Where to find green spaces in Chicago


Quentin Blais

The Museum of Science and Industry sits at the north end of Jackson Park located on 57th street. The Woodlawn park offers over 551 acres of green space.

Chicago’s history with parks tracks back to the 1830s, when the city adopted the term “urbs in horto,” which is a latin term meaning “City in a Garden.” Many of the greenspaces and parks have been in much longer than the city itself. In 1909 Daniel Burnham formed a plan to beautify the city, which included the creation of a park system. Now, Chicago is home to over 600 parks. 

It can be overwhelming narrowing down and choosing a fun, calm and ambient green space to spend your time soaking up the sun. With Chicago’s lovely summer on the horizon, The DePaulia has picked out five parks to check out this summer. These picks are especially great as alternatives to heavily populated parks and beaches. 

Jackson Park

Jackson Park, located at Stony Island Ave., the Garden of the Phoenix was built in 1893. (Quentin Blais)

This is one of Chicago’s most historical parks, especially due to hosting the World’s Fair in 1893. Jackson Park is home to the Museum of Science and Industry, 57th Street Beach and the Garden of The Phoenix. Spanning across 551.52 acres, the park has plenty of green space to explore and enjoy. The park is located in the Woodlawn neighborhood, right on the lakefront. Due to the vast amount of space this park has, it is easy to avoid large crowds if you are looking for some solitude this summer. Jackson Park runs alongside Stoney Island Ave, which the number six bus has numerous stops on. 

Clark Park 

Clark (Richard) Park offers a variety of outdoor activities that are always open to the public. The park is 22.42 acres of land, sitting right on the Chicago River. There is a boathouse where patrons can rent kayaks to paddle down the river. There are also accessible hiking and biking trails following alongside the river through the entire park. The Addison, Belmont, California and Western buses all have stops surrounding the park.  

Eckhart Park 

This smaller, yet scenic, park in the West Town neighborhood sits on Chicago Ave and has a lot to offer. The park was first founded in 1907 and has become a huge part of the West Town community. The park has  8.85 acres of green space, a beautiful stained glass covering the pool, free events in the park, two baseball fields and a basketball court. 

River Park

The Chicago River has a complicated, yet important, history. While it has not always been the cleanest body of water that Chicagoans have access to, groups like Friends of The Chicago River have worked hard to make the river safe for wildlife and visitors. For folks wanting to get to know the river, look no further than River Park. Located on the western border of the Ravenswood neighborhood, River Park has the Chicago River North Branch and the North Shore Channel running through it. Sitting on 28.81 acres of land, this park offers opportunities for wildlife interaction, relaxing by the river, fishing, and a public pool. 

Berger Park

If you are looking to spend time on the lakefront without the crowd that comes with Belmont Harbor or North Avenue beach, check out Berger Park. Sitting directly on the lakefront in the Edgewater neighborhood, just two blocks west of the Granville Red Line stop, this small park is perfect for watching the sunrise over Lake Michigan while sitting on the boulders in front of the water. There is also a cafe in the park, which offers food, drinks and free live concerts throughout the summer.