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I recently had the opportunity to attend another perennial Chicago event that is reminiscent of summertime in Chicago: the Ravinia Festival.

Ravinia is a music festival that lasts throughout the summer.  Conveniently accessible by train (there is a Metra stop that allows commuters to get off right at the park), it is a nice place to visit in the Chicagoland area that’s outside of the downtown city center.  Every day during the summer a different musical group or musician performs, and so every day there are new acts to see and new music to experience.

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Part of the fun of Ravinia is that there are two seating options: there is a pavilion seating area located very close to the stage for those who would like a traditional concert experience.  Behind that (and throughout the entire Ravinia park) is a huge lawn, where you can bring your own lawn chairs, blankets, food, and drinks to have a picnic experience while you listen to the show.  Lawn tickets are typically around $10, so they are affordable even for college students.

The night I attended, Idina Menzel was performing (her claim to fame began with her role as Maureen in Rent, followed by her lead performance as Alphaba in Wicked).  Backing her up was the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, which is the finest orchestra in Chicago.  It was a beautiful evening and a wonderful concert.

Ravinia is one of many great places in the Chicago area to check out during the summer.  It’s truly a cultural treasure.