Chicago Beaches —
Chicago beaches run from the city’s southern to northern borders along Lake Michigan’s shore. The downtown beaches, those closest to the city center, and Near North beaches, those closest to the Gold Coast and Lincoln Park residential areas, are the most popular.
12th Street Beach
12th Street Beach is the closest beach to Chicago’s Museum Campus and Grant Park. It’s located at Solidarity Drive and Linn White Drive. It’s a pleasant crescent beach with a beach house where you’ll find restrooms, a food concession and a non-motorized boat launch. 12th Street Beach is also within walking distance of many of Chicago’s best museums and tourist attractions.
Oak Street Beach
Oak Street is probably Chicago most well-known beach. It’s a great beach for people watching due to its proximity to Chicago’s affluent Gold Coast and Streeterville neighborhoods and upscale Oak Street and north Michigan Avenue shopping. Oak Street Beach also has a ton of amenities including chair rentals, Oak Street Beach Café, bike rentals, volleyball rentals, and restrooms.
North Avenue Beach
North Avenue Beach is my personal favorite Chicago beach. That’s probably because it’s the beach I frequented when I lived in the city, but I think it’s also because it’s the Chicago beach with the most water sport rental options. You can rent kayaks, jet skis, and paddle boards. Other North Avenue Beach amenities include a distinctive ocean liner inspired beach house with food concessions, shops, restrooms, and a restaurant on the upper level; rental chairs, bikes and volleyball equipment (there are over 50 volleyball courts here); and beach yoga classes.
Montrose Dog Beach
There’s a human beach at Montrose, but the dog beach is the big draw here. Montrose Dog Beach is located at the north end of Montrose Beach. It was the first legal off-leash dog beach in Chicago and it’s still the best. In fact, Huffington Post included Montrose Dog Beach on its list of 9 Tricked-Out Dog Parks That Will Make Your Pup Go Wild.
To many joyful beach experiences!
— Lisa Dworkin