Summer has finally arrived, bringing with it scorching days and my favorite – festivals. After literally the coldest winter in Chicago’s record-keeping history. #Chiberia is now finally gone. My ode to you summer: I promise to never complain about how humid or sweaty or crazy hot you are because you are just so much better than your damn devil-brother, winter.
Seasonal transitions also bring changes. After two and a half years, one of my best friends decided to end a relationship. No matter what, break-ups suck. There’s really only one thing you can do to even begin to heal: spend the entire weekend traipsing around the city! What better weekend than DO DIVISION weekend!
Summer is festival season in Chicago (obviously due to weather limitations in other seasons). On any given weekend, you can find a festival. From ribfest to music fests to Puerto Rican fest, every culture in this incredibly diverse city is celebrated. Click here for a full schedule of Chicago’s festivals. I fully suggest planning your trip to Chicago around a festival that interests you! The best part? All showcase great food, local designers and condone day-drinking on city streets.
I live in Wicker Park. The neighborhood that 10 years ago was rife with gang violence and was inhabited only by the true and the brave hipsters. They protested when Starbucks came, attempting to savor the local neighborhood feel, but eventually became overthrown by young, yuppie families and lululemon-wearing twenty-somethings.
There is no other neighborhood I would rather live in. My apartment is spacious; I live three blocks from the El; and I live smack dab in between four rocking streets filled with some of the best (and cheapest restaurants, bars and boutique shops. Has it gone a bit mainstream? Sure. But I see a handlebar mustache, tattooed arms and red chucks every time I walk out my door.
One of the best AND worst things about this neighborhood are the festivals. It’s the best because I can walk out my door, meander a few blocks over and find myself in the middle of on of the best festivals in Chicago. It’s the worst because during those weekends, I literally cannot find a parking spot to save my life. #firstworldproblems
I will be so sad to leave my apartment next month. With Anuj going to Georgetown for business school and me finagling a way to keep my job until I leave in December, we will have to give up this wonderful apartment in this ever-so-charming neighborhood. Where will I live until I leave, you ask?
Moving home. No rent – yes please. #sacrificesiwillmaketotravel
Back to the weekend with my friend and Do Division. Do Division happens every year during the last weekend of May/first weekend in June. It takes over the Division block between Damen and Leavitt. Apparently it’s family-friendly, but this is not a festival I would bring my kids to. Too many drunk bros out enjoying the open container freedom.
To Do Division like a local, you really need to find a Chicago native who’s hosting a party beforehand. The whole neighborhood is packed for the weekend, so take public transportation (or walk, if you can). The festivals are technically free, but have a suggested donation of $5. I always donate to contribute to keeping the festivals running! Once you arrive, grab a beer and a snack and then go wander! Check out some of the shopping and then kick it on one of the patios if you can find a table. My favorite designer is Nomadic Ant (fitting, right?). I rarely ever purchase anything, but this year, I bought a few fun neon $1 bracelets, and a Great Lakes necklace that I’m kind of obsessed with.
Chicago festivals like Do Division are just one of the many reasons that make Chicago such a great city to live in as a twenty-something.
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