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Stop and smell the flowers
The conservatory and gardens of Lincoln Park are a nice escape from the noise and traffic of downtown and are free for the rambling. Greenery and exotic florals abound in all shapes and colors inside the glassed-in greenhouse, and seasonal varieties bloom in the lily pool, Grandma's and Great Gardens. Fun for all ages to combine with nearby Lincoln Park Zoo: bring a picnic!
Extra tip: the lily pool is rumored to be an especially nice spot for quiet reflection, peaceful noshing (please take your trash with you!) or a lil' smooch with your sweetie.
- Family Travel
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My first 'cruise' ship - the MV Abegweit
I just about fell out of my shuttle bus seat, as it passed along the Lake Michigan waterfront on a return journey to my hotel, when I noticed this handsome ship tied up. After checking it out on my computer I was astounded to find it was the Motor Vessel 'Abegweit' - formerly a vehicle/train ferry between my home province of New Brunswick and nearby Prince Edward Island! I had actually taken a voyage on this ship while in my early teens and thought it was a huge liner compared to the flat little river-crossing ferries I had experienced up to that time. I immediately jumped into a taxi and went back for a closer look!
The ship's name means 'cradled on the waves' and was taken from the Canadian Mi'kmaq native word "Epekwit'k" for Prince Edward Island. After it was launched in Quebec in 1946 and placed in service in 1947 for Canadian National Railways, the 372-ft long 7000-ton 'Abegweit' was reported to be the world's most powerful icebreaker thanks to her 8 engines producing 13,500 HP (10 MW) to drive her four propellers - two in the stern and two more up front. Her tough all-welded steel construction, combined with two mechanically-controlled heeling tanks that could rock her from side-to-side as well as the razor sharp 13-ft diameter nickel propellers allowed her to ram, rock and chew her way through any ice in Northumberland Strait. The size of the 'Abegweit' allowed her to take either one complete passenger train of 16 railway cars or 60 automobiles - with a passenger load of 950. The arrival of the 'Abegweit' marked the first time PEI had reliable winter connections to the mainland and also fulfilled the promise made to the Islanders when they joined Canada in 1873!
The 'Abegweit' served with distinction until being retired in 1981 because newer ferries were larger and were of the Ro-Ro design of drive in one end and drive out the other, instead of her now cumbersome stern loading arrangement. Fortunately, the Columbia Yacht Club in Chicago saved the 'Abegweit' from the breakers yard. Because the City of Chicago would not let them build a clubhouse along the Lake Michigan shore when they formed in 1892, they opted instead for a ship as a floating HQ. When their 3rd boat HQ, the 1936-purchased lake steamer 'Florida' was nearing the end of its life, the Club bought the retired 'Abegweit' as a replacement and sailed her up the St. Lawrence River into the Great Lakes! As I walked past the old ship, a couple of resting Canada Geese kept an eye on me so I gave them a wide berth! I thought it was fitting that they should be guarding this old Canadian icon!
- Sailing and Boating
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North Avenue Beach
One of the best feature of the Chicago lansdcape is Lake Michigan. "Forever open and free", the lakefront will remain uncluttered. AAAnd it's a glorious sight when the sun is shining and the Lake has that deep turquoise hue... And Chicago has 29 miles of it! My best spot is North Avenue Beach. The largest beach close downtown. You'll see the Beach House, a 1938 Art Deco building, renovated recently that adds a playful feeling to the beach. In summer, activities start early with jogging and yoga. Then the activity picks up and you'll find the whole array of beach activities: Beach-volley, pick-nick... The boathouse has a restaurant (Castaway) and a convenience store if you need something like water or a new pair of sunglasses.You can also rent bikes, chairs...There is even a chess pavillon!
It's a nice feeling to be on the beach and then gaze at the cityscape so close.
Lifeguards are on duty during the summer season.
It's likely you won't have the opportunity to swim though. The Lake is really cold until late August and it can happen that bathing is prohibited because of bacteria proliferation. Make sure to check information.
