Chicago’s Coolest Public Parks

There are plenty of nice parks and preserves outside of Chicago, but what happens when you want a little slice of nature without leaving the city limits? Here are a few of Chicago’s coolest public parks.

Jackson Park


via Flickr user Melody Joy Kramer

Jackson Park is one of the best public parks in Chicago, and one of the least known. This was the site of the World’s Fair, and if you’ve ever read Devil in the White City, you know the significance of this site. It had scenic bridges over bubbling steams, wooded areas where deer and bunnies are common, fountains, and statues. It spans 500 acres, and it runs along Lake Michigan, boasting more shoreline than you can shake a metal detector at.

Grant and Millennium Parks

To the Bean!

via Flickr user Jonathan

We combined these two into one spot because they’re so close, and if you’re going to check out one, you might as well check out the other as well. Start at the south end of Grant Park, stroll past the foliage and flowers, then check out the giant fountain and sculptures in Millennium Park. You can’t miss the chance to snap a picture of The Bean.

Lincoln Park


via Flickr user discosour

You might already know about the free zoo here, which is certainly worth a visit, but there are also acres and acres of wooded area to explore, too. You can wander around the gardens, enjoy a picnic, or play some volleyball on the beach there. It’s one of our favorite parks within city limits.

Humboldt Park


via Flickr user Laurie Chipps

Not only is Humboldt Park an up-and-coming neighborhood and a great spot to enjoy nightlife, it’s also home to a beautiful, serene park. With bridges and cottage-like buildings that will make you feel like you’re in a fairytale, Humboldt is one of the nicest parks around. The Chicago Park District even has an online audio tour that you can listen to as you explore.

Ping Tom Memorial Park


via Flickr user Robert Martinez

Founded by a philanthropic businessman, Ping Tom Memorial Park offers a large, open area with a playground that makes it perfectly family-friendly. You’ll also find Chinese-style pagodas around the park, which provide shelter from sun and rain.

For more information about any of these parks, please click here.