Chicago lakefront sees big crowds for hottest day of the year as COVID restrictions ease

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Driving along Chicago's lakefront this weekend, you could see a long line of cars at every single beach as masses of people came out to enjoy summer in a way they couldn't last year.

From South Boulevard Beach in Evanston to 31st Street Beach on Chicago's South Side, it was a sight unseen since before the pandemic.

"It was a gorgeous day to be out on the beach," said Gillian Humiston.

"Big change from last year, and even a couple weeks ago when we were inside," added Maria Washington.

With temperatures in the mid-90s, Saturday was the hottest day since August 28, 2020, according to Meteorologist Phil Schwarz.

Watch the latest 7-day outlook from the AccuWeather Team.

The newly reopened lakefront is also giving people a chance to experience the new normal with family and friends as we recover from the pandemic.

"It felt good but it also felt really weird," said Fiona Humiston, "Because it was like it was new."

"Last year, we were cooped up inside [and] it felt like, even if we could take walks and go out, it wasn't really encouraged to come out to the beach," added Gillian Humiston, "and being here felt really good today."

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Gillian Humiston said she was impressed by the collective efforts of this beach crowd enjoying the outdoors while still keeping the best pandemic practices.

"I feel like people were really staying within their family groups or friends that they came with, and know and trust, and the kids were still having a great time and everybody was really respectful," she said.

Washington and her family still took extra care to be safe.

"We still do the same things that we did when COVID first started -- washing our hands, things like that," Washington said.

She hopes others will continue to do to the same to ensure summertime in Chicago can continue.

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"I hope more people get vaccinated so we'll have more 'normal' days like this," she added.

With Sunday temperatures expected to be just as warm as Saturday, expect to see another big day of crowds along the lakefront.

Saturday's temps were nearly seven degrees above the average June temps in Chicago, Schwarz said.
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