[Photograph: Nick Kindelsperger]

Happy July 4th! We're taking it easy today, both because it's a national holiday and also because it's freaking stupid hot, and we are trying desperately to stay cool any way we can. Hopefully you'll be able to step away from the computer and celebrate our independence with friends and more than a few cold drinks. If you're still looking for ways to eat through the occasion, and the upcoming weekend, take a look at some of our suggestions.

We'll see you back here on Thursday!

  1. If you're planning on picnicking today, make sure to find a place in the shade, and then check out our list of Where to Shop for an Impromptu Picnic Near Chicago's Parks.
  2. Even with the weather, grilling out is kind of required. For all your sausage buying needs, take a look at our list of 8 Great Places to Buy Sausage in Chicago (And Nearby).
  3. If you'd like someone else to deal with the grill during this heat wave, how about visiting one of our great barbecue joints? Nick visited a whole bunch of them earlier this year while searching for The Best Rib Tip and Hot Link Combo in Chicago.
  4. Frozen desserts are always a good idea with weather this hot, but since this is a national holiday, adding alcohol to them seems like the best idea. Earlier this week, Lindsey picked out 5 Boozy Frozen Treats We Love in Chicago.
  5. And if the heat just becomes too much, you can always find solace in Roger's list of 7 Cold Noodles We Love in Chicago.

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