Winter is approaching, and Chicago’s residents are fully ready to embrace the snow-filled sidewalks and chilly temperatures. There are plenty of ways to celebrate winter in the city, like ice skating, visiting the Zoo Lights, or attending the Christkindlemarket downtown. But everyone knows the best way to enjoy the frosty weather is to find the optimal sledding hill.
Though Chicago is not known as a mountainous city, there are nearby hills big enough for a fast-paced toboggan adventure. Here are some of the best places in the city for exceptional sledding.
Most Chicagoans are familiar with the north side’s Wizard of Oz-themed park. Located in the residential Lincoln Park, each entrance is monumented with a character from the iconic movie. Though Oz Park is most famous for its statues, it’s also known by locals as the premier place to go sledding.
Just east of Halsted, you’ll find this tremendous hill. Often used as a hangout spot for Lincoln Park High School attendees, Oz Park’s elevated mound turns into a wintery fantasy once December rolls around. Snowfall perfectly transforms this green domain into an exceptional sledding spot for north siders.
On a typical winter day, you’ll find kids of all ages using cardboard, lunch trays, and more as sledding vehicles, attempting to achieve the perfect ride. Oz Park’s bunny hill is also an excellent option for families with young kids ready for outdoor fun.
Over the summer, Horner Park has lively events, athletics, and food trucks. Its gigantic baseball field is home to countless high school teams, and its ample green space makes for the perfect Fourth of July picnic. While this northside park blossoms during the summer months, it’s just as active in December and January.
Thanks to Horner Park’s massive hill, kids flock in droves to this neighborhood favorite for maximum sledding fun. At almost 60 acres, Horner Park is one of the largest parks on the north side, and its elevated peak is no different. Once the first snowfall hits, the park’s hill turns into a wintery, mountainous slope. Kids and adults alike will enjoy catching air while sliding expeditiously down Horner Park’s iconic hillside.
Many locals might know Humboldt Park’s eponymous greenspace as the center of the Chicago alligator fiasco. In 2019, residents found a freshwater alligator hanging out in the park’s lagoon. This mishap created a media frenzy and a loving nickname for the lost reptile, “Chance the Snapper.” Fortunately, the park has way more to offer than an alligator headline.
Humboldt Park also has one of the northside’s favorite sledding hills. Easily visible off of Kedzie Avenue, this immense hill is the premier spot for hanging out, sunbathing, and any wintertime activity imaginable. Once snow starts to fall, the slope becomes the ideal winter wonderland for sledding aficionados.
Riis Park is a vast, communal area that rivals Horner Park on the north side. Spanning almost 60 acres, this Belmont-Cragin park has a fieldhouse with a gymnasium, countless soccer fields, and even an ice skating rink.
Though Riis Park’s sledding hill isn’t the tallest on the list, it still provides an excellent slope for its residents. Its expansiveness means abundant room for snowball fights, snow angels, and snowmen. If you get bored of sledding, you can also walk to the park’s center for a leisurely ice skating adventure. Though you might not get the most intense thrills from its hill, Riis Park is the quintessential place for a well-rounded, wintery excursion.
At the edge of Chicago’s northside is Rogers Park. With Lake Michigan at its eastern border and Little India to the west, it’s an essential neighborhood for nightlife, dining, and outdoor activities. It’s also home to a massive green space called Warren Park.
Warren Park sits east of Western Avenue and offers plenty of physical activities for people of all ages. Its nine-hole golf course and putting area are renowned on the northside, while its winding paved paths make for the perfect jog or bike ride. However, Warren Park mutates into a tranquil, snowy escape in the winter.
Both kids and adults consistently visit the park’s hillside, and its adjacent stairs with railings create a safer atmosphere for parents with young children. If you foresee your children or loved ones having a tough time climbing up and down an icy hill, Warren Park is an excellent option for stress-free sledding access.
Chicago’s chilly weather might frighten some, but real residents know that there are plenty of outdoor escapades to pursue during the holiday season. If you’re ready to grab a sled and hit the slopes, check out any of these parks for an extraordinary ride.