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Summer Fun in Chicago During COVID-19

Published on Jun 25, 2020 at 3:40 pm in Fun Stuff.

Chicago at dusk

As Chicago slowly works through its reopening plan to mitigate the spread of the coronavirus, residents and visitors have questions about summer activities and just how to handle these next few months. While it’s important for everyone to remember and follow through with the safety tips provided by the federal and state government, the COVID-19 pandemic does not mean that everyone has to stay inside all summer long.

As of mid-June, Chicago has entered phase three of the five-phase reopening plan. In phase three, the goal is to thoughtfully begin to reopen the city as safely as possible. This means that strict physical distancing is still in place and some businesses, like restaurants with the proper facilities, are beginning to reopen. As the summer continues, the city is hopeful it will be able to continue through the final two phases.

The city and its businesses and restaurants are taking precautions to ensure a safe summer for everyone. While you may not be able to attend large gatherings, festivals, or concerts, you can still safely get around the city, enjoy local foods outdoors, and participate in reimagined summer events. Let’s take a look at how you and your family can have some summer fun in Chicago during COVID-19.

Going Out and Getting Around in Chicago During COVID-19

To safely maneuver your way through the city, you’ll want to be aware of what steps you need to protect yourself and others. You’ll also need to know how COVID-19 has changed the city’s transportation options. Let’s start by taking a look at what the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have to say about coping with the pandemic and going out.

Precautions to Keep in Mind

As you begin resuming daily activities, it’s important to protect yourself and others by practicing everyday preventative actions. This means washing your hands often, avoiding close contact with others, covering your mouth and nose with a cloth face cover whenever you’re around others, adequately covering your coughs and sneezes, cleaning and disinfecting surfaces properly, and monitoring your health.

Remember that the more people you interact with and the longer that interaction, the higher the risk of spreading COVID-19. Before heading out, ask yourself the following questions:

  • Is COVID-19 spreading in my area?
  • What are the local orders in my community?
  • Will my activity put me in close contact with others?
  • Am I at risk for severe illness?
  • Will I have to share items, equipment, or tools with other people?
  • Will I need to take public transportation to get to the activity?
  • Do I know what to do if I get sick?

If you decide to engage in public activities, continue to protect yourself and others as best you can.

Transportation Options in the City

Chicago has developed some simple guidelines to help residents and visitors travel around the city amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Regardless of how you plan to travel, the city asks that everyone observe the current guidelines, which include maintaining six feet of distance from other people, washing your hands frequently, and wearing a face-covering when physical distancing is not possible.

If you’re planning on heading out on foot, plan before you go so you can avoid busy streets. Take your time and make room for others. Be sure to use sidewalks when they are available. If you’re using a bicycle, keep your distance from other cyclists—at least one bike-length away. Keep an eye on pedestrians and look for them in bike lanes. If you need to lock or unlock your bike at a bike rack, wait until others are done to do so. If you’re driving, be aware of your surroundings and drive slowly. It’s also important to be careful when making curbside pick-ups and drop-offs.

If you’re planning on using public transportation, like on Metra, CTA, or Pace, remember to practice social distancing and avoiding touching surfaces as much as possible. While ridership is currently down, it’s likely to increase as more businesses open. Rideshare companies like Uber and Lyft are also a possibility, just be sure to follow the companies’ individual guidelines regarding COVID-19.

Staying in Chicago: Accommodations and Safety Measures

Currently, 55 of the 185 hotels in Chicago are still temporarily closed. This, however, means that the majority of hotels, motels, and inns throughout the city are open and ready for visitors. If you’re planning a trip to Chicago this summer, hotel stays are likely to be much different than what you’re used to. Temperature screenings, keyless check-ins, and reduces amenities will be offered in an effort to ensure everyone stays healthy.

The American Hotel & Lodging Association, which many major hotel groups are a part of, released new industry-wide Stay Safe standards to enhance hotel cleaning practices, social interactions, and workplace protocols to meet the new challenges COVID-19 presents.

