Where to Find Nature in Chicago
Chicago is home to a variety of parks and green spaces. These urban sanctuaries are a great place to escape the city's hustle and bustle, and to enjoy all that nature has to offer. Here are some of the best places in Chicago to experience nature and the outdoors on your next trip.
This 13 acre park is located in the Near West Side area. The park has large fields, playgrounds, a swimming pool, tennis courts, basketball courts, and baseball fields. The playgrounds have slides, swings, and plenty of space for kids to run around.
1566 West Washington Boulevard, Near West Side, Chicago, Illinois, 60612
Millennium Park is a famous public space that's located in Grant Park. The 24.5 acre park is near the Lake Michigan shoreline and includes a number of famous attractions such as Cloud Gate, Crown Fountain, Lurie Garden and a number of outdoor performance areas.
Loop, Chicago, Illinois, 60601
Grant Park is a large and impressive public space in the city's central business district. This large park is where you'll find the famous Millennium Park, Buckingham Fountain, the Art Institute of Chicago, and the Museum Campus. There are a number of gardens, sport fields, and performances venues found in the park as well.
Printer's Row, Chicago, Illinois
Lurie Garden is a 2.5 acre garden in Millennium Park. It has a number of plants including perennials, bulbs, shrubs, and trees. It's also notable for being the location of the world's largest green roof.
Loop, Chicago, Illinois
Ping Tom Memorial Park
Located in Chicago's Chinatown, this park has a pagoda-style pavilion, bamboo gardens, and a playground. The waterfront park spans 17 acres and there are places nearby where you can rent kayaks. The Field House is a recreational area in the park that has a pool with slides and a fitness center. From here you can enjoy great views of the Chicago skyline. Throughout the year there are a number of events held here including Shakespeare in the Park. Runners and walkers will appreciate the trails through the park as well.
300 West 19th Street, Chinatown, Chicago, Illinois, 60616
Crown Fountain is a video sculpture and work of art that's located in Chicago's Millennium Park. It opened in 2004 and has a black granite reflecting pool between two glass brick towers that display digital videos. The water is turned on between the months of May and October.
Crown Fountain, Loop, Chicago, Illinois
Lincoln Park Conservatory
This impressive Victorian style greenhouse has four separate sections that include the Orchid House, Palm House, Fern Room, and Show House. There's also an outdoor Formal Garden and the English Grandmother's Garden. This is a beautiful conservatory and it's free to the public.
2391 N Stockton Dr, Lincoln Park, Chicago, IL, 60614
The Chicago Lakefront Trail is a 18.5-mile long trail that is great for running, walking, biking, and even skateboarding. It runs alone the western shore of Lake Michigan and it's popular with locals, tourists, athletes, and commuters. From the trail you can access the lake at different points and the trail passes by a number of different recreational areas including Lincoln Park, Grant Park, Burnham Park, and Jackson Park.
Garfield Park is a popular city park on the West Side of the city in the Garfield Park neighborhood. It has a number of recreational facilities including baseball, boxing, basketball, tennis, and swimming. There's also a playground and trails for running, walking and bike riding. When the weather isn't cooperating, you can head inside to the Garfield Park Conservatory, which has about 120,000 plants from 600 different species in a 1.6 acre indoor space.
300 N. Central Park Ave., Garfield Park, Chicago, IL, 60624
This renovation project has turned an elevated railway track into a 2.7 mile path that weaves through the North Side of the city, passing through Logan Square, Humboldt Park, Wicker Park, and Bucktown. It connects a handful of parks and is the perfect place to enjoy a walk, bike ride, or short run.
Humboldt Park, Chicago, IL
The neighborhood of Garfield Park is all about green space. It opened its first park in 1874 and today the area has plenty of gardens, parks, and nature right in the heart of the city. The Garfield Park Conservatory is a highlight of the area with a number of different botanical environments such as the desert house, the fern room, and the tropical palm house. In the surrounding community, Garfield Park is a popular neighborhood for startups including the Hatchery which is a commercial kitchen that houses more than 100 local food and beverage startups. Head to the area during the warmer months to check out the community markets.
Dating back to the mid 1800s, this park was at one time considered to be one of the greatest public parks in the country. Today it has rose gardens, tennis courts, an inland beach, and bike paths.
Humboldt Park, Chicago, IL
This is a 600 acre park that sits on the edge of Lake Michigan on the South Side of Chicago. It has a variety of facilities including basketball, tennis courts, and playgrounds. The Osaka Garden is also on the grounds, which is a Japanese style garden that's on an island in the park's east lagoon. There are also several beaches and a running track that visitors can take advantage of.
6401 S Stony Island Ave, South Shore, Chicago, IL, 60637
Maggie Daley Park
Maggie Daley Park is an impressive park with a 1/4 mile long ice skating/roller skating ribbon. There's also a 40 ft tall climbing wall and a play garden for kids. The playground includes a pirate ship play structure with slides, rope bridges, and climbing areas. There's also a 18 hole mini golf course in the park.
337 E Randolph St, Millennium Park, Chicago, IL, 60601
South Shore Cultural Center Park
This park was originally built as a country club but today it is a historic landmark that offers a number of classes and programs throughout the year. The park covers 65 acres and includes a golf course, grass fields, a beach, and the South Shore Nature Sanctuary.
7059 S South Shore Dr, South Shore, Chicago, IL, 60649
Situated on a wide median on State Street between Wacker and Lake is this park area with seating, public art, and nice areas to relax, meet with friends, or have a meal.
State and Lake, Loop, Chicago, Illinois
This 22 acre park offers a number of sports and activities as well as a playground and an impressive Fourth of July fireworks display.
5100 N Leavitt St, Lincoln Square, Chicago, IL, 60625
Burnham Park follows the banks of Lake Michigan for six miles from 14th Street to 56th Street. It spans 600 acres and includes the Burnham Harbor, Soldier Field, and McCormick Place. The Lakefront Trail passes through the park as well. Skateboarders will appreciate Burnham Skate Park, but there are also tennis courts, a fishing pier, and several beaches. For kids, there is a playground.
South Loop, Chicago, IL
Washington Park has a number of attractions including the DuSable Museum, a bird and butterfly sanctuary, The Fountain of Time, and several lagoons.
5531 S. Martin Luther King Dr., Hyde Park, Chicago, IL, 60637
This neighborhood and park area offers a beautiful setting with nicely landscaped gardens, a quaint lily pond, and lakefront green space that has nice views of the city. The Lakefront Trail, the Lincoln Park Trail, Lincoln Park Zoo, North Avenue Beach, and Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum are all in the area. There is also plenty of shopping in Lincoln Park with many boutique shops spread among the row houses.
Where to Stay in Chicago