Biking around Chicago destinations like Lincoln Park Zoo is easy, convenient and fun — Photo courtesy of Adam Alexander Photography / Choose Chicago
Chicago’s Lakefront Trail makes it easy to see the city by bicycle any time of the year. If you have just a few hours, either rent a bike or book a bike tour with Bike and Roll and explore Chicago by two wheels. (Helmets are included with the bike rental)
Start your journey at Millennium Park. Take a photo in front of Cloud Gate (or "The Bean," as we Chicagoans affectionately call the mirror bean-like sculpture). Depending on the time of year, you may enjoy one of several free live musical performances at the Jay Pritzker Pavilion.
From Millennium Park, head east (toward Lake Michigan) and start riding along Chicago’s Lakefront Trail, heading north. The car-free trail makes it easy to ride safely while enjoying the beauty of Lake Michigan, the beaches and the city’s skyline.
Family at Cloud Gate — Photo courtesy of Adam Alexander Photography / Choose Chicago
Next stop is Navy Pier, where you can park your bike and get on the 150-foot-high Ferris wheel. This historic pier is also home to a carousel, old-fashioned swing ride and an 18-hole mini golf course. There are plenty of dining options within Navy Pier, including Chicago’s famous Billy Goat Tavern and Harry Caray’s Tavern. Or, grab some Garrett Popcorn inside the food court and stroll down the pier, taking in the scenic view.
Get back on the bike and head north toward North Avenue Beach. If your trip is during the summer months, stop at Castaways, a bar and grill located right on the beach. Here, you can grab a soda, cocktail lunch or dinner while kicking back and relaxing al fresco.
Continue northbound until you hit Lincoln Park Zoo and the Conservatory. (The zoo offers free admission and is open 365 days a year.) One can easily spend an entire day at the zoo, but if you don’t have a whole day, at least check out the Regenstein Center for African Apes, where huge glass windows give guests an opportunity to literally go nose to nose with curious and complex apes.
For great city views and a delicious meal, treat yourself at North Pond, a cozy cabin-like restaurant with an Arts and Crafts atmosphere. For something a bit more budget friendly, Park Place Café is the zoo’s indoor cafeteria, while The Patio at Café Brauer is an outdoor patio open from mid-May through Labor Day.
If there is still time on the bicycle itinerary clock, across the street from Lincoln Park Zoo is the Peggy Notaebaert Nature Museum, which is especially kid friendly and enjoyable for adults, too.
When your time is up, head back south toward Millennium Park using the Chicago Lakefront Trail, and take in the city’s stunning skyline.