Outdoors in Chicago, IL | CityOf.com

in Chicago, IL

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There’s nothing better than breathing fresh air and getting in touch with nature. State parks, botanical gardens, trails, lakes, and farms are exactly the place to do it – and this area is full of them.

Take a look at all the options within driving distance – you’ll be surprised at how close your next adventure is. We provide the driving directions, but the sunscreen’s on you!
Chicago Botanic Garden
Chicago Botanic Garden

(847) 835-6801

1000 Lake Cook Rd
Glencoe, IL 60022   Directions Website

The Chicago Botanic Garden is a breathtaking outdoor oasis over 385 acres with 24 stunning gardens. The Landscape Gardens, Fruit and Vegetable Garden, Heritage Garden, Waterfall Garden, Japanese Garden, and the English Walled Garden are among the many displays. In addition to these specialty displays, visitors can enjoy seasonal walks and explore what's in bloom.

For families with children, the Nature Play Garden is a must-visit destination. Admission to the Garden includes access to popular seasonal attractions like Butterflies & Blooms, Model Railroad Garden, and Grand Tram Tours. Whether you're looking to stroll, take photos, find a beautiful bird or flower, shop, eat, or have fun with your family, the Garden has something for everyone.

Chicago SUP
Chicago SUP

(773) 575-4787

1603 N Lake Shore Dr
Chicago, IL 60613   Directions Website

If you're looking for a fun and challenging water adventure, consider trying stand-up paddleboarding or SUP, which are available at Chicago SUP. They offer rentals, lessons, yoga, fitness classes, expeditions, and group activities for fun in the sun.

SUP is a hybrid of surfing and kayaking, where you stand on an oversized surfboard and paddle with a single-bladed paddle. It's a sport that anyone can enjoy and offers a unique and fun way to exercise. SUP is a family-friendly activity that provides an unparalleled full-body workout. Many professional athletes even use SUP during their off-season training routines. So why not give it a try and supplement your workout regime?

Forest Preserves of Cook County
Forest Preserves of Cook County

(800) 870-3666

536 N Harlem Ave
River Forest, IL 60305   Directions Website

Do you want to escape from the busy city life and immerse yourself in nature's beauty? Look no further than the Forest Preserves of Cook County. The forest offers over 69,000 acres of wildlife, outdoor recreation, and environmental education opportunities. Whether you have just one hour, a full day, or a night to spare, you can explore the stunning natural landscapes spread over 70,000 acres.

The Forest Preserves offer something for everyone, regardless of age or interests. You can attend a camping basics workshop, take your children to a concert in the woods, or try activities such as "forest bathing," owl prowling, or nature photography. Additionally, you can go cross-country skiing, horseback riding, mountain biking, boating, and check out the aquatic centers and golf courses. If you're feeling adventurous, you can even spend a night under the stars and fall asleep to the gentle sounds of nature at one of the five campgrounds.

Garfield Park Conservatory
Garfield Park Conservatory

(773) 638-1766

300 N Central Park Ave
Chicago, IL 60624   Directions Website

If you're looking for a stunning botanical conservatory, the Garfield Park Conservatory in Chicago is the perfect destination. It boasts of eight indoor display gardens that showcase thousands of plant species from around the world. It's often called "landscape art under glass" because of its stunning beauty. Visitors can enjoy the lush flora and tropical temperatures indoors or explore more than 10 acres of outdoor gardens, water lily ponds, nature play spaces for children, and much more.

Whether visiting to escape the hustle and bustle of city life or joining one of their upcoming programs or events, the Garfield Park Conservatory has something for everyone. Come and enjoy the beauty of this magnificent place.

GoApe Zipline & Treetop Adventures
GoApe Zipline & Treetop Adventures

(800) 971-8271

1100 Ogden Ave
Western Springs, IL 60558   Directions Website

Are you looking for an exhilarating outdoor adventure in Bemis Woods Forest Preserves? Look no further than GoApe Zipline & Treetop Adventures. Their adventure park and ropes course offer a thrilling Treetop Adventure with 40-foot-high tree-to-tree crossings, super long zip lines, and heart-stopping Tarzan swings. This 2-3 hour experience is unlike any other, and the memories will last a lifetime.

For a unique and interactive outdoor experience with your family, friends, or co-workers, consider Forest Escape. This activity involves working together to solve problems in an immersive natural environment and conquer all the forest offers. Remember that each session is private, so choose your teammates carefully. Forest Escape is also great for birthday parties, team building, scout groups, and more.

