Chicago’s parks are a great excuse to get outside before it’s too cold.
It’s fall in Chicago, which means there’s only so much time left before winter creeps in and outside activities are a distant memory. Be sure to spend time in these 10 parks while a light jacket is all you need to feel comfortable going outside.
While most of its popular attractions are more suited for summer, Millennium Park still makes for an entertaining visit during the fall. Framed by incredible Chicago architecture, this park is picturesque. Take a photo in the reflective surface of the Cloud Gate (aka The Bean), enjoy the Laurie Garden’s last bloom, or simply sit and people-watch as tourists bustle about.
Millennium Park’s playful neighbor, Maggie Daley Park is a great destination for all ages. The Play Garden is an adventurous place for kids to run around, climb rope courses, or man a giant pirate ship. While it’s technically just for adults, we’ll look the other way if you wanna take a turn on the slide. Maggie Daley Park also features an 18-hole mini-golf course, a 40-foot climbing wall, and during the winter, ice skaters can zoom around the quarter-mile ice ribbon.
Another of Millennium Park’s nearby cousins (they’re really all one big park), Grant Park is a 319-acre gathering place often referred to as “Chicago’s Front Yard.” Exciting events set up shop here from the Taste of Chicago to the 2019 Climate Strike to Lollapalooza. Grant Park is also where Barack Obama and thousands of supporters celebrated his election win in 2008. Home to the stunning Buckingham Fountain, the Museum Campus, and beautiful lakefront views, this is a fantastic place to spend the afternoon.
With six and a half miles of lakefront views, Lincoln Park is an exquisite public space, home to the Lincoln Park Zoo, Lincoln Park Conservatory and the Lincoln Park Cultural Center. While it’s still warm, consider jogging along the nearby Lakefront Trail, riding your board to the skate park, or throwing a few pitches at the baseball field.
Jackson Park is an exquisite south side attraction home to gorgeous greenery such as the Japanese style Osaka Garden. This was also the site chosen for the World’s Columbian Exposition, which helped put Chicago on the map as a major city in 1890. In addition to your typical Chicago Park District recreational activities, visitors can enjoy three harbors, 63rd St. Beach, and the Museum of Science and Industry.
Located on the west side, there are loads of things to do in Garfield Park. The park has facilities to swim, box, play baseball, basketball, or tennis, and is home to the Garfield Park Conservatory. The conservatory is the perfect place to enjoy nature away from the cold. No matter your weather preferences, Garfield Park is an ideal space for fall activities.
Chicagoans may fondly remember Humboldt Park as the temporary home of Chance the Snapper, the runaway alligator that captured our hearts over the summer of 2019. When it isn’t housing reptile fugitives, Humboldt is home to baseball fields, bike paths, tennis courts, lovely rose beds, and an inland beach. Architecture fans should visit the Humboldt Park Boathouse to enjoy incredible architecture based on Frank Lloyd Wright’s Prairie style.
Located in Chinatown, the Ping Tom Memorial Park is a 17.24-acre public space that was originally home to the Chicago and Western Indiana Railroad yard. In 1998, the Chicago Park District began turning the railyard into the park it is today. It’s beautiful Chinese architecture make visitors marvel. The park’s fieldhouse has a nine-foot-deep pool, a multi-purpose gymnasium, and beautiful rooftop views of the Chicago River. There’s also a restaurant in the fieldhouse, perfect for a lunchtime break in a splendid park.
Oz Park is exactly what you might expect. Statues of The Wizard of Oz characters are scattered throughout. Kids can climb and play in Dorothy’s Playlot, there’s an Emerald Garden with beautiful flowers, and a series of recreational programs offered throughout the year. This is the ideal place to bring your Oz-obsessed friends.
This park is perfect for nature-lovers looking to explore 13.22 acres of restored greenery and a scenic lagoon. Kids are invited to explore the Nature Play area and when the weather gets cold, visitors can enjoy cheap and/or free programming and art classes. Located in the West Ridge neighborhood, this park is a community treasure.
There are so many parks in Chicago, there’s no way we could list them all. Check out the Chicago Park District for information on more outside fun.
Feature photo: @snapthefavorites