Most neighborhoods in Chicago are full of greenery, but Lakeview stands out as one of the premier areas for outdoor space and scenic foliage. Lakeview, evidently situated right by the lake, has ample trails, walkways, and parks for families and their furry companions to enjoy. If you’re trying to relish the outdoors these next few sunny months, here are some of the best spots to visit.
The lakefront trail may be the most obvious answer, but its beauty makes it the top-tier spot for open-air fun. The path runs from the southside all the way to Evanston, complimenting the immense beauty of Chicago’s Lake Michigan. A specific, scenic area between Fullerton and Irving Park in Lakeview has plenty to offer its residents; from large public parks to tennis courts, this northside pathway provides all kinds of recreation.
The outdoor tennis courts off Waveland Avenue are great for casual play or competitive singles matches. It lands right between Waveland and Irving Park Avenue on the bike path, surrounded by a large softball field and acres of greenery. If tennis isn’t your thing, a picnic in the adjacent parks is also perfect for needed vitamin D exposure.
A little south of Diversey Avenue lies North Pond, a public nature area home to native plants and aquatic life. The perimeter of the North Pond spans 13 walkable acres, with beautiful winding pathways and greenery to walk through on any warm day or night.
Converted from a dumping ground, the North Pond is special for its biodiversity and migratory bird sightseeing. This Chicago body of water is home to various amphibians, fish, reptiles, and insects, as well as multiple species of geese, ducks, and herons.
Getting to the North Pond from Lakeview is relatively easy. If you don’t have access to a car, a few different bus routes will lead you to this natural sanctuary. The Stockton and Clark buses running north and south take you right next to the pond, as well as the Fullerton and Diversey buses that run east and west.
Heading north on the lakefront trail from the North Pond, you’ll find yourself next to one of Chicago’s largest and most historic harbors. Belmont Harbor, which started being constructed in the early 1900s, is a bustling area filled with tourists, locals, and boaters.
An AIDS memorial, which doubles as a sculpture garden, adorns the lakefront south of Belmont Harbor. The park spans 2.5 acres, with countless sculptures to represent those living with HIV or who’ve passed from its complications. The memorial’s crowning glory is a 30-foot-tall green man designed by iconic gay artist and activist Keith Harring. The construction of the garden is also a memorium for the Belmont Rocks, a popular meeting place for LGBTQ+ Chicagoans before its demolition in 2003.
Directly south of Lakeview is one of the northside’s most notable outdoor spaces, Oz Park. Known for its eponymous statues of Dorothy, the Tin Man, the Cowardly Lion, and the Scarecrow, it’s a wildly unique park with incredible summertime amenities.
Many visit the park for its tennis courts and baseball field, but it’s also a popular meetup spot for dog owners and their pets, students between class periods, and group outdoor exercising. There’s also a distinctive jungle gym and playground at the park’s center, perfect for adventurous kids from toddlers to elementary school ages.
Northside neighborhoods have ample green spaces, but living in Lakeview makes those areas way more accessible. If you must leave your air-conditioned apartment this summer, these four spots are crucial for outdoor relaxation or entertainment.