More than eight percent of Chicago's city land is devoted to public parks and green spaces, making it one of the American cities with the highest percentage of public park lands. The city, which has been colloquially referred to as the "city in a garden" since the 1830s, is home to a number of nationally-renowned park spaces designed by some of the 19th and 20th centuries' most famous landscape architects and designers.
Adams Park is a charming 0.78-acre park in Chicago's Lincoln Park neighborhood, open to the public year-round. The park was originally established in 1902 and is named in honor of Illinois Congressman George Adams and his wife, Adele Foster Adams, who donated their private property for the creation of the park's lands. Features include a small field house hosting seasonal indoor activities for families, including summer camps and weekly parent-child groups for toddlers. Children's playground areas include an interactive water play area added to the park in 1997, named in honor of regional school teacher Dorothy Melamerson. Day-use picnic tables require permit reservation on the weekends, available by contacting park staff. Other features include a playing field, a sand court, and a seasonal ice skating pond.
1919 N. Seminary Ave, Chicago, IL 60614, Phone: 312-742-7787
2.Armour Square Park
Armour Square Park is an 8.98-acre park in the Chicago neighborhood of the same name, best known for its proximity to the Chicago White Sox stadium. The park, which was originally opened to the public in 1906, was one of 10 parks crafted within the city's original park system, which was designed by nationally-renowned landscape architects the Olmsted Brothers, in cooperation with Daniel H. Burnham and Company. It is named in honor of Chicago industrialist Philip D. Armour and offers a wide variety of amenities for parkgoers, including a fieldhouse featuring an indoor fitness center, auditorium, and two gymnasium facilities. Outside, the park is home to a wide variety of sporting fields, including junior and senior baseball fields, soccer and football fields, and tennis courts. A children's playground is also offered, along with a seasonal outdoor pool. After school programming is offered at the park throughout the year, along with special events such as Easter egg hunts and a Movies in the Park summer series.
3309 S. Shields Ave, Chicago, IL 60616, Phone: 312-747-6012
Edgebrook Park is a sports-focused park in Chicago's Forest Glen neighborhood, originally established as the recess park facility for Edgebrook Elementary School in 1939. Throughout the mid-2oth century, the seven-acre park's facilities were jointly managed by the Chicago Board of Education and the Chicago Park District, and in 1984, five acres of the park were transferred to the city for public park use. Today, the park's baseball fields and spacious green spaces are open to the public for day use. The nearby school's indoor gymnasium is also used throughout the year for instructional sports programming, including basketball, dodgeball, and soccer programs for area youth. A teen and adult wellness program also focuses on activities such as yoga, kickboxing, and other workout methods, and a summer camp offers day camp activities for children ages six to 12.
6525 N. Hiawatha Ave, Chicago, IL 60646, Phone: 773-631-7461
4.Grant Park Beach
Grant Park was one of Chicago's first public parks at the time of its development, originally branded as Lake Park in 1847. The park, which is named in honor of United States President Ulysses S. Grant and has been compared to New York City's famed Central Park, is located within Chicago's Loop Community district and is commonly referred to as "Chicago's Front Yard." The 312-acre park is home to iconic features such as the Millennium Park area, which contains Chicago landmarks such as the Cloud Gate sculpture and the interactive digital display Crown Fountain. At Maggie Daley Park, visitors can enjoy a unique seasonal ice skating ribbon and an indoor-outdoor fieldhouse, while at the Petrillo Music Shell, concertgoers can attend internationally-renowned events such as Lollapalooza and the Chicago Jazz Festival. The park's museum campus is home to nationally-recognized museums such as the Adler Planetarium, the Field Museum of Natural History, the Shedd Aquarium, and the Art Institute of Chicago. Other attractions include the massive Buckingham Fountain, the majestic Congress Plaza, a 1.86-acre skate park, and two pleasure marinas and harbors.
Columbus Drive, Chicago, IL 60602, Phone: 312-742-3918
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Haas Park is a lovely park in Chicago's Logan Square neighborhood, named in honor of storied public servant Joseph F. Haas, who served as a state senator at the turn of the 20th century. The park, which was developed around 1928 and transferred to the care of the Chicago Park District in 1959, features a recently-renovated ADA-accessible children's playground, which highlights a clever water play feature throughout the summer months. A 10,244-square-foot fieldhouse at the park has received LEED certification for its environmental sustainability features, offering a half-size gymnasium that is available for basketball and volleyball play and a state-of-the-art fitness center. Other features include a soccer field developed in collaboration with the Manchester City Football Club and the Embassy of the United Arab Emirates.
