Lakefront Activities in Chicago

June 7, 2017

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12th Avenue Beach. Image by Bradley Kirouac.

According to our HUNT Chicago writer, Matt Kirouac, few cities are as aquatically obsessed as Chicago. He posits that it’s the lack of a sea view that makes Chicagoans truly appreciate Lake Michigan, interacting with it in any way they can, as often as they can.

But, you’d never really know the city is bereft of an ocean, considering the endless lineup of sandy, lakeside beaches, complete with unruly seagulls and an ocean breeze. Dip your toes in the waves at 12th Street Beach: this serene hideaway is ideal for sunning and swimming and sandcastle-building.

Magic Hedge. Image via Flickr Creative Commons, by Jeremy Riel.

One of the largest and most popular beaches in town also boasts one of the most calming nature-in-the-city adventures. Adorably known as Magic Hedge, the Montrose Beach Bird Sanctuary is a sprawling forest of nature trails. Expect to see birds of all sizes and colors, plus flowers aplenty, tall grass and the occasional finicky rabbit.

Castaways. Image via Castaways Facebook page.

If you’re going to dare to attempt North Avenue Beach, easily the most overrun and definitely the most MTV Spring Break, you’ll need a cocktail. Head to the gigantic beached ship, transformed into a bi-level bar and restaurant called Castaways. The tropically inclined drinks are refreshing and vacation-y, especially the luscious Mai Tais, and the view of the skyline is impeccable.

Lakefront Trail. Image via Flickr Creative Commons, by Maggie not Margaret

From Edgewater on the north side, Lakefront Trail is an 18-mile pathway that descends to the southern stretches of the city. Along the way, whether you’re biking, walking or rollerblading, you’ll experience some of the best views the lakefront has to offer: Navy Pier, Grant Park, Museum Campus and many more sights line your route.

South Shore Cultural Center. Image via Flickr Creative Commons, by EyeTunes

On the southern edge of Chicago’s lakefront, you’ll find the South Shore Cultural Center, a century-old designated historic landmark that spans nearly 70 acres. One of the standout features is the park’s nine hole golf course, a fun and scenic place to tee off if sports don’t infuriate you. There’s also lots of green space for strolls and picnics, if that’s more your speed.

About The HUNT Chicago Writer: When it came time to move away for college, the choice destination was obvious to New Hampshire native Matt Kirouac: Chicago. After earning a culinary degree from Robert Morris University, he became a food writer. He’s written for various publications and has served as the associate editor for Plate Magazine. Away from his laptop, Matt enjoys bowling, walking his dog around Ukrainian Village and being overly competitive when playing video games with his husband.

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