Stretching 18.5 miles along Lake Michigan’s western shore, the Chicago Lakefront Trail is a popular respite for walkers, joggers and cyclers. The trail passes through the city’s four major lakefront parks, connecting Lincoln Park, Grant Park, Burnham Park and Jackson Park (from north to south). In the height of summer, the path sees up to 70,000 people per day. Along the way, the trail connects most Chicago beaches as well as three skate parks. There are also a few dog-friendly areas accessible from the trail.
Chicago Lakefront Trail Features
From Ardmore Avenue to the North to 71st Street to the south, Chicago’s Lakefront Trails offer both recreational opportunities and an easy walking commute for Chicagoans. Find residents training for a marathon, tourists riding rental bicycles and people community to work on any given day. The formerly combined trail now offers separate paths for walking and cycling.
Along the way, the trail connects Lincoln Park, Grant Park, Burnham Park and Jackson Park, offering access to an array of Chicago Attractions. Toward the north, highlights include the Waveland Clock Tower, Belmont Harbor, Monroe Harbor and Navy Pier.
Located in the Streeterville neighborhood in Chicago’s Near North Side community area, Navy Pier features over 50 acres of gardens, parks, restaurants, shops and family attractions. The popular tourist destination hosts sightseeing tours and an array of rides like the Pepsi Wave Singer and Carousel. At the far end, the anchor from the naval USS Chicago ship is on display.
Moving South, trail users will find Chicago’s Museum Campus along the way. Museum Campus covers 57 acres home to Adler Planetarium, Shedd Aquarium, Soldier Field, the Field Museum and McCormick Place Convention Center. Soldier Field features the home stadium for the Chicago Bears football team.
In the Hyde Park neighborhood, the Museum of Science and Industry is housed in the former Palace of Fine Arts. It features a full-size coal mine replica, the U-505 German Sub captured during World War II and a model of the Apollo 8.
At the south end of the trail, the South Shore Cultural Center houses an art school, the Paul Robeson Theatre, dance studios, a Fine Art Gallery, music practice rooms and a visual arts studio.
The park district is currently in the process of creating the Navy Pier Flyover, which will reduce the meeting of traffic with the pedestrian sidewalk. The bridge will feature an exit in the middle to Navy Pier.
Chicago Lakefront Trail Events
Although the trail itself does not host events, there are an array of venues along the way, like the Robeson Theater at the South Shore Cultural Center and the Theater at Navy Pier.