2402 N. Washtenaw Ave, Chicago, IL 60647, Phone: 312-742-7552
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Humboldt Park is a spacious 197-acre park located in the Chicago neighborhood of the same name, which are both named in honor of German naturalist Alexander Von Humboldt, best known for his work Cosmos: Draft of a Physical Description of the World. The park was originally developed in 1869 as part of the city's West Park System along with Garfield and Douglas Parks, though its construction was not completed until 1905. Today, it is home to an historic fieldhouse constructed in 1928, which offers two gymnasiums available for public use, along with a fitness center and community meeting rooms. An inland beach is accessible within the park, along with several historic lagoons accessible via a boathouse. Other amenities include soccer, baseball, and tennis courts and several recently-renovated children's playgrounds. The park's National Museum of Puerto Rican Arts and Culture, which is housed within the park's historic stable facility, is the United States' only museum exclusively dedicated to Puerto Rican arts and culture. Each year, the park hosts special events such as the Latin Jazz Festival, the Puerto Rican Festival, and an annual Shakespeare in the Park series.
1440 N. Humboldt Boulevard, Chicago, IL 60622, Phone: 312-742-7549
7.Lakeshore East Park
Lakeshore East Park, also known as Park No. 546, is a lovely 4.6-acre park in Chicago's Loop district, serving as the urban oasis centerpiece for the Near East Side community. The newly-developed park was designed by internationally-renowned landscape architect James Burnett and officially dedicated to the City of Chicago in July of 2005. Delightful cascading water elements and stairway terraces frame cultivated gardens, which are populated by hundreds of varieties of native and non-native plants and trees. At night, the park's water elements and grand staircase are illuminated as part of a regular light show. Beautiful green spaces are available for community leisure, including a designated dog-friendly area. Other features include a children's playground and a designated walking path.
450 E. Benton Place, Chicago, IL 60601, Phone: 312-742-3918
8.Lake Shore Park
Lake Shore Park is a popular park spanning 7.08 acres in Chicago's Streeterville neighborhood, originally planned in 1900 by the Lincoln Park Commission as Chicago Avenue Park. Since 1934, it has been overseen by the Chicago Park District. Today, the park offers a wide variety of outdoor recreational amenities, including a quarter-mile running track with a soft surface to minimize step impact. Tennis courts are available outside at the park, along with a children's playground. Inside the park's fieldhouse facility, visitors can make use of the park's full-sized gymnasium, along with its state-of-the-art fitness center and community meeting rooms, which may be reserved for private special events. Year-round special event programming includes a Movies in the Park summer series, live music performances, and a six-week children's day camp during the summers.
808 N. Lake Shore Dr, Chicago, IL 60611, Phone: 312-742-7891
Lincoln Park is one of Chicago's most expansive public parks, stretching 1,208 acres between Streeterville's Ohio Street Beach and Edgewater's Ardmore Avenue. The park, which was honored in 2009 as one of the American Planning Association's Great Public Spaces in America, is located on land that was used as a cemetery facility in the mid-19th century, which was redeveloped in 1860 and named in honor of United States President Abraham Lincoln following his assassination. Today, the park is home to some of Chicago's most iconic attractions, including the world-renowned Lincoln Park Zoo, the Lincoln Park Conservatory, and the Chicago HIstory Museum. Visitors can take advantage of beachfront access at North Avenue and Oak Street Beaches or use recreational facilities such as the Lincoln Park Archery Range and the Margate Fieldhouse. Five children's playgrounds are also offered, including an interactive water spray playground near Lake Shore Drive.
500-5700 N. Lake Shore Drive, Chicago, IL 60614, Phone: 312-742-7726
10.Maggie Daley Park
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Maggie Daley Park is one of the newest features of Chicago's iconic Grant Park, spanning 20 acres at the site that was formerly home to the Daley Bicentennial Plaza. The park, which is connected to Millennium Park by the BP Pedestrian Bridge, is best known for its unique seasonal ice skating ribbon, which strives to create a multisensory alpine-esque experience for urban skaters. Throughout the summer months, the ribbon is available for use by roller skaters and scooter users. The park's Maggie Daley Fieldhouse is home to summer camp programming and a climbing wall, with community meeting room spaces available for private special event rental. Other attractions include a miniature golf course, a children's playground, tennis courts, and a formally-landscaped garden.
