Don’t believe everything you read about Chicago’s weather. Sure, Chicago can get cold, but only during the winter months -- just like most other cities around the world. So there are some 8 or 9 months where recreation is at the top of every Chicagoans list -- daily.
Believe it or not, Chicagoans are even wild about recreation in the dead of winter -- who doesn’t like ice- skating beneath a sparkling skyline or sledding in the snow? So whether it’s spring, winter, summer or fall, Chicagoans (and visitors alike) can enjoy the hundreds of recreational attractions and activities the city has to offer -- anytime.
Below is a list of some of Chicago’s most popular recreational activities. Enjoy!
Lake Shore Drive Bike Path
Chicago is famous for it’s skyline and that skyline can be seen while driving down the city’s most scenic drive -- Lake Shore Drive. The Lake Shore Drive Bike path travels right alongside LSD, and of course, beautiful Lake Michigan. This is the spot where everyone in the city comes to run, bike, skate, walk, sun, stroll, play volleyball, relax, swim, or grab a beer on the beach.
Along Lake Shore Drive and the path, you’ll find several restaurants/eateries, volleyball tournaments, and an outdoor fitness center. And most importantly, this location is the place for many of Chicago’s main events such as the Air & Water Show, Venetian Night, and the Chicago Marathon.
Michigan Avenue, Columbus Drive
Randolph Street, Monroe Street
This 24.5-acre, $475 million park owned by the City of Chicago, houses a 16,000-square foot ice skating rink (that converts to a 150-seat star-lit dining area featuring outdoor concerts and fashion shows), the 300-seat Park Grill, two 50-foot digital screens (one of the most elaborate installations this city has ever seen), and arts and entertainment galore.
The park features work by a collection of world-renowned artists, designers, landscapers and architects including: Kathryn Gustafson, Frank Gehry, Juame Plensa and Anish Kapoor, to name a few. At Madison and Michigan, visit the sculpture by “world-renowned artist” Anish Kapoor. It is an elliptical shape that reflects the park and it’s surroundings, weighing more than 100 tons. This sculpture is also 66 feet in length, 33 feet tall, and 47 feet wide.
Also featured at Millennium Park are a music pavilion, a theater, a garden, Ameritech Plaza, and an elaborate fountain. The Frank Gehry-designed Jay Pritzker Pavillion located at Columbus and Randolph, features futuristic curves of stainless steel, and a large bandshell, with a stage the size of the Symphony Center -- there’s enough space for 120 musicians and 150 singers.
The pavilion itself seats up to 4,000, and the lawn area can accommodate more than 11,000 people, comfortably. The 1,500-seat music and dance theater welcomes dozens of art groups ranging from ballet and folk music to opera and classical music.
The park is open from 6 a.m.- 11 p.m. daily and admission is always free. Stop by the Millennium Park Welcome Center at 201 E. Randolph Street before exploring.
Lincoln Park Zoo
2200 N. Canon Drive
Chicago, IL 60614
Housing more than 1,200 animals representing roughly 230 species, Lincoln Park Zoo is one of the most popular recreational attractions in the Chicago (and surrounding) area. Established in 1868, this popular Chicago zoo is one of the nations oldest zoological gardens. Lincoln Park Zoo is also one of the world’s last free zoos, and it is open 365 days a year. Also, check out the Lincoln Park Conservatory -- right next door to the zoo.
Golf Rd. at Route 53 (5 Woodfield Shopping Center)
Schaumburg, IL 60173
Woodfield Mall is the largest mall in the state of Illinois, and in 1975, it was the world’s largest. Today, it is the 8th largest mall in the world with more than 26 million visitors each year. Woodfield Mall features nearly 300 stores and restaurants, and it recently added around a dozen popular stores to the collection.Hours: Mon.-Fri. 10:00 a.m. -9:00 p.m; Saturday 10:00 a.m. -9:00 p.m.; Sunday 11:00 a.m.-6:00 p.m.