The cityscape is a great place to explore, but with everything a break is needed from time to time. Chicago parks offer a diverse amount of atmospheres that all hold something unique. From sandy beaches to sculptures and conservatories, you will surely be able to find your own little escape.
The Chicago Lakefront Path is by far one of the most utilized recreation areas in Chicago. This path stretches for roughly twenty-miles along the lakeshore; the center of the path is intersected by downtown Chicago. This path is riddled with some of the best Chicago parks and beaches bordering it, making it a great place to spend all day exploring.
Lincoln Park is lush and green in the summer to give you a feeling of escape from the hustle and bustle of the city, but if you look in the right direction it offers an amazing view of the skyline. It is a very large park with multiple water locations to break up the fields of grass and trees. Lincoln Park also contains a zoo, conservatory and places to grab a bite to eat.
This park is a staple to the image of Chicago because of one sculpture, the giant reflective bean. This park is located in downtown Chicago, so it provides a convenient escape if you do not have much time to break-away. With its location comes traffic; it is a very heavily used park. For a first time visitor, a photo with the bean is a requirement.
Promontory Point is a great place to get away. Located on the south side of Chicago, it puts a little distance between you and the city. The skyline is still visible, but it looks more like a game of Tetris rather than towering skyscrapers. Fire-pits and an optimal location for swimming make this park very desirable. With it be a decent distance from the north side and Downtown Chicago, it remains relatively unpopulated.
This park remains somewhat of an unseen gem. It seems that the majority of people that frequent the park had just randomly stumbled across it one day. There in no direct parking, which could be one reason why people overlook it. Sandy beaches make up the shoreline and the trees create a canopy to get you out of the hot summer sun. With its location right across from Navy Pier it provides a welcome change of scenery after a day spent exploring.
Grant Park is the neighbor to Millennium Park and The Art Institute. It may not have a giant reflective bean, but it does contain some of its own wonders. It is best known for the massive Buckingham Fountain that sits on the grounds. Grant Park is privileged enough to host many of Chicago’s main events; Taste of Chicago and Lollapalooza are two of the largest.
Humboldt Park offers a variety of activities within its bounds. One of the most enjoyable activities is taking a walk here. With lagoons, ponds and a wildlife reserve it provides an ample amount of sights for you to indulge in. There is a small lake with sandy beaches that provides a nice spot to cool off during your run around the park. If that is not your style, they also have a swimming pool on the premise. Soccer and baseball games are quite common to see here, as they have fields to add one more activity to their diverse list.
If the names makes a certain Dorthy come to mind, that is precisely what they wanted. Oz Park is actually located inside of Lincoln Park, but it feels like an entirely different location. It is filled with statues resembling Wizard of Oz characters; the old and young can both enjoy those. Their playground area is one of the best, if you have any young tikes be sure to check this place out. It provides a lot of shade, but it is not very hard to find an open sunny location to lie out under the rays. A community garden offers a nice setting for picnics, while tennis courts and baseball fields provide a nice option if you have some energy to burn.
Palmer Square is a very small, quaint park, but that is one of the appeals it has. Chicago has many small parks spread throughout the concrete jungle and Palmer Square is a great representation of them. It is not exactly one of the most sought after parks in the area, but if you are looking to some peace and solidarity then Palmer Square is a great place to escape the crowds.
The thing that sets this apart, it is an indoor park that provides a tropical sense year-round. This free-admission conservatory is easy to lose yourself in. You can easily spend hours strolling around and taking in all the different types of plants and vegetation. With informational sources all around and a koi pond containing sculptures sets this place apart even further. This massive conservatory contains many rooms that are all themed; it gives you sense of travel but it only requires your feet.