Chicago is well known in America for being a world class city that is manageable. With it’s famous skyscrapers flaunting architectural prowess, and its rich history (think Al Capone and the World Fair of 1893), there’s a lot to discover in Chicago.
But like in most big cities, in the midst of all the touring the big sites, it is always worth the time to spend a few hours discovering the city’s residential neighborhoods, as this gives you a unique window into what it’s like to actually live there.
One of Chicago’s most sought after neighborhoods is Lincoln Park, on the North Side and along Lake Michigan. The area is full of lovely tree-lined streets with adorable townhouses of all shapes and sizes. Most notable about the neighborhood is the park, Lincoln Park. This lakefront park is the perfect example of why Chicago is known as such a “liveable” city. One of the most pleasant aspects of Chicago is how you can be in nature, right in the middle of the city.
Beyond the being so close the Lakefront, Lincoln Park itself has much to offer to Chicago residents and visitors. It includes a uniquely free zoo, a conservatory, and two ponds. The walk around either pond (North Pond or South Pond) is like a walk in the country, but with the backdrop of the incredible Chicago skyline.
Walking around North Pond
Only a few minutes away from the Lake, you can walk along either pond and make your way to the breathtaking Lake Path, which stretches for miles along the Chicago coast. On a hot summer day, cool off in the Lake right in front of the sky scrapers — a truly awesome Chicago experience.
North Beach, beach right off of Lincoln Park
For families traveling with little ones, to the northern edge of the North Pond, check out Sunshine Playground — fun for kids and perfect for adults who like a nice view.
Sunshine Park, right off of North Pond in Lincoln Park
Adults looking for a delicious meal (and willing to open their wallet), the North Pond restaurant is a Michelin starred restaurant with an incredible setting.
On a warm sunny day, the little cafe on the edge of the south pond is ideal for a (much cheaper) lunch with a view — it can get crowded on weekends, though.
Walk around South Pond in Lincoln Park
Thanks to the zoo being free, going to the zoo can easily just be a part of your walk through the park. If traveling with kids, they will love seeing the zebras, the monkeys, and the little tchoo tchoo train ride ($2). A bit further south, there’s a section of the zoo showcasing farm animals, and opposite that during the Spring, Summer, and early Fall months on Wednesdays and Saturdays, there is a lovely farmer’s market, which is a great place to sit and relax (this is another lunch possibility, too).
Green City Market in Lincoln Park on a gorgeous fall day
And if it’s a rainy day, the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum, right next to the North Pond, is the perfect excursion particularly with children of all ages, with its butterfly room and interactive exhibits. It even has an indoor play area, perfect for toddlers. The conservatory also showcases many plants and is a safe haven from the cold if you are visiting Chicago on a brutal winter day! When it’s nice out, the garden outside the conservatory is gorgeous and worth walking through.
With so much to do in Lincoln Park, it’s absolutely worth spending a morning strolling through the park to discover all that it has to offer.