Free Bee, Great Outdoors

Go play in the street: Open Streets Chicago!

We all remember playing some sort of game… and losing your ball or your frisbee in the street. It’s not fun. And sometimes we’re still as uncoordinated as adults. Thank goodness Chicago gets that.

On two separate dates and locations in September, Chicago has a fun new initiative that opens the streets up for us to play— yes, play! Everything from rock climbing to Zumba to a bike checkout and Bollywood. It’s called Open Streets Chicago and we’re SO there. Here are highlights from each event:

Dunking Booth

Dunking Booth (Photo credit: hectorir)

Sept 8, 10am-3pm in the Loop, mostly on State or Monroe

REI Rock Climbing Wall & Photo Booth
Test your strength at the REI portable rock climbing wall, and then have your photo taken for free in front of scenic backdrops.

People Spot (all ages)

Grab a spot on one of our “pop-up lawns” in the middle of State Street. Read a book, watch the action or take a nap without the everyday traffic and noise.

CorePower yoga instructors will lead you through poses and breathing exercises. A new class starts every hour. Stand like a tree, reach for the sun and feel the stress melt away.

Bike Checkout
It’s free to borrow a bike for one hour, compliments of Bike and Roll Chicago. Get mobile while exploring all that Open Streets in the Loop has to offer.

Bike Repair
Need your brakes tweaked or your tire pressure topped off? Get your bike serviced for free by professional bike mechanics from Columbia C4 Cycling or Kozy’s Cyclery.

Dunking Booth (ages 14+)
Settle the score the old-fashioned way—by sending someone splashing into 500 gallons of water. Practice your pitching beforehand, and be sure to invite your friends. (Minors must bring legal guardians.)

Watch three different kinds of fencing demonstrations, presented by the local RedStar Fencing Club: foil, sabre, and epée.

People Jam: Chromatics
Enjoy eight different dance routines throughout the day choreographed specifically for Color Jam, the monumental art installation at Adams and State Streets. Mixed in with performances will be opportunities for the observers to learn some new dance moves.

Chalk Art
People of all ages are invited to draw a picture or tell a story on the street with colorful chalk.

These fast, fun classes combine dance and exercise moves everyone can enjoy. Zumba is propelled by Latin and international beats.

Shoot hoops with players from DePaul University’s men’s and women’s basketball teams.


Sept 16, 10am-3pm in Wicker Park/Bucktown, on Milwaukee

10 a.m. to noon

  • 10 – 10:45 a.m. Open skate for all
  • 10:15 – 11 a.m. Fencing demo
  • 10:15 – 10:45 a.m. Yoga instruction
  • 10:30 a.m. Bollywood Groove
  • 10:45 – 11:15 a.m. Skate demo
  • 11 a.m. Bollywood Groove
  • 11:15 a.m. – 12 p.m. Open skate jam with all riders
  • 11:15 a.m. – 12 p.m. Fencing demo
  • 11:15 – 11:45 a.m. Yoga instruction
  • 11:30 a.m. Bollywood Groove

Noon to 3 p.m.

  • 12 – 12:45 p.m. Open skate for all
  • 12 p.m. Bollywood Groove
  • 12:15 – 12:45 p.m. Yoga instruction
  • 12:15 – 1 p.m. Fencing demo
  • 12:30 p.m. Bollywood Groove
  • 12:45 – 1:15 p.m. Skate demo
  • 1 p.m. Bollywood Groove
  • 1:15 – 2 p.m. Final open skate for all
  • 1:15 – 1:45 p.m. Yoga instruction
  • 1:15 – 2 p.m. Fencing demo
  • 1:30 p.m. Bollywood Groove
  • 2 p.m. Bollywood Groove
  • 2:15 – 3 p.m. Fencing demo
  • 2:15 – 2:45 p.m. Yoga instruction
  • 2:30 p.m. Bollywood Groove