Staying Active in Chicago: Places to Exercise in the City

Paige DiFebbo
Paige DiFebbo

Getting a workout in while you’re traveling can be difficult if you’re unsure of where to go to exercise in a new city. But if you’re looking for some good places to exercise in Chicago, I’ve got you covered. Keep reading to see some of my suggestions for good places to go exercise in Chicago.

Maggie Daley Park

Maggie Daley park is a 28-acre public park located in downtown Chicago, right off of Millenium Park (you know, the park with The Bean statue). The lakefront park has trails that are great for running or walking. It also has other ways to stay active with its tennis courts, a climbing wall that’s fun for beginner and expert climbers, and the ice skating ribbon that’s open in the winter.

Northerly Island Park

Northerly Island Park is a 40-acre park on the southern part of the island. Although most of the park is preserved for nature, there is a mile-long concrete trail that’s a cool place to run or walk and enjoy the view of the Chicago skyline and see all of the park’s wildlife. Because the park was opened in 2015 as a way to preserve nature and wildlife on the island, the park features some of Illinois’ natural wildlife, such as Monarch butterflies.

South Pond Nature Area

Chicago’s South Pond Nature Area is a peaceful spot to get a workout in that’s located in Lincoln Park. This quieter area of the city is the perfect spot to do some yoga. There also is a path going around the pond that you can run, bike, or walk on.

Chicago Riverwalk

The Chicago Riverwalk is a 3.4 mile path along the Chicago River which is a cool place to run or walk with great views of Chicago’s giant skyscrapers. There’s so much to look at on the riverwalk that you may even forget that you’re exercising.

Lakefront Trail

The Lakefront Bike Path is another path in Chicago that is great for running and walking. The paved trail is 18.6 miles that goes along some of Chicago’s beaches. There are places to rent bikes along the trail, such as Lakeshore Bike or Lakeshore Bike n’ Tune, which is a fun way to stay active while seeing a lot of different places in Chicago that are along the path.

Bloomingdale Trail (The 606)

The Bloomingdale trail, also called the 606, is a 2.7 mile elevated trail that was built on an old industrial railway line in 2015. The trail is a popular spot for locals who want to run, bike, or walk, and there are places to access the trail in Wicker Park, Bucktown, Logan Square, and Humboldt Park. There also are art installations featured along the trail, such as in the Graffiti Garden, which gives you something interesting to look at while you are exercising.

North Avenue Beach

North Avenue Beach is one of the most popular beaches in Chicago, and it offers a lot of different activities that are good exercise. There are lifeguards on duty from 11:00 am-7:00 pm in the summer, making the beach a great place to swim. You also can check out the Great Lakes Board Company which has paddle boards that you can rent, and they offer lessons for first-time paddle boarders.

Kayaking on the Chicago River

Speaking of water activities that you can do to stay active while in Chicago, kayaking on the Chicago River is another fun way that you can get some exercise in during your trip. The company Kayak Chicago offers kayak rentals on the Northern part of the Chicago River. The company also offers kayak tours, such as their popular architectural tour and sunset on the Chicago River tour, which can be a way to do something active while seeing the city from a unique perspective.

Paige DiFebbo
Paige DiFebbo