Gotta Love It! Oak Street Beach, Chicago, Illinois
Posted by Jody on February 24, 2012
I just love visiting Chicago! Sure, I’m partial to my hometown, but with 26 miles of Lake Michigan shoreline and 33 sandy beaches, what’s not to love?
Oak Street Beach is one of my absolute favorite spots in the Windy City. With 15 miles of swimming beaches to choose from, you’d think it would be hard to pick favorites. But this trendy spot, just off Michigan Avenue, is the perfect place to relax and enjoy the incredible energy that is Chicago! Oak Street Beach is worth the trip for the people-watching alone. During the summer you’ll find swimmers, sunbathers, rollerbladers, runners, ramblers and bicyclists. Families with strollers and bookworms with best sellers all share the same urban oasis. With its close proximity to Downtown and the famous Magnificent Mile, this popular beach attracts locals and tourists from all walks of life. On a good day, they turn out by the thousands!
According to Chicago’s official tourism site ExploreChicago.org, “Oak Street is home to the largest area of deep water swimming in the city (1/2 mile (800 m) over 10 ft (3 m), and is training grounds for hundreds of triathletes and distance swimmers. Until 2006 Oak Street Beach was also the only place in the city where SCUBA divers could dive close to the shore.”
This photo (with my good friends, Ellen & Mary) was shot on a beautiful, sunny, 58°F February day. There were a few crazy people in the 33°F water, though! Could it have been the Lakeview Polar Bear Club wrapping up their annual Polar Bear Plunge at Oak Street Beach?
Parking is limited near Oak Street Beach. You may want to explore CTA (Chicago Transit Authority) options. Better yet, if you’re already in the vicinity, complete your Gold Coast experience with a walk to the beach along the paved Lakefront Trail.
The Chicago Park District administers all 26 miles of Chicago’s beautiful lake shore. Chi-town’s open lakefront parkland and all 33 well-maintained, sandy beaches are free of charge to residents and visitors, alike. Gotta Love it!
~By the way, Chicago’s Navy Pier (also free) is only about a mile from Oak Street Beach. It’s another one of our crowd pleasing, family favorite Chicagoland attractions!
What is your favorite Chicago beach? (I’m partial to Foster Beach, too!)