Chicago, IL

10 Best Parks For Outdoor Recreation In Chicago

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Do you want to get rid of the hustle-bustle of urban life? Are you planning to spend some time in the company of nature? The parks in Chicago are the best places to visit. These recreation grounds are equipped with various amenities for working out and entertainment. One can enjoy an exercise session, bike riding, or some stunts at the tennis court there.

Besides, the playing spots for the kids and the vast green landscape attract more visitors. Moreover, the ten best parks for outdoor recreation in Chicago will drift you from the chaos of a large city, cacophony of people, and noise of cars.

1. Millennium Park

Covering an area over 24.5 acres, this park has already won the laurel of the top attraction in the Midwest in 2017. Here, the Lurie garden enchants visitors with flower displays throughout the year. Besides, Frank Gehry's Pritzker Pavilion hosts movie screenings and free concerts in the summer. Some other attractions in the park are mentioned below.

  • Sculptor Anish Kapoor's 110 ton Cloud Gate or The Bean
  • Jaume Plensa's Crown Fountain

2. Grant Park

Chicago's "Front Yard" comprises smaller parks and attractions. Grant Park is the site that saw a gala celebration on the election night of 2008. Barack Obama and his supporters indulged in great revelry there. It is known for its infectious energy in the summer. During the hot season, it hosts festivals such as the Taste of Chicago and Lollapalooza. People also flock there in great numbers for:

  • Skate Park
  • Two Marinas
  • Various Public Art Installations

3. Lincoln Park

This park is closely associated with the history and politics of Illinois. It has been named for Abraham Lincoln shortly after his assassination in 1865. Situated along the lakeshore from Ohio Street Beach to Hollywood Beach, it covers a 6.5-mile area. It has golf courses, baseball fields, a skate park and paths for walking, jogging, or biking. Additional places of interest at the park are mentioned below.

  • Lincoln Park Zoo
  • Lincoln Park Conservatory
  • Lincoln Park Cultural Center

4. Jackson Park

It was designed by famous landscape architects Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux. It was chosen as the site for the World's Columbian Exposition of 1893. A scale replica of the event's golden statue of the Republic has also been set up there for commemoration. Jackson Park covers around 600 acres of area and it stretches along the south side of the lakeshore. It is popular among visitors for various reasons.

  • Golf Course
  • Baseball Court
  • A Fitness Center
  • Basketball Ground
  • Miscellaneous Playground
  • Tennis Courts
  • Japanese Inspired Osaka Garden
  • East Lagoon

5. Garfield Park

It is one of the most popular parks on Chicago's West Side; This park is ideal for baseball, boxing, basketball, tennis and swimming.

Besides, it has a field house that features a gold dome at the top. However, the most striking feature of this place is around 1.2 million plants from 600 species in the conservatory. The park with an indoor space of 1.6 acres and 12 acres outdoor place further is known for:

  • Playground
  • Fitness Center
  • Lagoon
  • Jogging Paths

6. Maggie Daley Park

Maggie Daley Park is situated to the east of Millennium Park. The park stands out owing to the quarter-mile skating ribbon. This skating ring is ideal for ice skating in the winter or rollerskating in the summer. There is no end to the reasons to be entertained there. Besides, kids can have fun at the play garden, which has slides, rope bridges and whimsical climbing surfaces. Besides, the garden is like a giant pirate ship in structure.

You can further check out the mini-golf course with 18 holes. The golf course also houses miniatures of Chicago landmarks such as Willis Tower and Daley Plaza's Picasso sculpture.

7. Douglas Park

This North Lawndale park covers a broad area. Its outdoor facility is named after Illinois Senator Stephen A. Douglas. It has also become popular as the venue for the punk, metal, indie and '90s rock acts of Riot Fest every September. Want to know the other features of this park?

  • Gymnasiums
  • Tennis Courts
  • Football Stadium
  • Outdoor Pool
  • Basketball Courts
  • Soccer Field with Artificial Turf
  • Small Golf Putting Range
  • Baseball Fields

8. Palmisano Park

Palmisano Park was previously known as Stone Quarry. It is also known as Mount Bridgeport. It is a 27-acre site. This park is best known for its stone crushed running path leading to the fishing pond. Besides, you will love the wetlands and stroll in the grass amidst preserved quarry walls.

9. Humboldt Park

People visit Humboldt Park for acres of prairie-style gardens and a winding river scene. Besides, its structure is inspired by Frank Lloyd Wright's Prairie style of architecture. Spend some time at the boathouse to enjoy the beauty of the park to the fullest. The other places of attraction there are:

  • Vast Rose Beds
  • Tennis Courts
  • Inland Beach
  • Baseball Fields
  • Bike Paths

10. The 606

It is an elevated railway track that was abandoned previously. This 2.7-mile recreation path runs through Logan Square, Humboldt Park, Wicker Park and Bucktown. It allows every visitor to enjoy the scenic view of the city in a new light. Besides, it is ideal for slow jogging, cycling and lodging strollers. Where does it get its name from? It is named after the first 3 digits in the zip code of the city.


Remember, each park comes with its share of regulations and restrictions in this COVID-19 situation. You should gather information about the opening/ closing time, safety measures, number of people allowed before visiting the parks.

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