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Active Chicago outings

Keep attendees entertained with these biking, climbing, kayaking, and paddle board excursions at Chicago parks.

Bike or jog The 606

Pedal, walk or jog through Chicago neighborhoods on The 606, a 2.7-mile long elevated trail and park system. Rising nearly 18 feet above street level, The 606 on Chicago’s west side (which takes its name from the common numerals for all Chicago ZIP codes) brings together nature, science, and culture — significantly adding to Chicago’s urban playground.

The elevated park and trailway provides bike and jogging paths, as well as ample green space, while connecting neighborhoods through the reuse of an old industrial rail line and re-purposed bridges.

Climb the wall at Maggie Daley Park

Just east of Millennium Park, and connected by a Frank Gehry-designed bridge, Maggie Daley Park rounds out Chicago’s “front yard” with a wintertime ice skating ribbon, state-of-the-art play areas, and a 40-foot-tall rock climbing wall.

Rock climb at Maggie Daley Park

First-time climbers are welcome at Chicago’s only climbing park, where custom-designed sculptural rocks and boulders are divided into a beginner and advanced wall with three different types of climbing: bouldering, lead-harnessed, and top rope.

Visit local fitness studios and wellness spaces

A fitness instructor with a CHI SOCIETY shirt
© 2021 Nicee Martin Photo & Design, LLC

Discover top local studios, instructors, and more with CHI-SOCIETY, a group of industry experts who have curated some of the city’s best fitness activities, including pilates, HIIT, CrossFit, barre, yoga, cycling, and beyond. They can also help coordinate team workouts, on-site or virtual fitness classes, and wellness services like chair massage and acupuncture.

Kayak from the Chicago Riverwalk

Chicago Riverwalk’s aquatic options get visitors out on the water and paddling away. There are a number of kayak and paddle rentals that make for an unforgettable experience. Rent kayaks, take a guided tour, or sign up for a lesson with Urban Kayaks. Tours are approximately 1.5 hours and include a short kayaking lesson and insights into Chicago architecture and history.

Run or bike the Chicago Lakefront Trail

One of Chicago’s most beautiful assets, its expansive shoreline, is on display in its full glory from the Lakefront Trail. The impressive 18-mile-long stretch extends from Ardmore Street on the North Side to 71st Street on the south side.

The paved path is perfect for running, walking, biking, or rollerblading alongside Lake Michigan and Chicago’s gorgeous, green downtown parks. Beaches and gardens; recreation areas including playgrounds, soccer fields, volleyball nets, and tennis courts; and amenities like washrooms, drinking fountains and concession stands are conveniently situated along the path as well.

Outings near McCormick Place

Lake Michigan paddleboard

Run Northerly Island

Northerly Island is a nature area situated on a 91-acre peninsula with wild prairie grasses, beautiful strolling paths, casual play areas, and a spectacular view of the skyline.

Nature lovers seek out this peninsula for its paved walking and biking trails around a 5-acre lagoon. View migratory birds and natural wildlife, including Monarch butterflies and Herons.

Explore the Burnham Wildlife Corridor

Anchored by the McCormick Bird & Butterfly Sanctuary in the north and the Burnham Nature Sanctuary in the south, the Burnham Wildlife Corridor (BWC) is a 100-acre ribbon of urban wilderness running through Burnham Park.

Guests stroll among native prairie, savanna, and woodland ecosystems and reconnect with nature in this revitalized public green space, while five BWC gathering spaces serve as artistic installations and seating areas.

Paddleboard at 31st Street

31st Street Beach (aka Margaret T Burroughs Beach) offers a playful and peaceful setting with plenty of options for getting out on the water. Try one of the latest trends, stand-up paddle boarding (SUP), with Chicago Water Sport Rentals or rent one of their peddle-powered, hands-free Hobie Kayaks.

Those looking for a challenge will enjoy stand-up paddleboard yoga classes and Hobie Kayak spin classes. Open May through October. Reservations recommended.

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