Just because the sun goes down, doesn’t mean the fun has to stop for your littles! Summer time nights are when the real magic of summer happens. From late night swims and outdoor concerts to nature after dark programs, Lake County offers a lot to keep your summer nights just as fun as the days. So get out your bug spray, skip that early bedtime and go have some fun this summer.
Catch a movie in the park in Lake County this summer. Starting in June many towns, pools and lakes play movies after dark. Most of the movies are free. Plan on getting to the events around 7:00 p.m. so you can find a spot to put your blanket and lather on some bug spray. Check out Melissa’s list of where you can catch these movies. Another favorite for catching an outdoor movie this summer is the McHenry Outdoor Theater. They have showtimes most nights and are usually new releases. In the fall they play classic movies. Check out Shelby’s review.
Late Night Ice Cream
Go out for ice cream after dinner (or why not have ice cream for dinner instead?). Most ice cream places around here are open until 10:00 p.m. so you can go whenever you want. My favorite is Tastee- Freez in Grayslake, but check out our listing of the fan favorites in the area.
Get your splash on after the sun goes down. During select nights some pools stay open late allowing water lovers to splash in the dark. For example, the Antioch Aqua Center keeps the pool open until 9:30 p.m. most Wednesdays. In addition, some pools such as the Hidden Creek Aqua Park and Mitchell Pool have events at night where you can watch movies while in the pool.
Enjoy sweet summer nights with some music and a sunset. There are many places in Lake County to listen to one of these evening concerts. Many of them are free and all you have to do is bring your blanket and some food. Check out your town to see when their summer concert’s are : Antioch, Barrington, Buffalo Grove, Deerfield, Gurnee, Hawthorn Woods,Lake Bluff, Lake Forest, Lindenhurst,Mundelein, Wauconda, Waukegan, Vernon Hills, and Zion.
Other options for twilight concerts include shows at Ravinia which has concerts available on a variety of times and days. Ravinia charges per person; however, many classical concerts this year are not charging admission for kids.
My personal favorite summer concert venue is Independence Grove. Independence Grove has concerts every Tuesday and each car is charged only $6. I have gone every week this summer (and really want to try their alcoholic snowcones!)
Summer Cruise Nights
At Summer Cruise Nights, enjoy walking around and admiring a grand array of fun cars. These are events the whole family will enjoy from your 80-year-old grandfather to your teenage brother to your two year old. Most car nights are free but have food and drinks available for purchase. Check out when your town hosts one:Barrington, Hawthorn Woods, Lake Zurich, Libertyville, Mundelein, Wauconda, Vernon Hills .
Summer nights are perfect times to scope out some stars. This can be done from your own backyard. Grab a telescope and binoculars and talk with the kids about stars. My son now knows all about the Big Dipper and the Little Dipper thanks to this! Want to learn more? The Volo Bog has free astronomy nights at 9:30 p.m. the third Friday of every month where you can view and learn more about stars. Also check out your local library, the Lake County Astronomical Society hosts a monthly stargazing night at different libraries, some even rent out how powered scopes!
More and more farmers markets are staying open later giving more time for working families to attend. Some markets like as Hawthorn Woods and Highwood are open until as late as 8:00 p.m. or 9:00 p.m. . Check out our listing to see which other ones are open late.
Great America is the perfect place to go in the evening with the whole family. They are open until 10:00 p.m. most nights and have a firework show every Friday night. The best part is they will hopefully fall asleep during the car ride home. Check out our kid’s guide to Great America!
Pajama Story Time
Bedtime stories in bed are over rated. Check one out at a library or bookstore near you. Places like Cook Library and Deer Park Barnes & Noble host them regularly and you’re welcome to drop in for some stories in your pajamas.
For what will you be skipping bedtime this summer??