Updated: Jan 27
The Chicago Park District manages the country's largest municipal park system. Although the city is famed for its spectacular architecture and high-rise skyscrapers, it does not lack in green space. Forget that you're in the heart of a large metropolis, crowded with people, buildings, and traffic with these quiet, meditative green areas for a picnic in the shade or a calm noon rest to appreciate nature.
We've compiled a list of some of the beloved city parks to help you decide which ones to explore first.
Location: 2610 N Cannon Drive, Chicago, IL 60614
North Pond, which was originally a setting rich with Kentucky blue grass and lilac bushes, now has over 150 plant varieties that draw more than 220 species of birds, as well as countless small mammals, insects, and reptiles within its 15-acre space. It is owned and managed by The Chicago Park District and currently maintained by The Lincoln Park Conservancy.
Location: 6401 S. Stony Island Ave., Chicago, IL 60637
Jackson Park is situated in the Hyde Park and Woodlawn community. Included in its network of natural areas are the Wooded Island and Bobolink Meadows, as well as a flower and vegetable garden. Rental spaces, such as gymnasium, multi-purpose clubrooms, and multi-purpose fields, are also available for use. The World's Columbian Exposition was held in Chicago in 1890, and Jackson Park was chosen as the venue.
Location: 2700 S. Halsted St., Chicago, IL 60608
Previously known as Stearns Quarry, Palmisano Park is a 26.60-acre green space that has been developed from coral reefs to quarry to landfill to park. Metal grating pathways, a crushed stone running route, and repurposed lumber boardwalks run around the park. There are also interpretive wetlands, a fishing pond, and a hill with spectacular views.
Location: 1200-5700 S. Lake Shore Drive, Chicago, IL 60615
Burnham Park runs from 14th Street to 56th Street, connecting Grant Park and Jackson Park. This 653.63-acre attraction was named after Daniel H. Burnham, a notable Chicago architect and planner. It is home to Alfred Caldwell's naturalistic Promontory Point and a popular skate park on the 31st Street.
Location: 1805 N Ridgeway Ave, Chicago, IL 60647
The 606 is a groundbreaking initiative that transformed an abandoned railroad embankment into a network of recreational trails and parks. The common numbers on Chicago's west side zip codes inspired the name. Some of the notable spots worth going are the Damen Arts Plaza and the Exelon Observatory.