Jet Ski Chicago
Jet Ski Chicago

(312) 600-8679

1600 N Lake Shore Dr
Chicago, IL 60613   Directions Website

Jet Ski Chicago at North Ave Beach is the perfect place for jet ski enthusiasts to enjoy a thrilling ride on the waters. Visitors can rent Yamaha VX110 jet skis, which come with 110 horsepower engines and provide an experience equivalent to riding on five dolphinpower engines. Safety is a top priority at Jet Ski Chicago, so all visitors must wear safety vests before riding the waves and enjoying the stunning views of the Chicago skyline.

The watercraft models available at Jet Ski Chicago are some of the most powerful ones you'll find in the market, and they are sure to provide an unforgettable experience. Yamaha is a leading name in the jetski world, and Jet Ski Chicago is proud to offer these models to its visitors.

Kayak Chicago
Kayak Chicago

(312) 852-9258

1220 W Le Moyne St
Chicago, IL 60642   Directions Website

Kayak Chicago is the top-rated full-service watersport outfitter in Chicago. They provide kayaks, paddleboards, and electric boats for those who want to experience the water uniquely. You can go on a guided tour or explore the city's iconic architecture at your own pace with a single or double kayak rental. For those who want to relax and enjoy stunning skyline views, North Ave. beach is the perfect spot to take a leisurely float. Alternatively, you can visit Montrose Beach, one of Chicago's best-kept secrets, and try paddleboarding.

The team at Kayak Chicago is committed to your safety and ensuring you have the best possible experience on the water. Their experienced guides and staff help you have a memorable paddling adventure. Whether you're discovering a new passion for paddling, learning fascinating facts about the city's history and architecture, or picking up new skills to take with you on future adventures, they are there to help. No matter your experience level, they will ensure you learn and grow as a paddler. Remember to bring sunblock, sunglasses, and a hat to protect yourself from the sun. Stay hydrated and energized with plenty of water and snacks.

Lincoln Park Conservancy | Alfred Caldwell Lily Pool
Lincoln Park Conservancy | Alfred Caldwell Lily Pool

(773) 883-7275

2430 N Cannon Dr
Chicago, IL 60614   Directions Website

The hidden garden behind the Lincoln Park Conservancy is a must-visit spot. The Alfred Caldwell Lily Pool, situated in this garden, is designed to resemble a river flowing through a prairie. Walking along the stone path that encircles the lily pool, you'll come across a pavilion, a council ring, and native plants seen from mid-April to mid-November. As soon as you enter through the Prairie-style Fullerton gate, you will find yourself surrounded by a serene and beautiful garden filled with the soothing sounds of birds chirping and a gentle waterfall.

Alfred Caldwell, a landscape architect, designed this garden as a hidden treasure for the people of Chicago. The gravel pathway on the east side of the Lily Pool site is partially accessible for those with disabilities. However, the stone pathway on the west has some steps up and down, making it less accessible. Visitors should also be aware that both sides of the path have a slight incline and decline, which should be considered while exploring the garden.

Maggie Daley Park Rock Climbing
Maggie Daley Park Rock Climbing

(312) 742-3918

337 E Randolph St
Chicago, IL 60601   Directions Website

Maggie Daley Park Rock Climbing is Chicago's first and only Climbing Park. It features two magnificent custom-designed rock climbing structures that offer a unique outdoor recreational experience for beginners and experts alike. The park staff provides instructions and supervision to ensure the safety of the climbers.

The combination of Skating Ribbon and Climbing Park makes it an all-season park inviting and engaging for Chicagoans and visitors. The climbing walls are 40 feet high and cover an area of 19,000 square feet. The wall is divided into beginner and advanced sections, and there are three types of climbing: bouldering, lead-harnessed, and top rope. The climbing wall can comfortably accommodate 25 to 100 climbers at any given time.

Morton Arboretum
Morton Arboretum

(630) 968-0074

4100 Illinois 53
Lisle, IL 60532   Directions Website

If you want a unique and educational experience, visit Morton Arboretum. Known as the classroom with no walls, Morton Arboretum offers various exhibits, activities, events, and programs that allow you to explore and learn about its impressive collection of trees, shrubs, and other plants worldwide.

Morton Arboretum is a magnificent oasis of beautiful landscapes and trees that cater to everyone. You can take a quiet stroll or go on an active family adventure by exploring the 16 miles of hiking trails, award-winning Children's Garden, and Maze Garden. Additionally, Morton Arboretum strives to provide an excellent visitor experience, ensuring optimal entry when you arrive on-site. The exhibitions connect guests and trees through art, sensory experiences, and education, making it a great place to visit for all ages.

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