Welcome to Chicago’s best summer beach day, North Avenue Beach! It is a jewel sitting on the near north side just across Lake Shore Drive from Lincoln Park Zoo and the Chicago Botanic Gardens. It’s tempting to try and work all three of these experiences into one day. While not impossible we’d like to encourage you to save one summer day in the city for North Avenue Beach. From early morning to late at night, it is a gathering of humanity from every spectrum. Early morning swimmers and kayak-ers gather at Lake Michigan. The beaches are being raked and prepped by our amazing park district staff. Cyclists, dog walkers, runners, and families all share a somewhat fast-paced Lake Path. It’s fun and a beautiful way to walk the beach and see some sights, but just keep an eye always on the path.
There is a dedication of space to beach volleyball. Outdoor workout gyms dot the path near the beach. Even with the beach sports, this truly is a beach for everyone. International tourists to large Chicago family BBQs, Kids summer camps from around the city will often show up for an hour to splash around. There is so much space everyone can spread out or gather to play games at will.
The breakwaters protect the shores although we sometimes get vigorous waves. We have the flag system and lifeguards posted to keep us up to date on rip tides. The sand is soft and is kept up by park district staff. You can find food trucks and vendors near the path – pulling the cooler down is worth it but a bit of a long drag through sand!
The North Avenue Beach House is a work of art in itself. “One of Chicago’s most popular beaches, North Avenue Beach features a unique beach house. This sleek, ocean liner-inspired building, decked out in a crisp blue and white, boasts one of the best views in the city.” Plus, if you are adults, you can hit up the bar venue, Castaways. Join them on the other deck where DJs and musicians entertain while you enjoy that view. Maybe even fireworks!
North Avenue Beach