MAR 2024

Explore parks, trails, and beaches for unmatched outdoor fun in Chicago.

Finding outdoor activities in Chicago that blend urban exploration with natural beauty can feel overwhelming. 

Enter our handpicked guide, designed to navigate you through the best of Chicago's outdoor adventures. 

From serene parks to thrilling sports, we've curated the top experiences to ensure a great time outside for you. 

Discover the best of Chicago's outdoors

Discovering the best outdoor activities in Chicago.

Explore the top outdoor experiences in Chicago.

From the serene paths of Maggie Daley Park to the bustling trails of The 606, every corner of The Windy City offers a unique blend of natural beauty and urban charm. 

Whether you're a thrill-seeker looking for your next adrenaline rush or a nature lover seeking tranquility, Chicago's outdoors has something just for you. 

Discover the perfect blend of city vibes and natural wonders from our curated selection of the top outdoor activities in Chicago!

Maggie Daley Park

Family fun outside at Maggie Daley Park in Chicago.

A centerpiece of outdoor activity in Chicago.

Maggie Daley Park, a top tourist attraction in Chicago, is a vibrant oasis in the heart of the city, offering adventure and tranquility. 

The park showcases Chicago's dedication to outdoor fun and nature's beauty with everything from winding paths and tennis courts to picnic groves and expansive play areas. 

A must-visit whether you're up for a leisurely stroll, a playful day out with the kids, or engaging in thrilling outdoor adventures in Chicago (like rock climbing).

Website: Visit its website

The 606 (Bloomingdale Trail)

Elevated walking and biking on The 606 Trail in Chicago.

The 606 - Chicago's innovative urban trail. Representational image.

Step up your outdoor activities with a journey along The 606 (Bloomingdale Trail), an elevated linear park.

It’ll take you through well-known neighborhoods like Bucktown, Humboldt Park, Logan Square, and Wicker Park. 

Perfect for walkers, runners, and cyclists alike, this trail offers a unique perspective of Chicago's neighborhoods, art installations, and nature. 

Enjoy activities ranging from bird watching to community yoga sessions on The 606, a Chicago favorite in August, and a must-do for anyone seeking outdoor things to do in Chicago.

Website: Visit its website

Chicago’s beaches

Enjoying summer at Chicago's beaches

Look forward to sun, sand, and sports at Chicago's beaches.

Cool off during Chicago's summer with a visit to the beaches - top Chicago draws on crazy hot days.

From the lively sands of North Avenue Beach (a top pick for young adults in Chicago), known for volleyball tournaments and sun-soaked festivities, to the tranquil stretches of Montrose Beach, a quieter retreat for those seeking peace beside Lake Michigan, there's a beach for every mood. 

Enjoy outdoor fun with swimming, sunbathing, water sports, or a leisurely walk along the shoreline. 

Embrace the diverse array of outside things to do in Chicago's beaches, making every visit a unique adventure in the city's outdoors.

The Lakefront Trail

Biking along the scenic Lakefront Trail in Chicago.

The trail is a gateway to numerous Chicago attractions.

Discover the Lakefront Trail, a perfect outdoor destination for Chicago couples seeking adventure and romance. 

Stretching along Lake Michigan, this path is perfect for biking, jogging, or taking a walk, connecting you to must-see attractions such as the Navy Pier, Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum, the South Shore Cultural Center, and Lincoln Park Zoo. 

Want to add a sprinkle of culinary delight to your outing along the Lakefront Trail? Choose from waterfront dining options such as The Dock at Montrose Beach and The Shore Club at North Avenue Beach.

Whether you're after heart-pumping activities or peaceful moments by the water, the Lakefront Trail is a quintessential Chicago outdoors experience.

Website: Visit its website

Millennium Park

Experiencing art and nature at Millennium Park in Chicago.

The Bean is one of the Park’s most prominent features.

Home to the iconic Cloud Gate ("The Bean"), Pritzker Pavilion, and Lurie Garden, Millennium Park is not just an essential experience for those seeking outdoor fun in Chicago but also a highlight among downtown Chicago attractions.

It offers a backdrop for unforgettable outdoor concerts, vibrant festivals, and quiet strolls amidst awe-inspiring sculptures.

Whether you're here to snap that perfect photo, enjoy a picnic, or warm up those quads in a group Zumba session, Millennium Park is an essential experience for those seeking outdoor fun in Chicago.

Website: Visit its website

The Riverwalk

Strolling the vibrant Chicago Riverwalk.

Urban adventure meets riverside tranquility along the Riverwalk.

Urban excitement meets river life at the Chicago Riverwalk, a top tourist attraction in The Loop.

This bustling waterfront is a scenic pathway to the heart of Chicago's vibrant culture, offering a diverse range of activities for every type of adventurer. 

From the awe-inspiring digital art displays of Art on theMART to leisurely fishing spots, the Riverwalk invites you to experience the Chicago outdoors uniquely. 

Feeling peckish? Savor the flavors of Chicago at iconic riverside spots like O'Briens Riverwalk Café for classic American cuisine and City Winery Riverwalk for a glass of fine wine. 

Whether biking or exploring on foot, the Chicago Riverwalk is a treasure trove of outdoor fun, blending nature with the city's architectural wonders.

Website: Visit its website

Northerly Island

Exploring the natural beauty of Northerly Island in Chicago.

Northerly Island: A serene escape within the city. Representational image.

The serene escape of Northerly Island showcases what to do outside in Chicago for those seeking tranquility.

Experience an outdoorsy day with fishing, bird-watching, and biking trails offering stunning city and lake views, perfect for those February Chicago adventures

Searching for cultural attractions amidst the natural beauty?

Drop in at the Adler Planetarium for an interstellar journey, or catch a live performance at the Huntington Bank Pavilion, blending outdoor fun with unforgettable entertainment. 

Outdoor sports and recreation

Engaging in outdoor sports and recreation in Chicago.

Kayaking along the Chicago River.

A bevy of sports and recreational activities await you in the Windy City’s outdoors:

  • Kayaking along the Chicago River: Get those quads working as you paddle past iconic landmarks like the Willis Tower and Merchandise Mart. A favorite among Chicagoans.

  • Sailing on Lake Michigan: Set sail from Belmont Harbor, enjoying Chicago views, including the Navy Pier and the Shedd Aquarium.

  • Beach Volleyball at North Avenue Beach: Follow up on a dip in Lake Michigan with a spirited game with your family and friends. Great for holiday team building for small businesses.

  • Rock Climbing at Maggie Daley Park: Scale the climbing walls with the Chicago skyline for a backdrop. Walls are available for all skill levels.

  • Ziplining through Ape Zipline Adventure Park: Navigate through forest canopies at this adventure park, a short drive from downtown Chicago. Catch breathtaking views of nature's beauty as you zip through the course.

Whether sailing on Lake Michigan or playing exciting water sports, Chicago's outdoors ensures your quest for adventure and fun is met with endless possibilities.

Outdoor activities in Chicago suburbs