The 28 most beautiful Chicago parks
Written by Alison Lynwood

The 28 most beautiful Chicago parks

Find a place to get away from the urban hustle and bustle with our guide to the most indispensable Chicago parks.

Chicago's motto is "City in a Garden," and our public green spaces live up to such a lofty name. With more than 600 facilities throughout the city, the Chicago Parks District boasts something for everyone, whether you're looking for a tiny neighborhood playlot for the kids or a vast swath of green space. Chicago parks are more than just places to work out, ride your bike or play tennis—they also offer plenty of cultural programming, such as the Millennium Park summer concert series or outdoor movies. Most importantly, these Chicago attractions provide a space to relax and momentarily forget that you're in the middle of a large city filled with people, buildings and cars. Not sure which Chicago parks you should visit? Leaving aside Chicago beaches (unfair advantage, honestly), these are some of our favorite spots in the city.

1. Millennium Park

Since its completion in 2004, this 24.5-acre park across from Michigan Avenue has been a favorite Midwest tourist destination, and you can still catch crowds of people from all over the world marveling at their reflections in Anish Kapoor's Cloud Gate sculpture ("The Bean") and frolicking in the Jaume Plensa-designed Crown Fountain. Tourists and locals alike enjoy Millennium Park in all seasons, whether taking in a diverse lineup of concerts and outdoor movies on the lawn of the Frank Gehry-designed Pritzker Pavilion in the summer or ice skating in the winter.

2. Grant Park

Spanning 319 acres of lakefront property, Chicago's “front yard” serves as a gateway to Lake Michigan and the home base for many behemoth summer festivals, including Taste of Chicago and Lollapalooza. When there's not an event going on, there's still plenty to do in this massive green space, like admiring the gardens and public art installations, grabbing a selfie at the iconic Buckingham Fountain or shredding at the skate park. Kids and kids at heart will love playing on the whimsical equipment at Maggie Daley Park, too. Grant Park also has some significant history—it's where President Barack Obama celebrated his 2008 election victory, and everyone in Chicago will probably tell you they were there that night if you ask.

3. The 606

Formerly known as the Bloomingdale Trail, this converted railway track, renamed The 606, runs through Logan Square, Humboldt Park, Wicker Park and Bucktown. Named after the first three digits in every Chicago zip code, the 2.7-mile path provides a quick way to travel east and west on the North Side, connecting several parks and public art installations. With more than a dozen entrance and exit points throughout the route, it's a fun and easy way to explore a new neighborhood. Prepare to dodge strollers, bicycles, dogs and residents out for a very slow jog on this popular throughway.

4. Lincoln Park

Named for Illinois’ favorite son shortly after his assassination in 1865, Lincoln Park stretches 6.5 miles along the lakeshore from Ohio Street Beach to Hollywood Beach. Inside the boundaries of the sprawling North Side park, visitors will also find attractions like the free Lincoln Park Zoo, the Lincoln Park Conservatory and the Lincoln Park Cultural Center. The park itself offers golf courses, baseball fields, a skate park and paths for walking, jogging or biking, plenty of green space for lounging and picnics in the summer, and easy access to the nearby Lakefront Trail.

Written by

Alison Lynwood

Alison Lynwood

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