CHICAGO — Hike and climb while making new friends, stand-up paddle board on Lake Michigan and explore the city by bike and more this month.
Here are 15 outdoor community-led events happening in the city in August:
4 p.m. Saturday
BFF Bikes, 7059 S. South Shore Drive
Roll out with Femmes + Thems, an accessible and empowering community of women, femme, non-binary and/or trans-identifying bikers. The Femmes + Thems team will lead the ride at a casual 10-12 miles per hour and stick together on each segment of the route. Riders can choose between three route options: 9 miles to Portage Park, 15 miles to the WMS Boat House at Clark Park or 22 miles to Chicago Brewing District’s “Dancing in the Streets” festival. No registration required; meet at BFF Bikes.
10:30 a.m.–10 p.m. Saturday
Navy Pier (North Beer Garden), 700 E. Grand Ave.
Watch some of the best climbers compete head-to-head in deepwater solo climbing, where athletes will race up a 55-foot high wall without ropes, on identical routes, with only Lake Michigan waters to break their fall. The North Face Climb Festival is free to the public and aims to unite longtime and new climbing enthusiasts and urban explorers across sport, culture and community. Can’t attend? You can also watch a livestream of the competition online. No registration required.
6–7:30 p.m. Aug. 8
Chicago SUP, 1601 N. Lake Shore Drive
Stand-up paddle board on Lake Michigan and enjoy tacos after with Chicago SUP. Your ticket includes equipment rental, a brief intro lesson to stand-up paddle boarding and tacos from Cilantro Taco Grill. This recurring summer event is beginner and seasoned-paddler friendly and open to individuals or groups. Reserve your spot for $40 online.
2-8 p.m. Aug. 11
Four Star Family Cyclery, 3101 W. Diversey Ave.
Bike families, this one’s for you. Head over to Four Star Family Cyclery in Logan Square specializing in kid’s bikes, cargo and electric bikes. The event will include free raffles for swag and kid-friendly activities like sidewalk chalk. Curious about cargo bikes and how you can use them to carry everything from your groceries to your kids? The Four Star Family Cyclery bike shop team will be there to answer questions and show off a fleet of cargo bikes. No registration required.
9 a.m.–4 p.m. Aug. 12–13
TBD; multiple starting points
Roll out with 100 new bike friends and Out Our Front Door, a biking nonprofit that leads adventures in and around the city while immersing and educating riders in local history and nature. Head out on Saturday, Aug. 12 for a 25–40 mile ride to Camp Shabonna Woods campground (depending on where you depart from) for a two-day camping adventure by bike. During the day, explore by bike on your ride and then by foot around the campground. At night, enjoy live music around the bonfire. Camping gear is not provided, but a van is available to carry gear if needed at no additional cost. Dinner and beverages will be provided. Buy tickets online; $100 for adults, $50 for kids.
11 a.m. Aug.
Northerly Island Park, 1521 S. Linn White Drive
This community hiking group for plus-sized hikers celebrates body diversity and promotes body liberation on chill walks in and around Chicago. Leaders say attendees can “talk all-things-fat-liberation-and-body-love while taking in the fresh air and gorgeous scenery” during the meet-up. For more details on the event, RSVP online by creating a meetup account and requesting to attend.
2:30-5:30 p.m. Aug. 12
Chicago SUP, 1601 N. DuSable Lake Shore Drive
Can’t make the Chicago SUP taco night on Aug. 8? Here’s your chance to get on the board on Lake Michigan. Adventure by SUP with Outsiders Chicago, a meetup group that organizes outdoor adventures in and around the city. Afterward, head to a local eatery for drinks, food, and new friends. Transportation provided with ticket price. Reserve your spot for $70 online.
10 a.m.-noon Aug. 13
Movement (Lincoln Park), 1460 N. Dayton St.
BIPOC climbers are invited to gather and connect at Movement Lincoln Park for a community climb. With a mission to diversify Chicago’s climbing community, Sending in Color strives to create an inclusive climbing community and industry by implementing justice, equity, diversity and inclusion principles to break down barriers of accessibility for all Black, Indigenous, and people of color in the sport. They also focus on facilitating and creating open education spaces to introduce new BIPOC climbers to the sport and the outdoors. Register in advance online or pay at the door; free for Movement gym members, $12 for non-members.
5:30 p.m. Aug. 15
Depart from Bridgeport (intersection of 35th and Shields)
Cubs and Sox fans who love to bike, this ride’s for you. Join the Chicago Bike Sox, a community bike group that rides to Sox games all season long, for a special Crosstown Ride to watch the Sox and Cubs go head-to-head at Wrigley. This pace-inclusive, guided ride will start in Bridgeport and end at Wrigley Field. No registration required. Keep up with details about the ride on Instagram.
11 a.m. Aug. 19
Event location and details will be shared directly with registrants
Join Outdoor Afro Chicago & NW Indiana for a book discussion in partnership with Black Girls Read Chicago. The group will gather for a casual conversation about “Soil: The Story of a Black Mother’s Garden” and memories, curiosities and/or current experiences with attendees’ gardens. Outdoor Afro celebrates and inspires Black connections and leadership in nature. For more details on the event, RSVP online by creating a meetup account and requesting to attend.
6-10 p.m. Aug. 19
Boulevard across from St. Agatha Church, 3147 W. Douglas Blvd.
Ride for peace with Boxing Out Negativity, a non-profit that empowers at-risk youth to realize the best within themselves in a safe and supportive environment. The 9-mile group bike ride will slow roll through Chicago’s West side. A community expo beforehand from 6-8 p.m. will feature free music and snacks. All attendees are encouraged to light up their bikes with glow sticks, reflectors and lights. Register free online; meet at the boulevard across from the church.
2 p.m. Aug. 20
Patagonia (Mag Mile), 48 E. Walton St.
Grab some gelato and support, learn about and mingle with local environmental nonprofits at the Patagonia Chicago store on the Mag Mile. Local nonprofits featured this month include LVEJO, which organizes community members on environmental justice initiatives in Little Village and supports immigrant, low-income and working-class families in the process, and Gardeneers, which works with Chicago’s South and West side schools and communities to contribute positively to the larger food system. No registration required; gelato and giveaways available on a first-come, first-served basis.
10 a.m.-2 p.m. Aug. 20
The Wild Mile, 905 W. Eastman St.
Join local river conservation and restoration group, Urban Rivers, for a free community kayak day. In partnership with REI in Lincoln Park, paddlers can see The Wild Mile from the river, spot native and urban wildlife, and take a relaxing paddle on the Chicago River. No registration required; kayaks available on a first-come, first-serve basis.
7-9 p.m. Aug. 24
Big Marsh Park, 11559 S. Stony Island Ave.
Did you know nearly a dozen species of bats call Chicago home? Learn about these flying mammals and the important role they play in our region’s ecosystem at Big Marsh Park on Chicago’s Southeast Side. The free family-friendly program will include a guided hike around the park followed by a naturalist-led talk about these often misunderstood creatures. Reserve your free spot online.
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