It’s a perfect day to relax on the beach. There’s not a cloud in sight as you sweat profusely, thanks to the ever-present sun. There’s a nice breeze coming in from the water as you lounge in the toasty warm sand.
It may sound like Florida — with its miles of postcard-style coast — but while the Windy City is far from tropical for most of the year, Chicago has no shortage of beach offerings. While warmth, sand, and swimming often aren’t the first words that come to mind when describing Chicago, many locals know there are lots of different beaches lining the city.
While beaches elsewhere offer views of palm trees and seagulls, Chicago’s Lake Michigan coastline ups the ante with backdrops of towering skyscrapers to take in while enjoying a summer swim. So, where are all these wonderful beaches? Most can be seen driving north or south on Lake Shore Drive — the city’s main drag along the lakefront — but others have unique, more hidden locations.
Summer is short in the city. Be sure to take the time to enjoy a swim in Lake Michigan at some of these city beaches. For more information, about all the beaches click here:
Ohio Street Beach
600 N. Lake Shore Drive
After spending time at Navy Pier, stroll through Jane Addams Memorial Park and check out Ohio Street Beach. It’s known as a perfect training spot for open swimmers as you can swim a half-mile to the Oak Street curve.
12th Street Beach
1200 S. Linn White Drive
This beach is located in Northerly Island on Chicago’s Museum Campus. If you get hungry during your time in the sand, you can pick up Mexican food from Del Campo’s Tacos.
Oakwood 41st Street Beach
4100 S. Lake Shore Drive
Located on the South Side, it’s the newest beach. It opened in 2009, and a beach house followed a year later.
57th Street Beach
5700 S. Lake Shore Drive
Jackson Park — one of the oldest in the city — is the setting for this beach. It can be accessed via a pedestrian underpass on Lake Shore Drive near the Museum of Science and Industry.
63rd Street Beach
6300 S. Lake Shore Drive
During your visit to this sandy shore, be sure to visit the beach house. It offers water fountains, showers, restrooms, meeting rooms and launching sites for non-motorized boats.
3111 E. 77th St.
Located on the city’s South Side, this beach features a fitness center and gymnasium, handball courts and some of Chicago’s oldest community gardens.
Oak Street Beach
1000 N. Lake Shore Drive
Not only is this stretch of sand a popular volleyball spot — tons of tournaments take place here each summer — but it includes a fantastic view of the skyline.
North Avenue Beach
1600 N. Lake Shore Drive
This beach offers an amazing view of the downtown skyline, perhaps just one reason it’s one of the most popular beaches in the city. It also houses Castaways — a giant, ship-shaped bar and restaurant.
4400 N. Lake Shore Drive
This north side beach offers rentals of kayaks and jet skis. After working up an appetite on the water, grab a bite to eat at the The Dock.
5200 N. Lake Shore Drive
Want to bring your pooch to the beach? No problem! There’s a dog-friendly area at the northeast end of the beach. There’s also a beach house with concessions, restrooms and bike rentals.
1230 W. Greenleaf Ave.
Located in the city’s northern Rogers Park neighborhood, this stretch of sand has recreational activities and a walking path along Lake Michigan.
Margaret T. Burroughs Beach
3100 S. Lake Shore Drive
In addition to a great glimpse of the skyline from the South Side, this area has a new harbor and a public art display. Bring the kids — a new playground is open just south of the beach house.