One of Chicago’s defining features is its location on Lake Michigan, which includes 26 miles of stunning shoreline. And much of that waterfront is connected by the Lakefront Trail, a scenic pedestrian pathway that stretches for more than 18 miles and offers stunning views of the lake and city skyline. The trail — which is popular year-round with walkers, bikers, and joggers — connects many of the city’s lakefront parks, beaches, museums, neighborhoods, and waterfront restaurants. Learn more about Chicago’s Lakefront Trail.

About Chicago’s Lakefront Trail

Fullerton Beach Skyline
Photo by Adam Alexander

Chicago’s scenic Lakefront Trail is an 18-mile paved path that follows the Lake Michigan shoreline on the city’s eastern edge. It extends from Ardmore Street (5800 N. Sheridan Rd) on the north side to 71st Street (7100 S. South Shore Drive) on the south side, traversing a number of stunning lakefront neighborhoods, cultural gems, waterfront restaurants, and more. Designated as an official city bike path in 1963, the trail offers recreational access to the lakefront and continues to be a signature feature of Chicago’s well-preserved lakefront.

View a map of the Lakefront Trail in Chicago.

Things to do on Chicago’s Lakefront Trail

No matter how you travel the trail, you can take in Lake Michigan’s blue waters to one side and a combination of lush parks and dramatic skyline views to the other. The trail passes through and connects Chicago’s four major lakefront parks along with various beaches, cultural institutions, and recreational amenities.

Activities on the Lakefront Trail

The trail is open to a variety of recreational activities:

  • Walking
  • Running
  • Biking (including Divvy bikes)
  • Rollerblading
  • Skateboarding

Parks and beaches on the Lakefront Trail

Want to hang out outside? The Lakefront Trail connects to many of Chicago’s most popular parks and beaches:

Check out our Chicago beach guide for more.

Restaurants on the Lakefront Trail

The trail also offers easy access to a variety of waterfront dining options:

See our lakefront dining guide for more options right on the water.

Museums and attractions near the Lakefront Trail

Check out a few of the attractions you can stop at along the Lakefront Trail:

Neighborhoods near the Lakefront Trail

Friends bike on Chicago's Lakefront Trail
Chicago’s Lakefront Trail; photo by Abel Arciniega, @tequilagraphics
Clayton Hauck