Chicago Summer Adventure Guide

by Justyna Frank

We created this Chicago Summer Adventure Guide in order to dispel the notion that worthwhile life experiences must involve international travel, significant investment and considerable allotment of time. Summers often seem short, and sometimes wishing for conditions to fall into perfect alignment so that we feel we can get away from it all keeps many of us from embracing adventure right now. All you need is a pair of hiking shoes or a bicycle, a handful of well-designed, compact accessories, and your own power, to leave routine behind and enjoy exhilaration, freedom and nature within literally minutes. Every week! We hope this guide will serve as your springboard.


  • Adventure Planning 101
  • Preliminary route planning and research:
    • TraiLink by Rails To Trails Conservancy lets you search bike trails by location, length, and other criteria. For a small annual subscription fee you gain access to offline trail maps which you can download before you embark on your next journey.
    • Alltrails is another good app for doing preliminary trails research and download maps for offline use.
    • Real Maps! For imagining adventures, and getting the bird’s eye view of your planned destination, there’s no substitute for topographic maps. While they may be too bulky to carry along on a hike or bike ride, they are invaluable in the planning stages of the trip.

Sample Local Destinations


Here are some ideas for tiny outings when you only have a few hours:



Packing Lists

Featuring our favorite outdoor gear for adventures of any size.

Food & Recipes

Note on Affiliate Links

Cosmic Bikes, our family-run small business, depends on local customer transactions, and –like all small local retailers– we feel intense pressure from the internet resellers. It is far from anything resembling an even playing field. We can’t possibly stock and shelve the innumerable variety of wonderful outdoor products available online.

To address this, we’ve partnered with a network of manufacturers and suppliers of products we love and use, so that we can refer those products through our blog. This partnership allows us to recommend a wider range of options to our customers than we could ever physically stock. We’re quite sure you’ll recognize the names below as some of the most reputable suppliers of outdoor gear.

Some of the links you see here, and at other places on this blog, will take you to our own website, but others are affiliate links. If you happen to like any of our recommendations well enough to purchase the product through the link we provide, we earn a small commission from your sale, which does not affect the price you pay for the product. Please see our complete Affiliate Disclosure for more details.

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