While Chicago is most famous for its architecture, it’s also home to over 550 parks! Spread across the city and boasting various landscapes, each park in Chicago is different and unique in its own way, offering space to relax, meditate, get active, and find inspiration. Many of the parks in Chicago also get their names from important political or historical figures too!
Below is our list of some of our favorite parks in Chicago:
Home to a lagoon, Douglas Park is a sprawling park in West Chicago, with many of its fields utilized for sports, music festivals or just leisurely strolling. The stone bridge, designed by William Le Baron Jenney, and the lake are some of the remaining original designs of when the park first opened. This picturesque aesthetic of the lake and bridge is a great spot in the park to just relax and enjoy the scenery and surrounding nature.
One of the more well-known parks in Chicago, Millennium Park has grown in popularity since it first opened in 2004. The former site of Illinois Central’s rail yards, and sitting atop a parking lot, Millennium Park is one of the parks in Chicago with a variety of attractions and art that draws tourists from around the world, most famously the Cloud Gate sculpture by Sir Anish Kapoor, nicknamed the Bean. Millennium Park’s accessibility and sustainable design serves as a great source of inspiration and a center for activity, as there are numerous music festivals and cultural events held throughout the year.
A Chicago landmark, Humboldt Park used to feature large open gardens and grazing animals, as well as a boathouse, a rose garden, and a music pavilion. While the animals are no longer there, they’re commemorated by the pair of bison statues at the east entrance of the park. The rose garden and boathouse are still a beautiful part of the park. Their perfect locations to stop and enjoy the scenery or to pick a spot and meditate. Since the park is named after Alexander Humboldt, a naturalist and botanist, it only makes sense that a statue of Humboldt be featured in the park as well.
Humboldt Park is also a quick bus ride away to AIRE Ancient Baths, where you can enjoy a relaxing Olive Oil Ritual massage to soothe and moisturize your skin during harsh Chicago winters.
One of the more peaceful parks in Chicago is Jackson Park, which sits on the South Shore of Chicago against Lake Michigan. Full of scenic trails as well as beaches, this 500 plus acre park is perfect for nature lovers who want to get away from the hustle and bustle of the city without going too far. It’s the perfect place to find some peace and quiet as well as inspiration: Jackson Park was developed as the site to host the Chicago World Fair in 1893, and still houses the Statue of the Republic. Additionally, the Museum of Science and Industry is close by in the park’s “palace.”
Home to the Pitchfork Music Festival every July, this city park in Chicago is home to multiple sports grounds, a fitness center, and a swimming pool to keep inhabitants and visitors active. Union Park is also close to a slew of restaurants, which means that visitors can grab a bite to eat before or after a workout in the park, helping them to stay fit and healthy. Union Park’s wide fields are perfect for picking out a spot during a warm, sunny day and engaging in some leisurely activity like reading a book or practicing some yoga.
Another popular park in Chicago, Garfield Park is great to visit all year round because of its conservatory, which houses about 120,000 plants. In addition to its gardens, Garfield Park is also great for sports and fitness fans, with facilities and fields for boxing, baseball, tennis and more. Also designed by William LeBaron Jenner, Garfield Park is the largest of the original Chicago West Side Parks, the other two being Humboldt and Douglas Park (also on this list).
It’s possible to spend an entire day just strolling through and experiencing all the various parks in Chicago, and still have more to see. Why not relax after some vigorous walking and sightseeing by finding peace and unwinding with a soak and massage at AIRE Ancient Baths? The thermal baths and expert massage will keep your body feeling rejuvenated and inspire you to see more parks in Chicago.