Chicago Lakefront Path: 36 Miles of Stunning Lake and Skyline Views
Lincoln Park Zoo
Don’t miss out on your chance to visit one of the 3 remaining free zoos in the US. While not as grand as Brookfield (located in the Chicago suburbs), LPZ still offers an amazing setting with fantastic skyline views. This zoo is easily accessible from the path, making it the perfect place to take a North End break after completing over 20 miles! Great place to relax before taking the long trek back. If visiting during the winter months, be sure to check out Zoo Lights, a free event where the zoo is lit up in over a million lights. You will also get to see ice carving demonstrations and a neat choreographed music and lights show.
In addition to these top attractions, there are several other detours to make along the way. Some of these will require a bit more riding to get to, but will be worth the extra time. The John Hancock Observatory and Willis Tower both feature overlooks which provide outstanding views of the city. The Signature Room on the 95th (located in the John Hancock) offers fine dining with floor-ceiling window views.
Make sure to plan a walk down the famous Magnificent Mile, an upscale shopping district which runs for a mile along N. Michigan Avenue. You will find many famous Chicago landmarks such as the Tribune Tower, the John Hancock building, and the Drake Hotel. Water Tower Place and 900 N. Michigan Ave. are both fantastic shopping malls located along the Mag Mile. There are plenty of great restaurants and specialty shops here including: Rosebud on Rush, Giordano’s, Mike Ditka’s, Hershey’s, and Godiva.
This is one of the nicest bike paths I have ever experienced, and I have completed over 20. It definitely ranks in the top among every factor: scenery, ease of trail, and things to do along the way. The Chicago Lakefront Path is one of the nicest city attractions you will ever find. What better way to spend the day: exercising and having fun at the same time?!
We completed the entire path in about 5 hours. We took plenty of breaks and stopped for dozens of pictures. If you plan on stopping at restaurants and taking a break shopping along the Mag Mile, then you should definitely expect a full day out. Make sure to give yourself enough time, especially during the fall and winter months. I recommend starting your ride as early as possible to fully take advantage of everything the path has to offer without rushing.
I definitely recommend a ride along the Chicago Lakefront Path during your trip to the city. Whether you are a tourist or local, you are bound to see the city in a new light. There are so many attractions and photo opportunities along the way that would be difficult to cover in a single day. You can conveniently access them all in a single day along this beautiful trail.
Not only will you leave with spectacular photos and memories, you will leave will a feeling of accomplishment after completing the 36 mile workout! Definitely not a small feat! I know my hamstrings and quads got a fab workout! Luckily, the views will keep you going! Every turn will have you looking for the next fantastic photo opportunity.
*Wear a camelback (water backpack). It’s a long ride! Having water on hand is more convenient, not to mention affordable than stopping several times to purchase water. I didn’t notice many drinking fountains along the path. Its’ always better to have you own bottle conveniently available; after-all, you want to be hydrated for any long bout of exercise.
*Check the weather forecast and plan your visit on a non-windy day. Riding a bike in the wind adds unnecessary stress and makes an easy,enjoyable workout that much harder.
*Bring with a few snacks. During the fall, there aren’t as many food stands open. There will be plenty of restaurant options along Navy Pier. I recommend eating breakfast beforehand, putting a few small snacks like granola bars in your bag, and stopping to eat when you are finished with the ride.
*Bring with your camera. There are dozens of amazing photo opportunities along the way, especially of the skyline and lakefront. This is one bike path where you can’t afford to leave your camera at home. Bring with a small camera (I recommend the Nikon Coolpix) which you can easily fit into a pocket or backpack.
Starting & Ending locations of the Lakefront Path
Starting Address: 5800 North
Ending Address: E. 71st Street
Address & Website Information
The Field Museum: 1400 S. Lakeshore Drive Chicago, IL 60605
The Field Museum Website
The Shedd Aquarium: 1200 S. Lakeshore Drive Chicago, IL 60605
The Shedd Aquarium Website
Adler Planetarium: 1300 S. Lakeshore Drive Chicago, IL 60605
Adler Planetarium Website
Soldier Field: 1410 Museum Campus Drive Chicago, IL 60605
Soldier Field Website
Grant Park: 337 E. Randolph St. Chicago, IL 60602
Grant Park Website
Buckingham Fountain: 301 South Columbus Dr. Chicago, IL 60605
Buckingham Fountain Website
Millennium Park: 201 E. Randolph St. Chicago, IL 60602
Millennium Park Website
Oak Street Beach: 1000 N. Lakeshore Dr. Chicago, IL 60611
Oak Street Beach Website
North Avenue Beach: W Lasalle Dr. Chicago, IL 60614
North Avenue Beach Website
Navy Pier: 600 E. Grand Ave. Chicago, IL 60611
Navy Pier Website
Lincoln Park Zoo: 2001 N. Clark St. Chicago, IL 60614
Lincoln Park Zoo Website
John Hancock Observatory: 875 N. Michigan Ave. Chicago, IL 60611
John Hancock Website
Willis Tower: 233 S. Wacker Dr. Chicago, IL 60606
Willis Tower Website
Magnificent Mile: N. Michigan Avenue Chicago, IL
Magnificent Mile Website