We love the urban lifestyle, but a little nature is always good for the soul. Check out our favorite parks south of the Loop that also provide tranquil, natural landscapes in the midst of our bustling midwest metropolis.
Burnham Park: Spanning 600 acres of lakeshore south of the loop, it includes urban nature attractions like a bird sanctuary, wildlife corridor, several beaches and a skate park!
- Nature Sanctuary – 47th St. & Cornell – a lovely walking path great for taking a stroll with your nature loving toddlers and preschoolers. Bring a magnifying glass to examine all there is to find!
- 31st St Beach – lifeguards on duty from 11am-7pm Memorial Day through Labor Day. Lovely beach with a playground, great picnic areas, and concessions. Parking in the lot is only $1/hr.
- Promontory Point – Located in Hyde Park, The Point has one of the best views of the Chicago skyline and is a great space for bbqs, picnics and leisurely exploration for even the tiniest nature lover in the family!
McKinley Park: An expansive, beautiful park complete with great play structures, open fields for soccer and a baseball diamond on the west side of the park, plus a lovely lagoon and walking path on the east side of the park. Fun for everyone! Check the website for swim times, there’s an outdoor pool and a wading pool/splash pad with slide for the little ones.
Jackson Park: Located just south of the Museum of Science and Industry, Jackson Park is another urban nature oasis in the city. The Wooded Island is great for free range exploring and the Osaka Garden (currently under renovation) is a beautiful place to sit and be contemplative when you can get a break from parenting duties. Bring a picnic lunch and spend the day in nature, then cross over to gorgeous 63rd St. beach to cool off, make sand castles or climb and jump on the beach playground!
Washington Park: There’s an outdoor pool and awesome playground combo at this park. Come prepared to spend the day! Plus you still have the expansive open-air green space across the street where you can see a variety of wildlife among the lagoons and walking trails. Keep an ear out for the Hyde Park monk parakeets that have been living near Washington Park for over 40 years!
Women’s Park & Garden: This park as an indoor playspace – great for the winter months!. It is also home to Kids Science Labs – South Loop and a great little café where you can grab a coffee or tea and lunch after a day hard at play!