville’s culinary scene doesn’t disappoint. 

Streeterville, with Optima Signature in the skyline
Streeterville, with Optima Signature in the skyline

The Culture

Within Chicago’s vast cultural ecosystem, Streeterville claims a handful of spectacular museums and organizations. The Museum of Contemporary Art, located up Michigan Avenue, is one of the world’s largest contemporary art venues, established in 1967. One of Chicago’s most iconic destinations, Navy Pier is home to the Children’s Museum, the Chicago Shakespeare Theater and events throughout the year, including EXPO Chicago. 

We’re proud to have strong roots in Chicago, and excited to be a contributing part of the Streeterville neighborhood; Stay tuned for more neighborhood spotlights on our other Optima communities.

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