With over 500 parks to choose from in the Windy City you may have trouble deciding which to visit. But some of the major ones have gained their reputations from all the things they offer visitors.
Grant Park stretches from the Museum Campus at Lake Shore Drive and Roosevelt Road to north of the world famous Prudential Building. The park is largely the result of efforts by the late Montgomery Ward, founder of the huge department store chain. Wanting to retain the view, he lobbied the city to construct Grant Park.
Here you’ll find the famed Buckingham Fountain, spouting happily all summer long. Located at 301 East Columbus drive it was constructed in 1927 and underwent a nearly $3 million renovation in 1994. With its four sea horses, it shoots water 150 feet into the air every hour on the hour.
Millenium Park, a section of Grant Park, is one of the newest additions, starting life just around the turn of the 21st century. Under discussion for 20 years prior, the park now offers 25 acres in the heart of the city bordered by Michigan Avenue to the west, Columbus Drive to the east and Randolf and Monroe streets on the north and south.
In the park there is ample grassland, modern art and a spectacular view of the Chicago skyline. Sculpture and walkways have replaced railroad tracks and parking lots.
Among the other foremost park offerings is Lincoln Park, beginning life as a small public cemetery in the 1850s. In 1860 a 60-acre section was created by the city and named after the President following his assassination in 1865. By 1950 the park had grown to its current 1,208 acres.
Situated in the park is a large statue of the Tin Man from the Wizard of Oz. Author Frank Baum lived in Chicago around the turn of the 20th century. There is the Lincoln Park Boat Club along with all kinds of sports activities. Also located here is the renowned Lincoln Park Zoo with hundreds of animals to see.
There’s one area whose name could be misleading, but that visitors will undoubtedly want to see: Hyde Park. Not actually a park, but a neighborhood, it is chock full of architectural marvels. Frank Lloyd Wright’s Robie House is here, considered among the finest housing structures ever built. It sits on what is now part of the University of Chicago Campus that Hyde Park abuts.
Beginning life in the 1850s near the Illinois Central Railroad, Hyde Park grew rapidly to become one of the premier residential areas. Extending from 39th to 138th streets, the core is around 53rd and the lakefront. With dozens of shops and restaurants along tree-line avenues it makes for a visitors paradise within the bustling city. Nearby is the Museum of Science and Industry.
You won’t have time to visit all of Chicago’s many parks. But you can see the great parks and enjoy a relaxing and fun-filled day in any of them.