Chicago is bathed by Lake Michigan, providing this amazing city with a huge lakeshore ideal for outdoor activities. This lake is something awesome: it is 480km long and 189km wide, being that its deepest spot is 274m, …. It is a freshwater lake that was “born” by the melting of glaciers on the Ice Age. This plain area of America is known as the Great Lakes and Michigan is the 2nd bigger lake amongst the five of them. I was told that beaches were built on the Chicago shore, by “adding” sand to the lake’s margins.
Lincoln Park is one of the most beautiful spots throughout Chicagoland. Every day the park is enjoyed by many residents and visitors.
Lincoln Park began its existence as the City Cemetery. In 1864, the city council decided to turn the cemetery into a park. Permission was received from all descendants to move graves with one major exception. The Couch family, who owned a small mausoleum in the cemetery, refused to give their permission. To this day, the Couch mausoleum can still be seen, standing amidst trees, behind the Chicago Historical Society. Ira Couch, who is buried in the tomb, was one of Chicago's earliest innkeepers, opening the Tremont House in 1835. Couch is not the only person to still be buried in Lincoln Park. As recently as 1986, construction in the park has revealed more bodies left over from the nineteenth century.
Lincoln Park is, perhaps, best known for the Lincoln Park Zoo, a free zoo which is open year-round. The zoo was founded in 1868, when the Lincoln Park Commissioners were given a gift of a pair of swans.
Near the southern end of the Zoo, you can rent a paddle boat for a spin around the lagoon which is surrounded by trees. Kayakers and canoers also use the lagoon.
Lincoln Park is known for its statuary. As you walk through the zoo and the park, you'll see many of Chicago great works of art. Just as there is a statue of Abraham Lincoln in Grant Park, there is a memorial to Ulysses S. Grant in Lincoln Park. It overlooks Cannon Drive at the south end of the zoo. The sculpture was created in 1891 by Louis Rebisso. Actually, there is also a statue of Lincoln in Lincoln Park, the Standing Lincoln (1887), by Augustus Saint-Gaudens, the same sculptor who created the Sitting Lincoln in Grant Park. Standing Lincoln can be seen behind the Chicago Historical Society. The only other person who is immortalized by statues in both Grant and Lincoln Parks is Alexander Hamilton, the Lincoln Park statue sculpted by John Angel.
- Family Travel
Chicago lakefront path
A visit to Lake Michigan should be on every itinerary for folks visiting Chicago, even in the non summer months.
There is a 20 mile path that runs along the lakefront, pretty much from one end of the city to the other, utilized by bicyclists, walkers, joggers, in line skaters, people walking their dogs. There are several areas that get very congested so my favorite stretch for biking starts at McCormick Place and heads south down to the South Shore Cultural Center.
The most heavily congested area of the trail is around Oak Street beach and North Avenue beach, north or south of there is much less crowded and easier to actually ride your bicycle. You will also find quite a few people around the museum campus area so it's always a good idea to slow it down so you don't flatten an unsuspecting tourist. In the downtown area there are separate trails for bikers and pedestrians but over the years the markings have worn off the sidewalk and the only people who know that are the locals that have been using it for years.
Check here for info on bike rentals, guided and self guided tours from Navy Pier and several other spots
This is a picture of Lake Michigan.This huge lake,looks like a sea.You can see a lot of nice boats along the lake,and also you can take a ride in one of numerous cruises in the lake,I didn't had time enough to do it,but I think that the views from the lake must be really good.
Lincoln Park Conservatory
After visiting the Lincoln Park Zoo, head over to the Lincoln Park Conservatory for a tour of the beautiful gardens. The Lincoln Park Conservatory is smaller than the better known Garfield Conservatory but is very convenient if you are up in the Lincoln Park area.
The Conservatory, like the zoo, is free. The Conservatory is divided into 4 main sections- the palm house, followed by the fern room, orchid room and the show room which features seasonal displays. At Christmas time, stop by and see the annual Winter Flower and Train Show (early December-early January) which features model trains winding through a minature Chicago.
Open 9-5 daily
If you are looking for somewhere to eat in the area, very close by is Mon Ami Gabi for French bistro fare, North Pond for organic American cuisine or RJ Grunts for burgers, salads and sandwiches. A little further away is Chicago Pizza and Oven Grinders or Emilio's Tapas (Fullerton/Clark location).
