Near the bustling Navy Pier you will find a serene refuge in Milton Lee Olive Park. Open lawns offer a cozy space to sprawl out on a blanket end enjoy some of the city’s best views at waters edge, with the skyline stretching beyond. Located west of the James W. Jardine Water Purification Plant and next to Ohio Street Beach and Jane Addams Memorial Park, Milton Lee Oliver Park is known for its large grassy areas. Designed by Dan Kiley (who also worked on the Art Institute of Chicago’s South Garden and Navy Pier) in 1965, the park features paths ideal for walking, biking and jogging.
Milton Lee Olive Park Features
The park commemorates Milton L. Olive, III, a Vietnam vet who was the first African American to receive a Medal of Honor, as well as a Chicago native. The park was designated to Olive in 1966 in a service presided by President Lyndon B Johnson. Today, the park stretches 10 acres on a 61-acre peninsula. Stretching into Lake Michigan, it covers the grounds of the Jardine Water Purification Plant.
The park features a fenced entrance flanked by a wide alée of honey locust trees. The trees lead to the water and frame the city view beyond. The path features a wide cantilevered deck at its midpoint, highlighted by black granite benches that extend over the lake. Looking northwest, these panoramic waterfront views of the city are some of the best around.
Five fountains make up the main body of the park. Their stepped, aerating, circular designs are connected by diagonal walks, surrounded by stretches of green lawn. Swanky high rises on Lake Shore Drive offer great views of the park’s complex landscape from above.
“Hymn to Water,” a statue and monument honoring Milton Lee Olive, is the park’s centerpiece.
Milton Lee Olive Park Events
Although this hidden gem offers a great place to run, bike and enjoy the view, it doesn’t host any official programming or events.