Here's our list of the best parks to visit in Chicago.
Chicago’s most famous park lies along the lake, spanning from Ohio Street Beach in the Streeterville neighborhood northward to Ardmore Avenue in Edgewater. The 1,200 acres are home to a zoo, conservatory, Theatre on the Lake, rowing canal, five playgrounds, the Chicago History Museum, nature sanctuary and archery range, among others. Visit the park for classic events like Wine Fest, Greek Fest and more. 500-5700 N. Lake Shore Drive
Fondly known as “Chicago’s Front Yard,” Grant Park covers 312 acres in the heart of the city’s business district. The park’s main attractions include Millennium Park, Maggie Daley Park, Buckingham Fountain, the Art Institute of Chicago and the Museum Campus. Home to baseball diamonds, tennis courts, breathtaking gardens, fitness classes and the Chicago Marathon, Grant Park is the perfect spot to spend a day taking in the sunshine and fresh air. 331 E. Randolph St.
Featuring a variety of artistic elements by architects and artists, Millennium Park is nestled in the northwestern corner of Grant Park. From the Jay Pritzker Pavilion—a futuristic outdoor amphitheater—to urban oasis Lurie Garden and must-see Crown Fountain, an interactive work of art and video sculpture from Jaume Plensa and Krueck+Sexton. Screen some flicks at Millennium’s summer film and music series, and don’t miss the Chicago SummerDance Celebration or the Grant Park Music Festival. 201 E. Randolph St.
A Windy City favorite, Garfield Park is home to the historic Golden Dome field house, which holds a gymnasium, auditorium, dance studio, boxing center and grand ballroom. Step outside and enjoy a swimming pool, athletic fields, fishing lagoon, tennis courts, floral gardens and renovated playgrounds. Looking for a special spot? The park sits adjacent to the Garfield Park Conservatory, a sanctuary bursting with tropical temperatures and lush flora—from graceful palms and ferns to cacti and spring spectaculars. 100 N. Central Park Ave.
This small urban park opened in the South Loop in 2000, honoring the contributions women have made to the city of Chicago. Located within the Prairie Avenue Historic District, the park is nestled between two museums—the Widow Clarke House and the Glessner House—and is home to the oldest house in Chicago, the Clarke House Museum. The Botanical Gardens Fountain is a showstopper, and be sure to snap a pic with the “Helping Hands” sculpture honoring Jane Addams. 1801 S. Indiana Ave.
Chicagoans love Humboldt Park for its inland beach, historic lagoons and boathouse, but it's also home to “Little Cubs Field,” The National Museum of Puerto Rican Arts and Culture and celebrations like the Latin Jazz Festival and Puerto Rican Festival. The field house’s grand ballroom is a hot spot for wedding receptions and graduation parties. Fun fact: The park features a wind turbine filtration system for the lagoons. 1440 N. Humboldt Blvd.
Originally a Chicago and Western Indian Railroad yard, this transformed green space was the first park to be developed in Chinatown. With impressive river views, the park also boasts a playground and community gathering areas featuring Chinese landscaping and design elements. Be sure to check out the 9-foot indoor swimming pool, the green rooftop and the full-service kitchen at the field house. 1700 S. Wentworth Ave.
Located in the Woodlawn community, this celebrated outdoor space was the site of the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair. Now, the Wooded Island area includes a Japanese garden and delicate cherry blossom trees planted around the Columbian Basin, plus a vegetable and flower garden and the Bobolink Meadows. Pro tip: Don’t forget your binoculars—Jackson Park is a birdwatcher’s dream! 6401 S. Stony Island Ave.
Named in honor of The Wizard of Oz’s imaginative author, L. Frank Baum, Oz Park takes this transformative theme to the max. The kids will have a ball at Dorothy’s Playground, while nature lovers gravitate to the Emerald Garden. Be on the lookout for the movie’s iconic characters; realistic statues of the Tin Man, Scarecrow, Cowardly Lion, Dorothy and Toto are scattered throughout the park. 2021 N. Burling St.
Photography by: BENJAMIN RASCOE/UNSPLASH; J BROUWER/UNSPLASH; JOSH MCCAUSLAND/UNSPLASH