Cascade Drive-In

Cascade Drive-In


Micro Brew Review

Oak Park
8/18, 3 to 7 p.m.

Sample 100 craft brews from more than 50 microbreweries at the Midwest’s “largest zero waste beer fest.” Don’t miss the Replicale project, featuring one beer style made by 15 different brewers to highlight nuances. Marion Street in downtown Oak Park, 708-660-9909; tickets online from $45


Cascade Drive-In

West Chicago
Open daily June through August

Pack your cooler, lawn chairs, and sleeping bags for a summer night at the drive-in, where sweet nostalgia includes a double feature, retro cartoons, and cheap eats at the concession stand. 1100 E. North Ave., 630-231-3150; $9 for adults, $5 for children 5 to 11


Vintage Rides

Fridays through 8/31, 6:30 to 9 p.m.

Steps from the Metra station, Wheaton’s historic downtown lures people out to the public square with loads of antique and muscle cars, popcorn, and ice cream. Make a night of it with dinner on the pretty garden patio at Ivy (120 N. Hale St., 630-665-2489; entrées from $15.95). Front and Main Streets, 630-682-0633; free



Wood Dale

In a mash-up that brings to mind the disco-bowling trend, TopGolf combines a three-story outdoor driving range with a bar, restaurant, rooftop lounge, and live music on Fridays. Of course, the golfing is completely automated: Whack your balls into the night and allow the embedded microchips to tabulate your score instantly. 699 W. Thorndale Ave., 630-595-4653; $35 for unlimited play


Lake Ellyn Cardboard Regatta

Glen Ellyn
6/30, noon

Thousands congregate on the shores of Lake Ellyn to watch competitors set afloat homemade cardboard boats and race to the finish. It’s a mad spectacle—extravagant vessels that sink are the best. Bring your binoculars. Lake Ellyn Park, 645 Lenox Rd.; free for spectators


Taste of Melrose Park

Melrose Park
8/31 to 9/2

Why travel to the burbs for yet another food fest? Trust us—this is the one if you love Italian food, with 80 booths and each dish priced at $3 or less. Don’t miss the doughnuts—called sfingi—hand-rolled by the nuns at the Missionary Sisters of St. Charles Borromeo. 1000 N. 25th Ave., 708-343-4000; free admission


Arlington Park Race Track

Arlington Heights
Through 9/30

Honest-to-God horseracing right in our backyard. Take an afternoon off and cheer on a thoroughbred—or place a wager for as little as $2. Ride Metra to the park for an even easier outing. 2200 W. Euclid Ave., 847-870-7223; admission $4 to $18


Farm Dinners

7/18, 8/15, and 9/5, 5 to 8 p.m.

Feast on family-style dishes prepared by chef Cleetus Friedman of City Provisions, while sitting under the grape arbor in the Chicago Botanic Garden’s beautiful Regenstein Fruit & Vegetable Garden. 1000 Lake Cook Rd., 847-835-5440; $200 per person



6/29 to 7/3

All those neighborhood rib fests pale in comparison with the biggest, baddest around. Arrive at Knoch Park early to nab a spot; then take your time wandering from BBQ booth to BBQ booth. This year, the Steve Miller Band and ZZ Top headline. 724 S. West St.,; tickets from $10


Independence Grove


This rock-quarry-turned-forest-preserve features a 115-acre lake with boat rentals (from $8), phenomenal fishing, seven miles of trails, a swimming beach, and summer concerts at an outdoor amphitheater. Sold! 16400 W. Buckley Rd., 847-968-3499; $5 parking

Alex Garcia/Chicago Tribune