7 ways to spend summer weekends in Chicago — and the apps that make them possible

Andreas Rekdal

As the air conditioning kicks in at Chicago’s coolest tech offices and tech company t-shirts start showing up on your morning commute, it’s hard not to get excited for summer.

Maybe you’ve got a big trip coming up, or maybe you’re mostly kicking it in the city. Either way, you’ll definitely want to make sure you spend your weekends getting out and doing stuff. Here are some great apps that will help you make the most of them.


Chicago is known around the world for its great collection of museums. But the city also has tons of outdoor art installations and cool parks worthy of a summer excursion. Vamonde — a Chicago-designed hyper-local exploration app — will take you on a walk through the city, showing you the coolest art installations and teaching you more about the stories that surround you every day.

City life is great, but sometimes it’s nice to get out and see some nature. And while there are definitely some great spots that can be reached by public transit — like the Chicago Botanic Garden and the Indiana Dunes — having a car makes exploration so much easier. Getaround will let you rent someone else’s car and go for a day trip. We recommend the forest preserves in the Palos Trail System or the Morton Arboretum. Oh, and don’t forget bug spray.

If you find yourself struck by a sudden desire to go on a park picnic, you don’t want to run errands all over town before getting out there. Foxtrot will deliver you all the supplies you need, from bread and fancy cheeses, to wine, beer and ice cream. So get your blanket and basket ready, invite a friend — or bring a book — and get out there.

Unless you have a grill, making dinner means sacrificing valuable outdoor time. So instead of getting off your stoop or your comfy lawn chair, get your meal delivered directly to you.

Your friends are great, but having more of them never hurt anyone. With Cliq, your friend group can meet up with other groups to mix things up. With the additional group you might even get enough people for a game of pickup frisbee, soccer or basketball in the sun.

If you’re looking to spend your weekends on something new, be sure to check Groupon to see if you can get a better deal. Cool activities include a sunset kayak tour of the Chicago river, neighborhood tours, festivals and all sorts of arts and crafts courses — with or without booze.

If you want to spend your summer gardening but you don’t know where to start, you may want to check out GrowIt! A social network designed to bring novice gardeners in conversation with more experienced growers, the photo-centric app aims to help you share pictures of your garden, identify weeds and figure out which plants are best suited for your yard (or balcony). So go get your green thumb on!

Images via Shutterstock and listed companies.

Have a tip for us or know of a company that deserves coverage? Shoot us an email or follow us on Twitter @BuiltInChicago.

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