Some of those standards include closing pools, eliminating breakfast buffets, and closing spa and gym facilities. Some hotels in Chicago, like Hilton, are in the process of working with the Mayo Clinic’s Infection Prevention and Control team to use ultraviolet light to sanitize surfaces and objects.

Chicago’s Outdoor Dining Options

As we move forward into the summer, many restaurants around the city are reopening. While you’ll likely have the option to pick up a takeout order, or even food delivered, if you’re looking to dine out you’ll want to find a location that offers outdoor seating. Fortunately, there are dozens of restaurants throughout Chicago that have outdoor dining options. Let’s take a look at some of our favorites.

  • Bar Roma. In Andersonville, this Italian restaurant’s sidewalk café is now open for outdoor dining. Window-side seating is also available. You’ll find a variety of rustic Italian food and all homemade, fresh pasta. Reservations are accepted.
  • Macarthur’s Restaurant. Located in Austin and featuring fine southern cuisine, Macarthur’s is currently offering outdoor dining, in addition to carryout and delivery. Walk-in dining only.
  • Chief O’Neill’s Pub & Restaurant. If you’re looking for a pub in Avondale, you’ll want to visit Chief O’Neill’s. They are accepting reservations, and you can enjoy dining on their large, outdoor garden patio.
  • Antique Taco. This restaurant is one of the best places in Bridgeport to get tacos. They have limited seating on its outdoor patio, so it’s recommended you order ahead and takeout. Walk-in dining only, so first come, first serve for table service.
  • Truth Italian Restaurant. This Italian spot is located in Bronzeville. They are currently accepting reservations and have outdoor dining options. They are also open for carryout and delivery.
  • The Woodlawn. Located in Chatham, this causal spot hosts pop-up restaurants in an attempt to foster creativity and economic impact. Its most recent pop-up, Brother’s On the Wall, features flatbreads, sandwiches, burgers, and more. You have the option of dining on their patio or their new rooftop space. Reservations are recommended.
  • Mango Pickle. Serving contemporary Indian cuisine, the Mango Pickle in Edgewater is now offering outdoor dining. Reservations are required. Carryout and delivery are still available.
  • Blue Door Kitchen & Garden. Located in Gold Coast, the Blue Door Kitchen & Garden serves seasonal cuisine. Their patio is open for outdoor dining and they are accepting reservations.
  • Nellie’s Restaurant. This family-owned restaurant is located in Humboldt Park. Guests can enjoy Puerto Rican and American breakfast favorites on their open patio. Walk-in dining only.
  • Coda Di Volpe. Known for their wood-fired pizzas, Coda Di Volpe is open for outdoor dining on its patio. The Lakeview restaurant is accepting reservations and still has carryout and delivery available.
  • Bistro Campagne. Located in Lincoln Square, this French restaurant is open for outdoor dining. Reservations are required and carryout is still available.
  • Homeslice. This pizza joint is located in Lincoln Park. It features a variety of customizable pizzas. They are now open for outdoor dining. Reservations are required and there is a two-hour limit per seating. Carryout and delivery are still available.
  • Park & Field. Park & Field is now accepting reservations for outdoor seating via Resy. To ensure diners’ safety, they are requiring masks and card-only payment. Tables are only available for six or fewer people and there is a max table time of two hours.
  • The Gage. This gastropub in Loop is now open for outdoor dining on their patio. They are accepting reservations and suggesting a seating limitation of 90 minutes. Carry out and delivery are still available.
  • Utopian Tailgate. Featuring elevated tailgate fare and an extensive bar program in Old Town, guests can enjoy their food on the restaurant’s now-open rooftop. Reservations are required and there is a maximum time limit of two hours for table seating.

Please note that the restaurants listed above could make changes to their menus, requirements, or hours of operation. It’s always best to call ahead or check out social media pages to get the most up-to-date information.

New and Reimagined Summer Events in Chicago

While a number of festivals, concerts, and events have been canceled or postponed in light of COVID-19, there are still so many events and opportunities you and your family can participate in this summer. The Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events (DCASE) has planned more than 150 summer events, including at-home dance parties, drive-in movies, virtual concerts, farmers markets, and community meals for frontline workers.