Lake Michigan is huge. It feels more like a sea, and is bigger than many seas too. On its own it would be the fourth largest freshwater lake in the world, at nearly 60,000 square kilometers. Combined with Lake Huron, which it is geographically a part of, it makes for the biggest freshwater lake in the world. Lake Michigan itself is bigger in area than Croatia, Denmark or the Netherlands.
Another big city on Lake Michigan is Milwaukee.
Biking along the beaches
Believe it or not, Chicago has fantastic beaches! Don't be fooled by Chicago's location in the middle of the USA. We are situated on the west side of Lake Michigan, which is wide enough to feel like an ocean (without the salt in the water).
One of the best memories of the beach is leaving the office at noon, taking a 20 minute stroll to reach Oak Street Beach with snack in hand, relaxing on a bench with people playing volleyball then heading back to work after absorbing the summer sun.
Chicago's Urban Oasis (ok, one of many)
Lincoln Park is where Chicago sheds it's winter coat, boots and mittens, and comes out to play in the sun. And play it does! In fact, you can play there too. Run, rollerblade or rent a bike and ride along the lakefront. Get in a beach volleyball game. Or bring your bathing suit and catch some rays, at the beach or on the grass. You can also check out the Lincoln Park Zoo - it's free. There's so much more to do too - you'll never be bored (unless you want to be bored, of course!). And all in the shadow of one of the world's great city skylines. There's also an outdoor nightclub right next to one of the beaches (it is open during the day too). I felt like I was in California!
Lincoln Park is right on Lake Michigan, toward Chicago's North Side. It's a huge park, and quite beautiful too. Spend a beautiful, relaxing Chicago day at Lincoln Park.
- Family Travel
This was my favorite of the downtown parks. It is Chicago's answer to New York's Central Park, and then some. On a warm sunny day, you'll find large numbers of residents, college students and tourists sprawled out on the large green lawns, barbequeing, throwing frisbees or simply soaking up the rare sunshine. Like all Chicago's parks, you're bound to find a statue here and there while you walk through, strategically placed in front of a great view of downtown and providing an excellent picture taking spot. You will also find a man made lake where you can rent paddleboats. In the center of the park is the Lincoln Park Zoo, which has its share of exotic animals.
Lincoln Park is only about a mile north of downtown. Its a pretty nice walk too, along the Lakeshore Drive bike path.
- Family Travel
Lake Michigan is the natural wonder of Chicago. The term "lake" is very misleading, even if it is one of the greats. This massive body of water and its extensive shoreline look very much like an ocean.
The lake is the center of summertime activity. A paved path follows the lakeshore, numerous boat tours cruise the lake and many people simply sit on the sand and stare at it.
The lake is the source of the ever changing Chicago weather and the cloud cover that seems to appear out of nowhere on a summer day. But most people in Chicago seem to love the lake. Its not hard to see why. Even those of us who grew up near and ocean can't help but be impressed by this sight.
- Water Sports
The sea of Chicago
Lake Michigan is the third largest Great Lake by surface area and the sixth largest freshwater lake in the world.
Because Lake Michigan is joined to Lake Huron at the Straits of Mackinac, they are considered one lake hydrologically.
Many rivers and streams flow into Lake Michigan, and the major tributaries are the Fox-Wolf, the Grand and the Kalamazoo.
Lake Michigan's cul-de-sac formation means that water entering the lake circulates slowly
The northern part of the Lake Michigan watershed is covered with forests, sparsely populated, and economically dependent on natural resources and tourism, while the southern portion is heavily populated with intensive industrial development and rich agricultural areas along the shore.
Walking along the Lake Michigan offers you perfect viwes of the city and brings you to Chicago's most popular attractions like the Shedd Aquarium, the Adler Observatory and the Navy Pier.
A Beach In Chicago?
Less than a mile away from the skyscrapers which dominate the skyline, the busy shopping streets of the 'Magnificent Mile', and the rush of traffic along Lake Shore Drive lies some great beaches where Chicago meets Lake Michigan.
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