Parks & beaches

Lincoln Park, the largest green space in town, stretches gracefully along the shores of Lake Michigan. You can visit the Lincoln Park Zoo and the Chicago History Museum, which are both located within the limits of this park.

Grant Park and Burnham Park

Grant Park lends a human touch to the Loop. This is where you'll find the Art Institute of Chicago. Farther south, Grant Park officially becomes Burnham Park. There, on a fabulous site that was recently named the Museum Campus, lies a trio of facilities dedicated to nature: the Field Museum, the John G. Shedd Aquarium and the Adler Planetarium & Astronomy Museum.

Visitors will find another of Chicago's outstanding museums, the Museum of Science and Industry, in Jackson Park. This magnificent park was designed by prestigious landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted, whose other credits include New York's Central Park and Montréal's Parc du Mont-Royal.

Located on the Gold Coast, at the end of elegant Oak Street, Oak Street Beach is definitely Chicago's nicest beach. Longer and livelier than Oak Street Beach, North Avenue Beach is popular with fans of beach volleyball. Foster Avenue Beach, a white-sand beach located at the north end of Lincoln Park, is popular with families, as its lawn is perfect for Sunday picnics. Kathy Osterman Beach has been adopted by the city's gay community Another beach that can be easily reached from downtown Chicago is Ohio Street Beach, hidden away in Milton Lee Olive Park, a small park immediately north of Navy Pier.