2020 Festivals in the City

  • Chicago Riverwalk Summer Programming. From daytime fishing to evening fireworks, the Chicago Riverwalk runs for 1.25 miles along an active waterfront environment. The four districts you can walk through include The Confluence, The Arcade, The Civic, and The Esplanade. Face coverings and social distancing are required.
  • 24th Annual Chicago SummerDance. A new citywide, at-home version of Chicago SummerDance invites residents to plan socially-distant parties of up to ten people. SummerDance will take place every Wednesday in July. Participants can dance in their homes and backyard, and on porches, balconies, or sidewalks—all while connected via a live broadcast. The program includes a 30-minute dance lesson followed by 60 minutes of music.
  • Taste of Chicago To-Go. While the traditional Taste of Chicago festival will not take place this year, Taste of Chicago is still planning on showcasing the diversity of the city’s dining scene. They plan to expand the “Community Eats” program to support 25 neighborhood restaurants and food trucks while providing free meals to nonprofit organizations, provide online cooking demonstrations with local chefs, and have a Food Truck Procession from downtown to various locations. These events will take place July 8-12.

Millennium Park at Home

DCASE is bringing Millennium Park to Chicagoan’s home’s this summer for a variety of events and programs, including:

  • Workouts. Every Saturday from 8 a.m. to 9 a.m., Millennium Park is offering a schedule of rotating Tai Chi, Yoga, Pilates, and Zumba workouts on Facebook.
  • Music Series. Beginning Thursday, June 18, and continuing every Thursday through July, Millennium Park is streaming online concerts featuring Music in the Key of Chicago. These can be viewed on YouTube and will be live from 6:00 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.
  • Blues Music. While the in-person Blues Festival has been canceled this year, Millennium Park is providing online concerts featuring Blues Music in the Key of Chicago on July 31, August 1, and August 2 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.

If you’re looking to spend some time outside, you can visit Millennium Park in person—which reopened cautiously on June 15. As of the opening, the park is open daily from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. for groups of 10 persons or fewer who practice social distancing and wear face coverings. Visitors are asked to enter at Michigan Ave. and Madison St. and exit at Michigan Ave. and Washington St.

Chicago City Markets

To increase neighborhood access to fresh, healthy food, Chicago has reopened farmers markets. The markets, however, have to follow specific precautions to encourage social distancing and to protect customers and vendors. Those protocols include the following:

  • Ensure six feet between individuals
  • Ensure protective gear is worn by staff, vendors, and guests
  • Ensure regular sanitization of hands and high touch areas, training on proper techniques
  • Post signage encouraging guests to enjoy the market in a safe way
  • Encourage behavior to limit interaction
  • Establish employee screening policy and protocol
  • Follow CDPH and CDC guidance for testing and tracing protocols

The following markets will be open on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays, and Sundays:






It’s important to note that the locations above are subject to change. For the most current information, check with the Chicago City Markets.

Thomas Law Offices Wishes You a Safe, Healthy, and Fun Summer

At Thomas Law Offices, our personal injury lawyers are dedicated to helping people when they need it the most. We hope that this summer fun guide helps you make the most of your summer while staying healthy. We understand the COVID-19 pandemic has dramatically changed how everyone operates on a day-to-day basis, but we feel it’s important to safely spend time with the ones you love and enjoy these next few sunny months as much as possible.

Meet Your Team

Tad Thomas - Trial Lawyer

Tad Thomas

Managing Partner

Tad Thomas has dedicated his practice to representing plaintiffs in various types of civil litigation, including personal injury, business litigation, class actions, and multi-district litigation.

After graduating with his law degree in 2000 from Salmon P. Chase College of Law at Northern Kentucky University, Mr. Thomas immediately opened his own private practice and began representing injury victims.

In 2011, Thomas Law Offices was established in Louisville, Kentucky. Over the past decade, Mr. Thomas has expanded his firm and now has offices in three additional locations: Cincinnati, Ohio, Columbia, Missouri, and Chicago, Illinois. He is also a frequent lecturer on topics like trial skills and ethics and technology.

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