337 E. Randolph St, Chicago, IL 60605, Phone: 312-742-3918
Marquette Park is the largest of the series of neighborhood parks created by the South Park Commission at the turn of the 20th century, envisioned by parks superintendent J. Frank Foster as a way to create urban respites and social services for Chicago's immigrant neighborhoods. The 315-acre park, which is located within the Chicago Lawn neighborhood, is named in honor of famed French Jesuit explorer Father Jacques Marquette and showcases design elements crafted by legendary landscape architects the Olmsted Brothers. Park visitors can enjoy use of a nine-hole golf course and driving range, and artificial turf field, and a wide variety of sporting course, including basketball, baseball, and tennis courts and multipurpose fields. Two gymnasiums are offered in the park's fieldhouse, along with an auditorium, woodshop, and community meeting rooms. Other park amenities include a rose garden, a lagoon, and children's playgrounds and a spray pool.
6743 S. Kedzie Ave, Chicago, IL 60629, Phone: 312-747-6469
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Millennium Park is one of Chicago's most iconic public parks, originally planned in 1997 and opened to the public in 2004 as a development meant to honor the city's ventures into the 21st century. The 24.5-acre park and civic center is encompassed within the city's expansive Grant Park, located near its Lake Michigan shoreline. As of 2017, the park has surpassed the nearby Navy Pier amusement and entertainment complex to become the top tourist attraction in the American Midwest, attracting more than 25 million annual visitors. The park's AT&T Plaza is home to the landmark reflective sculpture Cloud Gate, one of Chicago's most-photographed attractions. Other attractions include the Jay Pritzker Pavilion bandshell and the interactive digital art piece the Crown Fountain. Each year at the winter holidays, the park hosts the city's Christmas tree lighting ceremony and is home to the McCormick Tribune Ice Skating Rink.
201 E Randolph St, Chicago, IL 60602, Phone: 312-742-1168
13.North Park Village Nature Center Park
North Park Village Nature Center Park is one of Chicago's hidden urban park gems, spanning 58.54 acres throughout the city's North Park Village campus. The nature center is located on the site of an indigenous gathering land, named for a term for onion growing that gave Chicago its name. During the mid-19th century, the park's lands served as a tree nursery for area resident Pehr Samuel Petersen, who provided plants used for the city's 1893 World's Fair and plantings within its Lincoln Park. In the 20th century, the site served as a sanitarium for area citizens suffering from tuberculosis, which was converted into a nature center that was preserved indefinitely as the result of citizen activism in 1989. Today, visitors can stroll through the property and explore oak savannah, prairie, and wetland habitats. Inside the nature center, a discovery room offers interactive exhibits and a hands-on natural objects table for families to learn about the region's ecosystems. Public programming includes an EcoExplorers summer day camp and a Neighborhood Naturalists program for elementary school students.
5801 N. Pulaski Rd, Chicago, IL 60646, Phone: 312-744-5472
14.North Shore Beach Park
North Shore Beach Park is a delightful 0.66-acre public beach park in Chicago's Rogers Park neighborhood, located at the terminus of North Shore Avenue at the city's Lake Michigan shoreline. The beach park, which is named in honor of the former town of North Shore that was incorporated into the Rogers Park neighborhood, is one of 18 public beaches overseen by the Chicago Park District and is open to the public daily throughout the summer months between 6:00am and 11:00pm. Swimming is permitted at the beach at times when lifeguards are on duty throughout the summer months, with Coast Guard-approved flotation devices permitted for visitors with novice swimming skills. Visitors looking to kiteboard should visit nearby Montrose Beach, as water sports are not permitted at the beach.
1040 W. North Shore Ave, Chicago, IL 60626, Phone: 312-742-7857
15.Northerly Island Park
Northerly Island Park best known as the site of the 1933-1934 Chicago World's Fair, developed as a manmade peninsular island park in the early 20th century by city planner Daniel H. Burnham. Since 1938, the park has been connected to Burnham Park via a causeway, spanning 119-7 acres along the city's Lake Michigan shoreline near the Adler Planetarium. Much of the park's land is preserved as a natural area, offering lovely strolling paths and excellent fishing conditions along the city's shoreline. The park's fieldhouse is open to the public throughout the year, offering guided nature discovery tours for island visitors. Visitors can also attend concerts and other special events at the park's lakefront Huntington Bank Pavilion, located along the island's northern end.
