Grilling is one of the most enjoyable pastimes in Chicago while the weather is nice. Good friends, good eats and beer (when permissible) makes for a solid day– especially with all of the summer holidays. There is a thing or two to know before you whip out your grill in any of the green spaces around Chicago.

In honor of making food taste better by adding an actual flame to it, we have gone over some of the most important things to remember when you choose to grill in Chicago– from the rules to the parks and beaches to occupy.

The Chicago Parks District states– Grilling must be confined to enclosed metal containers and may only take place within dedicated grilling areas. Hot coals must be doused with water, and ashes and coals must be properly disposed of in red used-coal receptacles.

The Park District doesn’t make it very clear on where the designated areas are, but if you are on the grass and near the redish-pink color garbage cans– then you should technically be good to go. The cans are meant for coals, but since most people toss garbage in them, adding your coals may cause a fire if you don’t soak them with water first.

You must 18 or older and have your grill setup 10 feet from trees and buildings, minimum.

Grilling is not permitted in Grant Park, on any of the beaches, in any play lots or in the nature preserves.

Chicago Beaches

Find a full list of the beaches around Chicago on CPD’s Website.

Chicago Parks

You can find a full list of almost 600 parks around Chicago here.

We highly recommend some of these parks: The Best Chicago Parks To Escape To

Grilling Essentials For Chicago

• It is a good place to start with calling the Chicago Park District with any questions you may have pertaining to grilling or alcohol.

• Most of the parks no longer have the built in grills, which means that you’ll have to provide your own. Technically, I don’t think the disposable charcoal grills are allowed since they are fully enclosed with metal. You can find used grills for cheap or find new ones for reasonable– especially if you go the charcoal route.

• Gas grills are convenient, but charcoal most certainly provides the best taste and seems to be the avid griller’s choice.

• Matches or a lighter.

• The next step is figuring out the number of people that you are going to be grilling for.

• Once that is determined you will know what is the most cost efficient thing to grill and how much of it. You can splurge a little bit and get something other than 99¢ hot-dogs. At the same time– I’d eat ’em.
A tub of pre-made salad (noodle / potato), chips and cookies are always a good call as well.

• Bring a sharp knife / spatula / necessary utensils / plates and bowls / napkins or paper towels.

• Plastic bags for trash (and something heavy to set on it to keep Chicago’s wind from blowing it away).

• A blanket is always nice for when benches aren’t available.

• You also may want to consider bug spray, just don’t douse yourself near the open flame.

*Do NOT dump your coals in the base of trees! Not only is this highly illegal, but it will also kill the trees. No trees mean no parks.

Shape up & follow the rules– we don’t need another Great Chicago Fire.


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