Photo courtesy of Photo by Jamie Bartosch
Photo courtesy of Photo courtesy of Choose Chicago

Chicago Lakefront Trail

Type: Attractions, Beaches, Family Friendly, Free Attractions, Great Views, Outdoor Activities - Summer, Outdoor Activities - Winter, Parks, Public Spaces, Romantic, Uniquely Here

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10Best Says

Romantic Things to Do: Walk, job, bike, roller blade ... no matter how you travel along this 18.5-mile lakefront path, it's going to be beautiful. It's also going to be congested, especially in the downtown area on summer weekends. But it's worth it. With the Chicago skyline on one side and Lake Michigan on the other, you'll pass by some of Chicago's most famous landmarks, including Buckingham Fountain, Navy Pier, Soldier Field, Lincoln Park Zoo and the Adler Planetarium. Nature lovers will enjoy the gardens and park south of the city, near Northerly Island, and dog lovers will want to stop by the "doggie beach" near Irving Park Road.

Best Attractions & Activities: With skyscrapers on one side and the lake on the other, this 18.5-mile walking, running and biking path is one of the city's most scenic places. The paved, linear path runs along Lake Michigan, stretching from the far north part of the city to the South Side. Neighborhoods and attractions dot the path, including the Museum Campus (home to several museums), Soldier Field (home of the Chicago Bears), Buckingham Fountain, Lincoln Park Zoo, Oak Street Beach, and the South Shore Cultural Center. The path gets crowded during warm weekends. Expect to slow down downtown. Bike rentals are available near every path entrance.

Free Things to Do, Attractions near UIC Pavilion, Attractions near United Center, Sightseeing: The city really comes alive when the weather warms up enough for its residents to hit the Lakefront Path. Located east of Lake Shore Drive, the Lakefront Trail is an 18.5 mile linear path that stretches from the far north part of the city to the south side. Neighborhoods dot the path as well as notable cultural landmarks including the Museum of Science and Industry; the Field Museum of Natural History; Shedd Aquarium; Adler Planetarium & Astronomy Museum; the Chicago Children's Museum; the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum; Lincoln Park Zoo, and the South Shore Cultural Center. The paved path is very popular among walkers, joggers and bicyclists and it will and does get crowded during the warm weekends. Expect to slow down around Navy Pier, one of the most congested points on the trail. Still, the Lakefront Path is one of Chicago's best and free sightseeing attractions.


Address

W. Ardmore Ave. and N. Sheridan Rd. to E. 71st St. and S. South Shore Dr./US 41 at South Shore Cultural Center
Chicago, IL

(312) 742-PLAY (7529

Expert Tips by Jamie Bartosch

Chicago Local Expert

Romantic Things to Do: "For a great skyline view, sit on the rocks at North Avenue, or at a small peninsula between Belmont and Irving Park Road."

Best Attractions & Activities: "The trail can get very crowded, especially downtown, so to avoid the crowds, go as early in the morning as possible."

Best for Romantic Things to Do Because: It's Chicago's best and most scenic attraction - and it's free!

Recommended as Best Attractions & Activities Because: The lakefront trail is one of Chicago's best attractions, and it's free!

Expert Tips by Megy Karydes

Chicago Local Expert

Free Things to Do, Attractions near UIC Pavilion, Attractions near United Center, Sightseeing: "Metered parking is available at almost all of the parks along the trail."

Best for Free Things to Do, Attractions near UIC Pavilion, Attractions near United Center, Sightseeing Because: One of Chicago's best free attractions, the 18.5 mile linear path stretches from one part of the city to the other.