// SUMMER OF LUXE
FROM DINING À DEUX AT THE TIPPY-TOP OF THE LONDON HOUSE TO CRUISING OVER ILLINOIS FARMLAND IN A PRIVATE HOT-AIR BALLOON, EIGHT WAYS TO HAVE THE SUMMER OF YOUR WILDEST DREAMS IN CHICAGO.
From dining at the tippy-top of the Londonhouse to cruising in a private hot-air balloon, eight ways to have the Chicago summer of your wildest dreams.
Summer in Chicago is heaven on any budget—but when money is no object, it can be downright life-changing. To take the season over the top, indulge in these eight ultimate Windy City experiences.
1. BY LAND AND BY AIR: Meet
four of your BFFS for a catered happy hour by the river at the Chicago City Winery, then board a boat for a private hour-long voyage along the south branch of the Chicago River. Once you’re done gazing up at the canyon of historic buildings, look down on the city’s landmarks during a crazy-cool skyline tour courtesy of Chicago Helicopter Experience. $4,000 for up to five passengers; chetours.com Cross sailing the Great Lakes off your bucket list. The all-balcony Pearl Mist hosts just 200 passengers per trip (book Category R, whose state rooms clock in at 425 square feet, not counting the balcony), and hits ports of call like Mackinac Island, Niagara Falls, and Georgian Bay during its 11-night sailings. On board, expect upscale cuisine and sophisticated entertainment. The best part? You’ll never need to board a plane, and you’ll only unpack once. $5,180– $10,000 per person; greatlakescruising.com
3. FLOAT ABOVE THE CLOUDS:
A town car will pick two of you up just before dawn to make the 50-mile journey to Hampshire’s Nostalgia Ballooning facility. Join the team as they inflate your personal flotation device, then hop into the basket and soar above the tree line, the patchwork of farmland, and the fluffy clouds. Expect to cover five to seven miles at an altitude of 2,000 feet—from which, on a clear day, you can see Lake Michigan and the spires of Willis Tower. An hour later, celebrate on solid ground with a Champagne toast. Balloon ride plus car service for two, $1,496; nostalgiaballooning.com
4. GLAMPING IN THE CITY:
Chicago Parks Foundation brings back last summer’s popular Camp Northerly— the only opportunity to camp (legally) in style in the city’s beloved parks. Just 200 campers arrive to pre-pitched tents at Northerly Island Park then spend the evening dining family-style, sipping Goose Island beer, swaying to live music around a campfire, and playing glow-in-thedark bocce. In the morning, Dark Matter coffee, Beermosas, and a hot breakfast provide fuel for sunrise yoga and paddleboarding. The cleanup? It’s taken care of. August 11; $250 for two; chicagoparksfoundation.org
Ravinia’s Lawncierge program is one of our top ways to turn your summer up to 11. 68