All in a Day: Summer’s Best Finds
Chicago during the summer is something to behold. The city has defrosted from the winter’s deep freeze which, as any native Chicagoan knows, lasts until approximately mid-June. Ok, I may be exaggerating slightly, but the long winters we have here really mean that we milk everything we can from the summer months- am I right?
The only problem is that sometimes the activities that we’re bombarded with during the summer aren’t exactly the…healthiest. Beer gardens, anyone? 10¢ buffalo wings? Don’t mind if I do! Chicago is a town that can, at times, revolve around drink specials and greasy pub fare for cheap. For those of us on a budget (don’t lie to me, friends- I see you out there looking at me from across the interweb, nodding sheepishly) these deals are easy and tempting. And they’re great to take advantage of- once and a while.
Lately, I’ve been struggling with the fact that during the past few years these temptations have become all too commonplace in my routine. So I’ve set out to find things around town that are either cheap or free and won’t bust my waistline and- dare I say- make me feel good instead of hungover?
This Saturday, with the sun shining and my sneaks strapped on my feet I did just that. First up was the Lincoln Park Farmers Market.
Lucky for me, the market is only about a mile from where I live. So, I ran there! Walking in the summer is definitely the way to go. It’s free and you don’t have to worry about parking (which is scarce around the farmers market, let me tell you). The farmers market is fun (there are bands) and you can always find something new and exciting to try! I found these cool peaches:
And bought this bread:
That turned into pretty rockin’ French toast:
Later, I took advantage of the street festivals that are abundant around this time of the year. I hit up Summer on Southport for some concerts and revelry.
Now, street festivals can very quickly turn into indulgent ventures thanks to the plethora of beer tents and fried food, BUT- there are good options, too! Here are my tips:
1. Don’t go with the intention of eating and drinking. Think of street fests as a way to hear fun music and enjoy a nice day!
2. If there are games or free samples, take advantage. At Summer on Southport, there were tons of tents set up giving away free stuff- and most of it was health conscious! There was a Kashi tent, an Ocean Spray tent:
And my favorite: a Clif Z bar booth! These kid-sized versions of Clif bars in flavors like Chocolate Chip and Chocolate Brownie are totally organic and I love them. I’m aware that I’m an adult and these are meant for kids, but they’re so good! I beelined for the booth and the sweet girl working at it threw a ton of free samples in my bag!
She was officially my favorite person of the day. After eating one of my samples, we listened to some bands play and enjoyed the great atmosphere and warm weather.
The grand total for the day: $12! And it wasn’t difficult!
I had a great day, took advantage of the city, walked a lot (and even ran a little!) and my head hit the pillow that night knowing that I had made the most of my day without blowing a ton of cash.
Megan is a 20-something professional who lives in Chicago and blogs about her daily adventures in healthy living on her Blog Braise The Roof. After graduating college in 2006, she moved back to the city and has been navigating the choppy waters of balancing having fun with friends, enjoying a beer (or two) and staying active ever since! She hopes that through her blog other young people will see that it is possible to live well on a budget and still have fun.