1521 S. Linn White Dr, Chicago, IL 60605, Phone: 312-745-2910
Palmisano Park, also known as Stearns Quarry, was the site of an ancient coral reef that formed over 400 million years ago and operated as a limestone quarry from the mid-19th century through the 1970s. The site was briefly used as a landfill until a plan was proposed for turning the park into a new urban green space for the Bridgeport community. The 26.6-acre park was opened to the public in 2009, developed by the Site Design Group in cooperation with the Chicago Park District and filling a need for green space within the neighborhood. Park visitors can fish within a pond created by filling in the walls of the former quarry area or stroll through the park's wetland areas, which are populated by a variety of native plants and shorebirds. Over 1.7 miles of walking paths traverse the park's lands, offering scenic overlooks and dramatic views of the city's skyline. Other amenities include a running track, athletic fields, and an overlook hill.
2700 S. Halsted St, Chicago, IL 60608, Phone: 312-747-6497
Ridge Park was the first park developed in Chicago's Beverly neighborhood in 1913, transferred to the care of the Chicago Park District in 1934. The 10-acre park is named in honor of its tree-lined western boundary ridge, once a glacial shoreline for Lake Chicago. Today, the park is home to a number of monuments honoring American war veterans, including a monument to United States Marine Corps Captain William J. Hurley, an area resident who was killed during Operation Desert Storm. Parkgoers can choose from a variety of indoor and outdoor recreational activities, including a fieldhouse that offers a public gymnasium, swimming pool, fitness center, and woodworking shop. Outside, a wide array of sporting fields are available for use, including baseball and tennis courts. Other park amenities include a walking path and a children's playground. Many sport and culture courses are offered at the fieldhouse throughout the year, including children's after school programming.
1817 W. 96th Street, Chicago, IL 60643, Phone: 312-747-6640
Skinner Park is a lively seven-acre park in Chicago's Near West neighborhood, immortalized in Theodore Dreiser's 1900 novel Sister Carrie. The park, which was originally established as Jefferson Park in 1848, was renamed in honor of its adjacent facility Mark Skinner School in 1955. What was once a lake was filled in to create baseball fields, basketball courts, and a multipurpose field for soccer and football play. A newly-renovated children's playground also is offered today, including climbable features designed by Jennifer Gotowski and Phil Schuster of the Chicago Public Art Group. At adjacent Whitney Young High School, parkgoers can also make use of a public gymnasium and indoor swimming pool. Special event programming is offered for the entire family throughout the year at the park, including an autumn pumpkin patch, a Movies in the Park series, and nature programming at the park's community garden.
1331 W. Adams St, Chicago, IL 60606, Phone: 312-746-5560
19.Ping Tom Memorial Park
Ping Tom Memorial Park is a lovely 17.44-acre park located within Chicago's Armour Square neighborhood on the site of a former Chicago and Western Indiana Railroad railyard. The park, which was developed in 1998, was named in honor of Chinatown civic leader Ping Tom, the founder of the Chinese American Development Corporation. The park's fieldhouse, which is named for Advisory Council President Leonard Louie, is home to an indoor swimming pool, a public gymnasium facility, a state-of-the-art fitness center, and a second-story outdoor patio and landscaped rooftop area. Outside, park visitors can make use of the park's boathouse, which offers seasonal kayak rentals and a public boat dock, or bring children to play at the park's playground. Special events held at the park throughout the year include a summer Movies in the Park series, a Shakespeare in the Park theater series, and a variety of live music and dance performances.
1700 S. Wentworth Ave, Chicago, IL 60616, Phone: 312-225-3121
Washington Park is one of Chicago's most noted and historic parks, originally designed by legendary landscape architects Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux as the western division of the expansive South Park. The park, which is located today within Chicago's Washington Park and Woodlawn neighborhoods, stretches across 345 acres and is home to iconic features such as the Fountain of Time, designed in 1922 by sculptor Lorado Taft. Visitors can stroll through the park's expansive nature area, explore its harvest garden and arboretum facilities, or make use of its public fieldhouse, which is home to facilities ranging from gymnasiums to a photography lab and dance studio. A lagoon is also offered, along with an aquatic center, children's playgrounds, and a variety of sporting courts. A wide variety of cultural and athletic programming is presented at the park annually, including fitness courses, after school programs, and movement and dance programming.
5531 S. King Dr, Chicago, IL 60615, Phone: 773-256-1248
Webster Park is a quaint 1.2-acre park in Chicago's Near South Side district, developed in the 1990s as part of the city's ongoing 10-mile Burnham Greenway trail project, which will link to the 475-mile Grand Illinois Trail when completed. The project, which is a collaboration between the City of Chicago, the State of Illinois, Cook County, and CorLands, strives to transform a former abandoned railway corridor into a multi-use greenway shaded by native tree plantings. It aims to honor city planner Daniel H. Burnham, who emphasized connecting parks and forest preserve areas within his original plan for the city, developed in collaboration with Edward H. Bennett. Today, the lovely parklet offers a stretch of passive green space for community gathering and relaxation, with benches provided for visitors to sit and observe the surrounding fauna and neighborhood area.
