Miles of Serenity and Activities Found throughout Chicago Parks

Chicago may be known for its soaring skyscrapers but locals know it has some of the most amazing and serene green spaces. Sure, Millennium Park may be the city’s crown jewel with Cloud Gate, or 'The Bean' as we call it in Chicago, Crown Fountain, two free ice skating rinks (with the opening of Maggie Daley Park) and music concerts throughout the year and Lincoln Park is home to the Lincoln Park Zoo, one of the country’s oldest (and free) zoos. That’s not the only park where you can see animals. Families love Indian Boundary Park on the city’s north side for its mini zoo with farm animals and its castle playground. 

Sports lovers perfect their tennis at Indian Boundary Park while golfers can hit the ball on the course or driving range for a song at Marquette Park.

Garden enthusiasts find peace and tranquility at the Garfield Park which houses the Garfield Park Conservatory, a year-round oasis of greenery. 

For those who want miles to walk, run or bike along Lake Michigan but away from the hustle and bustle of the lakefront on the northside, head just south of Millennium Park to Burnham Park which also features a model boat pond, skate park and several beaches.



To find Ping Tom Memorial Park, which can be tricky. In fact, most Chicagoans couldn't point it on a map. Take a water taxi since Chinatown is a stop and it lets you out at Ping Tom Memorial Park. If you're driving or walking, cross the railroad...  Read More

North Park Village Nature Center
Photo courtesy of Megy Karydes


Visitors to this hidden gem will enjoy oak savanna, a forest, wetland and prairie all in one area. There are three trails from which to choose and explore: main loop, wetland and woodland and while you can take as long as you'd like, it's...  Read More



There is a mini-zoo with farm animals including chickens, goats and llamas in this park on the city's north side. While it also includes a playground, unlike other parks, this one is a big wooden castle with slides, bridges and tunnels so kids...  Read More

Lincoln Park


Lincoln Park is home to the Lincoln Park Zoo. This free zoo is not only one of the country's oldest zoos housing 1,200 animals representing 230 species, but it also is home to a conservatory and a carousel. Lions, giraffes, rhinos, tigers,...  Read More



Located in the Chicago Lawn neighborhood on the southwest side of Chicago, Marquette Park is the largest park on the southwest side totaling 323 acres. In addition to two gymnasiums, an auditorium, woodshop, Martin Luther King, Jr. kiosk and...  Read More



Burnham Park sits prominently on Chicago's Lakefront, just south of Grant Park. Named for Chicago's famous architect and planner Daniel H. Burnham, the 600 acres begins with Northerly Island and 14th Street Beach. Six miles of walking paths...  Read More

Garfield Park
Garfield Park
Photo courtesy of Chicago Park District


A serene, tranquil setting is the trademark of one of the world's largest indoor gardens. The conservatory, built in 1908, displays plants in natural settings, and its permanent collections are sheltered in plant houses that recreate appropriate...  Read More



Millennium Park is Chicago's crown jewel. With the change of seasons, the park attracts thousands every day. Summertime means a stellar line-up of concerts at Jay Pritzker Pavilion (during the day, on most Tuesdays through Fridays, the Grant...  Read More



Named for President Andrew Jackson, Chicago's Jackson Park was designed by Frederick Law Olmsted, who included reflecting pools and perennial gardens in his design when it opened in 1893. Situated on the south side, the stunning 500+ acre park...  Read More



Located just east of Millennium Park, the new park recently opened the ribbon ice rink this winter. The rest of the 25-acre park, which will feature a playground for kids and many picnic tables and benches, is slated to open in 2015. Unlike it's...  Read More


Meet Megy Karydes

Megy Karydes has spent more than 20 years as a professional writer and most of her life in Chicago. While she’s traveled extensively internationally, visiting each of the 50 states is on her...  More About Megy