Talk of The Town: June 2024

SUMMER FUN – Near & Far

It’s time to embrace the spirit of summer! Whether you’re meeting friends at a lively street festival, heading to the park for a picnic, or planning a trip, this season is all about making memories. So, this month Talk of the Town is diving into summer fun, from the local scene to some far-off wonders.

What Is A UNESCO World Heritage Site?

Since 1972, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) has been compiling a list of cultural and natural properties of “outstanding universal value.” Known as the World Heritage List, these are not just really cool places to visit. Indeed, the nearly 200 nations who have signed onto the World Heritage Convention are treaty-bound to protect their World Heritage Sites. Thanks to their World Heritage designation, a proposed dam above Victoria Falls was never built and pressure was exerted to halt a highway near the Great Pyramids.

There are many world travelers who plan trips specifically to see some of the nearly 1,200 UNESCO World Heritage Sites: The Taj Mahal, Acropolis, Stonehenge and Great Barrier Reef are among the most popular bucket-list destinations.

But you don’t need to go far to see a World Heritage Site. Less than 300 miles south of Chicago, Cahokia Mounds State Historic Site is the largest pre-Columbian settlement north of Mexico. It is an excellent example of a complex agricultural society that flourished 1,000 years ago.

The 20th-Century Architecture of Frank Lloyd Wright is a World Heritage Site consisting of eight buildings including the Guggenheim Museum in New York and Taliesin, the architect’s Wisconsin home. Here in the Chicago area, the World Heritage-designated sites are Unity Temple in Oak Park and the Fredreick C. Robie House in Hyde Park.

A Festival For Every Taste

Chicagoland’s summer calendar is jam-packed with festivals. Whether you go for the food, drinks, vendors or bands, summer festivals promise good times with friends and family. They’re also a great way to experience the region’s kaleidoscope of cultures.

Our curated festival list is just a snap shot of the many different festivals that you can enjoy this summer, including some you might not be as familiar with, from the Western Suburbs and downtown to Lake County and the North Shore!

  • St. Sophia Elgin Greek Festival, Jun 7-9, Elgin: Enjoy music and dancing, a variety of savory and sweet Greek foods, the “Plaka Marketplace,” and activities for the kids.
  • Warrenville Multicultural Festival, Jun 8, Warrenville: A variety of food trucks and performing arts groups will showcase global cultures including Korean, Indian, Filipino, Mexican and Irish.
  • Lake County Pride Fest, Jun 8, Round Lake Beach: Now in its 4th year, this family-friendly outdoor festival features music, food trucks, beer tent, craft vendors, drag shows, a resource fair, and more.
  • Scottish Festival & Highland Games, Jun 14-15, Wheaton: Discover Scottish culture, tradition, skill and athleticism.
  • Winnetka Music Festival, Jun 14-15, Winnetka: A terrific line up of musicians and bands complement the Friday and Saturday headliners, Band of Horses and Milky Chance.
  • Strawberry Fest, Jun 21-23, Long Grove: Everyone’s favorite summertime fruit is the star of this 3-day fest featuring live music, carnival rides and, of course, strawberry-centric foods and drinks.
  • Opera Festival of Chicago, Jun 21 to Jul 14, Chicago: If the weather isn’t ideal for an outdoor festival, enjoy world-class productions of opera masterpieces at various venues in Chicago and Evanston.
  • Vegandale Fest, Jun 22-23, Chicago: Eat, drink and shop vegan with more than 100 vendors from around the world. Plus, enjoy live music, an all-day DJ, and interactive art displays.
  • Fiesta del Sol, Jul 25-28, Chicago: Billed as the largest Latino festival of its kind, this 4-day event features a carnival, local food vendors, artisans, and an outstanding musical line-up.
  • Midwest Buddhist Temple Ginza Holiday, Jul 26-28, Chicago: Savor the Temple’s famous Charcoal Grilled Chicken Teriyaki and enjoy live Japanese cultural performances and artisan displays.
  • Taste of Glen Ellyn, Aug 15-17, Glen Ellyn: Enjoy carnival rides, live entertainment, and festive food.

Not Your Grandma’s Picnic Basket!

Wicker picnic baskets have a rich history, from the open basket shown in Édouard Manet’s 1863 painting Le Déjenuner sur l’herbe to the jam-packed one carried by Mole and Ratty on their picnic in Kenneth Grahame’s classic, The Wind in the Willows. Those traditional wicker versions certainly have their appeal, but today you have many more options!

The Sunflora Picnic Backpack for 4 is top rated by both Travel + Leisure and Food & Wine, and available on Amazon for around $80. It has everything you need like plates, glasses and flatware along with a spacious food compartment, bamboo cutting board, picnic blanket, insulated wine pouch, and more. (

Combining canvas and willow, the Picnic Time Promenade Picnic Basket is a Travel + Leisure top-pick for its modern basket-turned-tote design. Although not insulated, it includes essential accessories for two so you can head straight to your picnic. (

With a portable table tray to keep food and drinks elevated off the sand, the Inno Stage Insulated Tote is a great option for a beach picnic. It’s roomy, insulated, and has two pockets to hold your wine bottles.

If you want that vintage wicker look, consider the Bridgerton Picnic Basket. It’s handwoven and comes with a floral-print blanket and all the essentials for a romantic picnic-for-two! (

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