(Photo: Michael Lee / Getty Images)

Outside Experience Is the Best Summer Event in Chicago

Our new active-lifestyle festival brings the best new road-tripping rigs and outdoor gear to the windy city—along with demos, adventure films, inspirational speakers, and rockin' live music. Get your tickets here.


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Outside has deep roots in Chicago—we founded our company in the city and called it home for many years. This summer, we’re coming back to the shores of Lake Michigan, and we’re bringing with us some of our favorite brands, athletes, films, and more. The Outside Experience, presented by Go RVing, is our new two-day active-lifestyle event, July 13–14, 2019, at McCormick Place Lakeside Center. Think of it as your one-stop shop for everything we love about the world outside, including the coolest new RVs, gear demos, skills clinics, a mini adventure film festival, live music, and tons of family-friendly activities. Read on for more about all the cool stuff you can do.

Outside Experience 2020

May 16–17, 2020, Outside Experience is moving to Northerly Island with even more gear demos, clinics, inspiration, and adventure.

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Check out the Latest Adventure Rigs and Gear

Dreaming of #vanlife? Looking for a full-family camping solution? Stop by the Go Zone to check out the latest RVs, from toy-hauling travel trailers complete with Honda Powersports ATVs to luxurious van conversions and full-size motor homes. Mobile-living brand Dometic will be on hand, too, showing off the latest camping and RV accessories. 

Get Inspired

Head to the YETI Main Stage to hear from globe-trotting athletes, adventurers, and change-makers like Outside columnist Brendan Leonard and pro boxer turned Seven Summit hunter Patty Alcivar. On Saturday afternoon, roots rock band Ha Ha Tonka takes over (pro tip: stop by the Craft Beverage Lounge first). If it’s adventure films you’re after, join 5Point Film Festival and Stranahan’s Colorado Whiskey in our screening theater for a selection of the year’s most meaningful stories.

Play on the Water

A quick trolley ride takes you to the Paddle Zone, where you can test the latest kayaks and SUPs from L.L.Bean on the calm, sunny waters of Lake Michigan. Back at the main venue, hone your fly-fishing casts with expert instruction at the Orvis booth.

Hit the Trails

There’s no better way to test hiking and running gear than out on the trails. That’s why we’re bringing two natural-surface test loops—one purpose-built for hiking and the second made for running—to the Outside Experience. Stop by the Salomon Running Lounge, demo a pair of the latest kicks, have your stride expertly analyzed, and then venture out for some test-track laps or sign up for a guided group run. Hikers can join Fjällräven for mini workshops and learn new skills like backpack-packing strategies and how to wax your canvas jacket, then demo boots from top brands like Hanwag, KEEN, L.L.Bean, Scarpa, and Vivobarefoot.

Plan Your Next Adventure

From Arizona to South Africa, the best destinations await discovery. Stop by the Travel Zone, enter to win a trip, and get the inside scoop on how to make your bucket-list trip happen with travel protection expertise from Global Rescue and adventure operators offering trips all over the globe.

Bring the Kids

If there’s time after conquering one (or all) of the 10 routes on the indoor climbing wall, fine-tuning balance on the slackline, or rappelling off a 40-foot ledge, kids will love the Muck Boots Challenge (hint: it involves dirt) or learning how to turn undrinkable water into refreshing hydration thanks to LifeStraw.

Test-Drive an E-Bike

Across the country, high-tech pedal-assist bikes are attracting all kinds of riders, from daily commuters to those looking to expand their weekend range. No matter how you like to roll, come ride the latest rigs on the Bosch eBikes demo trail.

Build Community

Connect with local organizations Chicago Voyagers and Chicago Adventure Therapy—two groups leveraging outdoor experiences to positively impact Chicago’s underserved youth—and learn how you can get involved in their important work. Then connect with Outside Experience Adventure Ambassadors, who are inspiring and enabling more people to get outside, more often. 

Get the Latest 

Follow Outside Experience on Facebook and Instagram to for updates about giveaways, special guest announcements, and more. To be automatically entered to win free gear, nab your tickets today!

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Lead Photo: Michael Lee / Getty Images