Most people don’t think about the lakefront as a residential area, even though some Chicagoans have boats as their summer homes, visitors often stay on boats rather than in hotel rooms, and many people spend much of their free time (especially during the summer) hanging out in the harbors, beaches and park areas. Though it may not meet the classical definition of a “neighborhood,” we definitely consider the South Loop’s lakefront to be one of its micro-communities.
Virtually every inch of the lakefront in the South Loop offers something for visitors and residents alike. The lakefront trail (used by walkers, runners and cyclists) runs along the entire shoreline, providing access to beaches, recreational facilities, museums, sports and concert venues, art – and of course stunning skyline views and great people watching. Depending on the time of year, you’re also likely to see some interesting wildlife, like migrating waterfowl and maybe even a snowy owl.
Though well established, Chicago’s lakefront continues to evolve. George Lucas’s Museum of Narrative Arts may have been a controversial potential addition, but the redevelopment of the southern 40 acres of Northerly Island into a “multi-ecosystem wildlife refuge and educational nature immersion experience” is something all can agree is in keeping with Daniel Burnham’s plan (learn more here).