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Lakefront Trail (Chicago, IL)

City: Chicago, IL

Neighborhood: Downtown

Route Map: Google Maps Link

Route Distance: 4.2 miles one way

Nearest Public Transit: Enter at Belmont stop; Exit at Grand Stop 

Aptly named, the Lakefront Trail stretches nearly 19 miles along Lake Michigan with various access points along the north and south sides of the city. We recommend a ~4ish mile stretch starting near Lincoln Park/Lakeview East that features great scenic points along the way. 

Equally enjoyable and accessible for runners, walkers or bikers, enter via the Lakefront Path by Belmont Harbor (two entry points are Belmont & Lakeshore Drive or Wellington & Lakeshore Drive). 

Recommended stops: 

  • AIDS Garden Chicago 
    • Fully opened in June, this garden serves as a monument and memorial honoring all Chicagoans who have been effected by HIV/AIDS. Anchored by a massive Keith Haring statue, the garden features a first-hand narrative of the history of the AIDS epidemic in Chicago through interactive QR codes
  • Theater on the Lake
    • The Lakefront Restaurant is a good option for a cocktail or a bite, but we prefer to pack a picnic and enjoy the view from the greenery nearby. It's an unbeatable view of the Lake and the Chicago skyline and there's a public restroom and water fountain nearby
  • Fullerton Beach
    • Shortly after passing Theater on the Lake you'll be magically transported to another world, the sandy shore of Fullerton Beach. Swimming is permitted (in designated swim areas and during beach season) with lifeguards on duty from 11 am - 7 pm daily
  • North Avenue Beach Pier
    • Hop off the Lakefront Path momentarily to enjoy another amazing view from the Pier. If you're feeling confident, you may be able to challenge a local to a game at the onsite outdoor chess pavilion as well
  • Concrete Beach
    • If sand isn't your thing, stop and take a rest at concrete beach. Also known as Oak Street Beach, this is another spot with great views of the city and if laying out on pavement doesn't sound too comfortable, you can rent chairs on site to take in the views
  • Milton Lee Olive Park 
    • At this point you've gone about 3 miles already, but it you have another mile in the tank, there's a quiet park tucked behind Ohio Street Beach that provides a different vantage point to take in the lake and nearby Navy Pier. It's a hidden gem if you're looking for a quieter outdoor escape from the city

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