Jog, serious run, or casual summer stroll, Chicago offers some of the most scenic nature spots spattered among the cityscape to provide the best of both worlds. From Lake Michigan to the Botanic Gardens, break out those running shoes and hit the wind.
Seemingly a no-brainer, the glorious Lakefront path is what sets Chicago apart from every other great city and makes those long winter months pseudo-tolerable. With the dual skyline view of the city and the lull of Lake Michigan, there is no better place to clear your head and catch a breeze.
While strewn with tourists, Millennium Park holds a certain appeal to the all-knowing locals. The winding paths and art installations make you feel like there’s always something new to discover. Aside from being family-friendly, between the people watching, music, and free audio tour of the sites, there truly is something for everyone. Plus, the fountain provides a convenient spray breeze to keep you cool.
North Branch Trail
Aside from being a popular bike path, the North Branch of the Chicago River is paved the whole way down and offers plenty of nature to see. From the forest preserves of the Skokie lagoons and ultimately ending at the Chicago Botanic Garden, the North Branch provides a unique mecca amidst the busting urban/suburban life. On the weekends, groups grill out so pack a picnic and hit the trail with pals.
On the south end of Lincoln Square across from the Library lies Wells Park. Always bustling with activity, it is a true summertime mecca. Strewn with fountains, baseball diamonds, bocce, tennis courts, an indoor pool, Natatorium, and spikes for horseshoes, there aren’t a lot of things this park is missing. To add a touch of history, founder of the Harlem Globetrotters, Abe Saperstein, used to coach basketball here. Welles is also home to the Folk and Roots festival and who doesn’t like jogging to the beat.
Montrose Harbor Beach
One of the more underrated beaches in the area, Montrose Harbor offers a relaxing path along the water’s edge while daydreaming about the boats sailing by. Boasting one of the biggest dog parks in town, it’s a dual spot for your four-legged friend to frolic around too.