8 Super Cool Outdoor Party Themes for a Hot Chicago Summer Party

backyard summer party with tables and decor

Summer in Chicago is a time to be celebrated, and there is no way better to enjoy friends and sunshine than with a gathering centered around one of these great outdoor summer party themes. As an added bonus, these party themes make the planning process almost as much fun as the event itself.

Beach party

A beach party is the essence of everything summer: swimsuits, beach balls, bright-colored décor, and a menu of summer favorites. Even though this party is centered around being out in the sun, it should include a covered area for guests to relax and chill tables and tubs for cool drinks. For an over-the-top party theme, rent a huge grill or party bar that makes guests want to dive in to their favorite beach cocktails and treats.


An Americana party theme is the perfect fit for a Memorial Day or Labor Day weekend event, but its versatile enough for any summer party. This theme lends itself to a red, white, and blue everything: décor, dishes, and cocktails. There are tons of possibilities: cool lighting, burgers prepared on HUGE grills, cotton candy machines… (For more over-the-top Americana ideas, ask an event pro for ideas that fit within the party budget.)  

Lake Bake

Waterfront parties are a favorite Chicago past time, and so is enjoying all the fresh catches from area lakes. A lake bake theme is an opportunity to hang out with friends and enjoy an evening meal with the freshest dishes, the glow from night time lighting, and long tables where everyone can gather and enjoy.

Movie Night

A movie night is a wow-worthy cinematic event—or it could be, with a big screen, guests, and a showing under the stars. Add in the right décor, lighting, popcorn machine, and theater-worthy candy, and suddenly everyone has a ticket to the best outdoor party on the block.

Wine Tasting

The only thing better than a bottle of wine is sharing a bottle with other wine-lovers, making a wine tasting an incredibly popular summer party theme. A wine tasting isn’t complete without a bar, upscale décor, a tent for cover, bottles of delectable wines, and appetizers that complement the main course.


A carnival party theme is a great way to enjoy the warm summer temperatures with friends and family of all ages…and have a lot of fun! As an added bonus, this a great theme for a neighborhood party, school picnic, or even a wedding. Of course, a carnival needs games, such as a dunk tank, ring toss, and bottle knock-down. Face painting and fun treats (such as popcorn and cotton candy) complete this entertaining outdoor party theme and create an incredibly fun atmosphere for every guest.


A tropical-themed party is a sizzling event, perfect for a hot and humid Chicago day. This event theme is the perfect combination of music, food, décor, and cocktails. A fiesta can be a party for all ages or a more adult-oriented event with a full-stocked cocktail bar and entertainment. Either way, a tropical theme is an easy way for guests to feel like they are on vacation—without ever leaving Chicagoland.

Night Under the Stars

A night under the stars event is a modern gathering with a long list of custom twists. This party theme can be customized into a rustic event, late-night neon dance party, or a throw-back theme with a retro feel. Whatever the twist, this party theme requires lighting, chilled drinks, refreshing dance fuel, dance floor, and an over-the-top sound system for the ultimate guest experience.

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