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5 Ways to Make the Most of Chicago on Memorial Day

Traditionally, Memorial Day is a time to honor military members of the past and present. It’s also become known as the start of summer. In Chicago, that means spending weekends at the beach or at local patio hotspots. What’s the best way to celebrate this momentous occasion? Here are five ways to mark the beginning of the season and honor veterans contributions to our country.
Photo by the U.S. Army

1. Do the Memorial Day Ridge Run


Start your day off at the 2019 Memorial Day Ridge Run. This event includes a 10K, 5K and a youth mile that garners over 3,000 runners. The route winds through the Beverly and Morgan Park neighborhoods where runners experience ample community support as people cheer and hand out water along the way. Some people even play live music to give athletes a boost as they jog past. The race begins at Ridge Park at 9625 S. Longwood Drive and returns to the same location via looping routes throughout the area.

2. Visit the Memorial Day Parade


Next, head to the Norwood Park Memorial Day Parade on Monday, May 27. This unique event began in 1922 and honors veterans past and present. The parade route starts at Onahahn School before going West on Raven and finishing after the railroad tracks in Avondale at Centennial Park gardens. Then, it goes south at East Circle, east at Ardmore, South at Natoma and finally finishes at Taft High School where the Taft Eagles Choir & Taft Drums and Bugle Corp. perform during a flag raising. Kids love this event where they can see musical guests, interact with vets in uniform and catch candy from passing floats.

Photo by Whitney

3. Go Boating


Boating is a quintessential way to kickoff a Chicago summer. Head to any of the 10 city harbors located along 14 miles of top-notch lakeshore, and you can watch boats fill up their slips for the first time. Here, you’ll find cruising pontoon boats, catamaran sailboats and wakeboarding craft alike. To get a taste of life on the water, go to Navy Pier to catch a ride on the Tall Ship Windy, a 148-foot four-masted gaff topsail schooner. This traditional vessel comes equipped with a pirate crew and is a great way to spend some family time this holiday! To captain your own ship, rent a pontoon or small electric cruiser on the Chicago River or try paddling a rental kayak from China Town at Ping Tom Memorial Park. Whichever option you choose, pack some snacks and sunscreen to facilitate a memorable Memorial Day!

Photo by Jun Seita

4. Host a BBQ


No matter what Chicago neighborhood you visit, the mouthwatering aroma of barbecue radiates from yards all over the city. If you have a personal outdoor space, set up a smoker and cook up some tasty slow-roasted pork. Those without access to their own outdoor space may visit the beach to post up at a communal grill or bring along a small charcoal one. Check with the Chicago Park District ahead of time to avoid getting in trouble for lighting up in a no-fire zone.

5. Volunteer with Local Veterans Organizations


While people often think of Memorial Day as a celebration of summer, it’s important to remember it’s original meaning: remembering and honoring individuals who have served and are serving in the U.S. military. To get involved, consider volunteering with a veterans organization. Many offer fun family-friendly activities in the weeks leading up to the holiday to show local vets their appreciation. Chicago Veterans is just one of many city groups that are always looking for volunteers to help with fundraising, community outreach and events. The organization offers peer mentorship, employment readiness prep, and community building to empower veterans and provide education and employment resources.

Move to Chicago to Enjoy it All Year Round


If you’re on the hunt for your next home, consider moving to Chicago to enjoy it’s many cultural events, foods and communities all year round. The KlopasStratton team is on-hand to show off some top neighborhoods like Gold Coast, Wicker Park and West Town to help you find the perfect house or apartment. Contact the local team to set up a showing today!


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5 Ways to Make the Most of Chicago on Memorial Day