1357 S. Indiana Ave, Chicago, IL 60605, Phone: 312-328-0821
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Welles Park is a delightful multipurpose park spanning nearly 16 acres within Chicago's Lincoln Square neighborhood, named in honor of United States Secretary of the Navy Gideon Welles, a member of President Abraham Lincoln's cabinet. The park is best known as the site where Harlem Globetrotters founder Abe Saperstein began his basketball career as a community youth center coach. Today, the park offers a variety of indoor and outdoor sporting experiences for area residents, including a year-round indoor pool that offers lap swimming times, instruction courses, and aqua exercise drop-in times. A fitness center is also offered, along with football, softball, and baseball fields and track and field equipment. In 2010, an ADA-accessible playground was installed, with soft surfaces providing safe play experiences for children of all mobility levels. Other attractions include horseshoe pits and a European-style gazebo that hosts live music performances and storytelling events.
2333 W. Sunnyside Ave, Chicago, IL 60625, Phone: 312-742-7511
Wicker Park is a 4.74-acre park within Chicago's West Town community area, named in honor of grocers and developers Charles and Joel Wicker, who originally donated the land to the City of Chicago in 1870 for the development of a public park facility. Today, the park is known throughout the city for its lush, beautiful landscaped gardens, spanning 10,000 square feet throughout the park and maintained by the Wicker Park Garden Club. Park visitors can make use of its indoor fieldhouse gymnasium, which also offers community meeting room spaces that may be rented for private special events. Outside, a large children's playground is home to an interactive water play area, while a dog-friendly field lets visitors frolic with their four-legged friends. Other amenities include baseball, soccer, and football fields, an historic fountain, and special event space for live music performances and seasonal farmer's markets.
1425 N. Damen Avenue, Chicago, IL 60622, Phone: 312-742-7553
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Zatterberg Park is one of Chicago's smallest public parks, only spanning 0.22 acres throughout the city's North Center neighborhood near Montrose and Ashland Avenues. The park property was acquired by the City of Chicago in 1938 and was transferred to the care of the Bureau of Parks and Recreation in 1950. In 2004, the Chicago Parks District renamed the park in honor of local librarian and historian Helen Zatterberg, part of a citywide initiative to honor notable Chicago women. Visitors can play with their children at a safe soft-surface playground throughout the summer months or relax on open green spaces. Though no structured public programming is offered at the park, programming is available throughout the year at nearby Chase Park.
4246 N. Hermitage Ave, Chicago, IL 60613, Phone: 312-742-7518
24 Best Chicago Parks
- Adams Park, Photo: Parinya_k/stock.adobe.com
- Armour Square Park, Photo: lily/stock.adobe.com
- Edgebrook Park, Photo: ogonekipit/stock.adobe.com
- Grant Park Beach, Photo: EleSi/stock.adobe.com
- Haas Park, Photo: Amy Myers/stock.adobe.com
- Humboldt Park, Photo: Brandy McKnight/stock.adobe.com
- Lakeshore East Park, Photo: James/stock.adobe.com
- Lake Shore Park, Photo: Alena/stock.adobe.com
- Lincoln Park, Photo: jaskophotography/stock.adobe.com
- Maggie Daley Park, Photo: Sergey Novikov/stock.adobe.com
- Marquette Park, Photo: vasin/stock.adobe.com
- Millennium Park, Photo: Thomas Barrat/stock.adobe.com
- North Park Village Nature Center Park, Photo: 621513/stock.adobe.com
- North Shore Beach Park, Photo: James/stock.adobe.com
- Northerly Island Park, Photo: Naeblys/stock.adobe.com
- Palmisano Park, Photo: ashophoto/stock.adobe.com
- Ridge Park, Photo: brelsbil/stock.adobe.com
- Skinner Park, Photo: Kristina/stock.adobe.com
- Ping Tom Memorial Park, Photo: Ning/stock.adobe.com
- Washington Park, Photo: James/stock.adobe.com
- Webster Park, Photo: Kornkarin/stock.adobe.com
- Welles Park, Photo: Kevin Drew Davis/stock.adobe.com
- Wicker Park, Photo: James/stock.adobe.com
- Zatterberg Park, Photo: Natali Vinokurova/stock.adobe.com
- Cover Photo: kanonsky/stock.adobe.com