The South Loop offers residents and visitors over 20 parks and open spaces to experience and enjoy – and being right on Lake Michigan provides easy access to even more! Parts of two of the lakefront’s four main parks – Grant Park and Burnham Park – are located within the South Loop’s borders, as are about 3 miles of the 18-mile Chicago Lakefront Trail. It’s also convenient to access the city’s “second lakefront,” the Chicago Riverwalk, which runs along the south bank of the Chicago River from Lakeshore Drive to Franklin Street (and soon to Lake Street).
Almost all of the parks and open spaces in and near the South Loop are managed by the Chicago Park District, which is not a city government department but “an independent taxing authority as defined by Illinois State Statute and… a separate (or “sister”) agency of the City of Chicago” (Wikipedia). In several parks, the work of the Park District is supplemented by Advisory Councils, which are “voluntary group of individuals who meet on a regular basis to support the effective functioning of their local park.”
As the features in our Google Map and this Fun Facts article reveal, the parks and open spaces in and near the South Loop are very diverse, ranging from simple urban oases to complex centers with a wide range of both indoor and outdoor facilities. To take the fullest advantage of what our parks have to offer, check out these tips.