Chicago’s nearly 600 parks and 26 miles of lakefront make it easy to enjoy the great outdoors in the middle of the city. Families can choose from a number of fun activities, including biking along Lake Michigan, kayaking on the Chicago River, and rock climbing in Maggie Daley Park.
Head to North Avenue Beach or Montrose Beach on Lake Michigan to rent a kayak from Kayak Chicago. Several different guided tours are offered, including architectural, sunset, and night paddles to take in the city lights. Kayak Chicago also offers stand-up paddleboard (SUP) rentals.
Or join a Chicago River kayak tour with Urban Kayaks. Choose an array of cool guided tours, like the Ultimate Fireworks Outing, a Sunset Tour, a Historic Chicago Tour, and more. Or rent some kayaks and explore on your own.
If your family is into SUP, spend some time at picturesque 31st Street Harbor and Chicago Water Sport Rentals. More advanced paddlers can join the one-hour SUP Yoga class that begins with stretching on land before heading out onto Lake Michigan. Besides SUP, Chicago Water Sport also rents jet skis and kayaks.
Or jump Lake Michigan’s waves with Jet Ski Chicago, located at popular North Avenue Beach. Zoom along the beachfront on a wave runner with the stunning Chicago skyline as your backdrop or buzz by bustling Navy Pier. Jet ski rentals are offered seven days a week until dusk, and reservations are recommended.
Back on land, reach 40 feet into the sky with a climb to the top of the Maggie Daley Park Climbing Wall, located next to downtown Millennium Park. Complete with sculptural rocks and boulders, Chicago’s only climbing park is perfect for beginners and experts alike. Instruction is provided by park staff, with 25-100 climbers allowed on the wall at once.
Or take a loop around the Maggie Daley Park Skating Ribbon. You can rent a pair of roller blades or a scooter at the fieldhouse and whoosh along the landscaped path that weaves through the center of Maggie Daley Park.
Kids can test their skateboarding skills and perform sick tricks on the concrete ramps, grinding rails, and quarter pipes at two lakefront skate parks: Grant Park Skate Park and Burnham 31st Street Skate Park.
Zip around town on a guided Segway tour focused on architecture or history with Absolutely Chicago Segway Tours. The popular Chicago Lakefront Museum Tour rides through the rose gardens of Grant Park and past Buckingham Fountain, with a trek to the Museum Campus.
Take it easy with a leisurely pedal along the Lakefront Trail, which spans 18 miles from the South Side to the North Side of the city, passing scenic parks, boat harbors, and beaches. See the sights on your own or join a guided Bobby’s Bike Hike tour, led by an entertaining local.
End the day with a hole-in-one at Diversey Mini-Golf, where 18 holes of putt-putt fun include footbridges and cascading waterfalls. The course is nestled in the heart of Lincoln Park, close to the lakefront.