Beaches and Parks, Chicago
Chicago's got many dog parks throughout the city, but in my opinion Lawrence Dog Park is the best. It's also the largest in the city. The fence is double gated and the park is fully enclosed so you can let your dog off leash worry free. The majority of the dog owners here are friendly and conscientious. A group of owners works together to keep the park clean and the grounds well tended. They also organize many fund-raising events throughout the year to bring the community together and keep the park beautiful. There’s plenty of space for pooches to run and play and lots of benches for the owners to rest on. It’s well lit at night and when the weather gets warm they run some sprinklers for the dogs to play in and keep cool.
The park is located right off Lakeshore Drive at Lawrence and Marine in Margate Park.
The City of Chicago has many park districts. It is nice to escape the urban jungle and take in some nature by just visiting one of the many great parks, conservatories, and "green" areas located all over the city.
Grant and Lincoln park are probably the best known, but there are some fabulous smaller parks in most neighborhoods of the city. Some of my favorites are:
Garfield Park Conservatory
Indian Boundry Park
Neighbor Garden's Park (Logan Square)
Pratt Boulevard Beach & Park
You can find out where all of the parks are located, as well as information about events at http://www.chicagoparkdistrict.com
If you've got a dog in the city or just want to go watch some local dogs frolic in the sand check out the new Montrose Dog Beach. The beach is large, clean and the first official dog beach in the city. Usually they have extra bags available if you find yourself short. The only drawback is that the fence doesn't extend all the way into the water or all the way up to the retaining wall. The gap is larger toward the water - so you need to keep an extra eye out for your dog around the fence. Although the beach is located on "Montrose Beach" the dog-friendly area is actually at Wilson and the Lake.
Chicagoans take advantage of the Forest Preserves in and around the city. Autumn is an especially nice time to tromp through the woods. If you have some time to explore the outer "hoods" it would be well worth your time to visit these beautiful oasis!
It's literally minutes away from the Magnificent Mile and very well-known to Chicagoans, but many tourists never see Oak Street Beach (or see it only from Lake Shore Drive). Go on over. How often do you get to see a genuine beach in the heart of a major American city? Keep walking north on the right-hand side of Michigan Avenue, past Oak Street. Follow the sidewalk into the underpass and it will deliver you, safe and sound, to a wonderful--and very popular--beach that extends for miles both north and south all along the city's lakeshore. Come in the summer and sit on the benches to watch the people or bring your suit and go swimming. (There are lifeguards from May until September or so...and watch out for the bike path: between bikers, roller-bladers, and runners, collisions are a real possibility!) Come in the autumn or winter and just enjoy the remarkable views, not only of the lake but of the city's skyline.
Sure our beach season is really only two months long but nothing beats Lake Michigan in July or August in Chicago. Remember Lake Michigan is the size of the Adriatic Sea, this is no puddle. Fresh water (albeit a bit cold), loads of beaches, and great people watching make the lakefront a local treasure. Chicago's beaches won't make you forget Brazil, Morocco, or the South Pacific, but spend a day lakeside in August, with skyscrapers for a backdrop, and you will have no regrets..
The beach in the Lincoln Park is really a very good spot to visit. You can lie on the white sand beach and enjoy the sunshine there. You can also enjoy the cool water in the beautiful Michigan Lake. It is really amazing to see that there is such a beach in Chicago.
An Oasis of quiet on the far Northwest side of Chicago. A great place to visit any time of the year but Autumn is the most colorful!