CHICAGO — Go forest bathing, learn how to birdwatch and identify native plants, and meet up with local bike, hike and climb groups and more this month.
Here are 15 outdoor community-led events happening in the city this June:
Friday, June 2–Sunday, June 18 | 9 a.m.
Depart from various daily starting points
Hike with the crew from The Outerbelt, a local hiking meet-up group that charted Chicago’s first thru-hike (a multi-day or week journey on a long-distance trail) that makes a 210-mile loop around the city. Over 20 days, the group will hike bite-sized chunks of the full route that links the Chicago Forest Preserves and urban green spaces. Meet up at different starting points throughout June and hike the entire Outerbelt loop or join in on individual section hikes. No registration required; meet at various daily starting points (more info under the “About Us” section).
Saturday, June 3 | 9:30 a.m.
Depart from Burnham Harbor, 1559 S. Lake Shore Drive
Women, femme, non-binary and trans-identifying bikers are invited to ride with Femmes + Themmes, an accessible and empowering community of bikers. Riders can choose between three route options: a 7.5-mile route ending at the 61st Street Farmer’s Market, a 15-mile ride ending at the 8th Street Fountain in Grant Park, or a 24-mile ride ending at Metropolitan Brewing. No registration required; meet at Burnham Harbor.
Saturday, June 3 | 11 a.m.–4 p.m.
Departs from Bobby’s Bike Hike, 540 N. Lake Shore Drive
Ride bikes and support Black-owned businesses across the city with local outdoor adventure group, Outsider Chicago. The ride departs from Bobby’s Bike Hike (where you can rent a bike if you need one) and travels around various neighborhoods with stops at local businesses along the way. Enjoy free post-ride drinks too, courtesy of Fat Tire. Reserve your spot for $15 online.
Saturday, June 3 | 12 p.m.–4 p.m.
Maggie Daley Park, 337 E. Randolph St.
The Chicagoland Adaptive Climbing Expo brings together the beginner and lifelong adaptive climbers. The partner event between Adaptive Adventures, Synergy Adaptive Athletics, and the Shirley Ryan Ability Lab will showcase adaptive climbing methods and equipment and celebrate accomplishments and camaraderie among Chicago’s adaptive climbing community. RSVP for $5 online.
Sunday, June 4 | 1 p.m.–3 p.m.
Washington Park Fieldhouse, 5531 S. King Drive
Identify native birds and plants on a guided nature walk with Brown People Foundation and Feminist Bird Club Chicago, followed by a reflective journaling session. Both groups aim to promote inclusivity in birding and the outdoors, while also fundraising and providing a safe space in the outdoors for BIPOC and LGBGTQ+ folks. RSVP free online.
Monday, June 5 | 7 p.m.–9 p.m.
First Ascent Block 37, 108 N. State St. (Suite 420)
Come climb with the Asian Climbing Collective at First Ascent Block 37, a local climbing gym in the Loop. This beginner-friendly climbing event is open to Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) community members. All ages and experience levels are welcome. No registration required; $15 for non-members of First Ascent at the door.
Tuesday, June 6 | 7:30 p.m.–10 p.m.
Meditation Point, 5800 N. Lake Shore Drive (near east edge of Kathy Osterman Beach)
Hang with fellow city-based bikers around the bonfire. Hosted by local bikepacking group, Out Our Front Door, this month’s hang is at Meditation Point in Edgewater near Hollywood Beach. These monthly meetups continue all summer long at parks, taprooms and community spaces around the city. No registration required; meet at Meditation Point.
Saturday, June 10 | 10 a.m.–11 a.m.
Lincoln Park North Pond, 2610 N. Cannon Drive
Slow down and smell the wildflowers! Explore one of Chicago’s largest urban parks with the Lincoln Park Conservancy as you take a guided group walk around Lincoln Park’s North Pond. Along the way, you’ll learn about the city’s native plants along the way with fellow nature lovers. Reserve your spot for free online.
Saturday, June 10–Sunday, June 11 | 8:30 a.m.–5 p.m.
Ford Calumet Environmental Center, 11555 S. Stony Island Ave.
Injuries happen when exploring the outdoors. Get prepared to treat, manage and avoid injury in remote settings at this intensive SOLO Wilderness First Aid (WFA) training. In partnership with local outdoor nonprofit Chicago Adventure Therapy, this introductory course will help you develop decision-making and management skills to address common backcountry injuries. Reserve your spot for $325 online.
Saturday, June 17 | 10 a.m.–12 p.m.
South Shore Nature Sanctuary, 7059 S. South Shore Drive
Participate in volunteer stewardship at the South Shore Nature Sanctuary, a 6-acre natural area and urban wilderness preserve on the South Side. Future volunteer stewardship days fall on the third Saturday of each month. All ages and abilities are welcome to join. Volunteers should bring a water bottle and weather-appropriate clothing, and tools and gloves will be provided. No registration required; meet at the nature sanctuary entrance.
Saturday, June 17 | 11 a.m.–3 p.m.
Big Marsh Park, 11559 S. Stony Island Ave.
The innagural Big Marsh Park Arts Festival celebrates Chicago’s local artists and urban nature. At this South Side community event, connect with local makers and creators, join workshops and explore trails throughout the park on foot or by bike. Food will be available at Big Marsh Park’s brand new Nature Trail Café. Interested sponsors and instructors can reach out to Friends of Big Marsh for collaboration. No registration required; meet at Big Marsh Park.
Sunday, June 18 | 11 a.m.–1 p.m.
Electric Gnat Ranch, Address TBD, Libertyville
Take a slow wander through the woods and celebrate Pride. This guided forest bathing experience, a traditional Japanese practice in forest meditation and mindfulness, is family-friendly and open as a safe space for all queer and trans persons. After the guided walk, enjoy tea, snacks, and connecting with other families. Reserve your spot online; $32 per adult and free for youth under 17.
Wednesday, June 21 | 6 p.m.
Departs from Replay Lakeview, 3439 N. Halsted St.
Combine bike riding and community action with Cruise Chicago, a group that nods to the historical queer connection in the spaces often considered foreign and unknown. Cruise Chicago community members also have access to the complimentary “Cruise Community Bike Share”, an initiative implemented to remove the barriers of accessibility to the Cruise experience for those without bikes. Reserve your spot online.
Sunday, June 25 | 1 p.m.–2:30 p.m.
Washington Park, 5030 S. King Drive
Are you into history and also curious about identifying native and migratory birds in Chicago? Join the Bronzeville Historical Society and local author, activist and African American historian, Sherry Williams, to learn about birds who call Washington Park home and the history of the neighborhood. Williams will provide narratives on these local birds and an accompanying history tour during the guided bird watching experience. Reserve your spot for $25 online.
Tuesday, June 27 | 6 p.m.–8 p.m.
Bitter Pops, 3357 N. Lincoln Ave.
Meet up with other folks who live in the city and love the outdoors at the Mappy Hour Chicago Monthly Mixer. Come prepared to look at local hiking and biking trail maps, talk about upcoming adventures, learn about where to explore urban nature in and around Chicago and meet new outdoorsy friends. Plus, enjoy Bitter Pop’s $6 Courage Lager on draft all evening. Reserve your spot for free online.
Listen to “It’s All Good: A Block Club Chicago Podcast”: