What Lake is Chicago On? 

Aerial view of Chicago

Chicago is on Lake Michigan, one of the five Great Lakes of North America. Lake Michigan accounts for all 28 miles of the city’s shoreline and beaches, offering year-round beauty and enjoyment to all. Whether you’re ready to dive into its chilly waters or would rather stay dry on a nighttime cruise, there’s something for everyone to explore on this stunning stretch of water. 


Is Chicago on Lake Michigan? 

Yes, Lake Michigan curves up against the city of Chicago, but we aren’t the only major metropolitan area lucky enough to grace its shores! In fact, nearly twelve million people live on the shores of Lake Michigan and there are many midwestern cities that enjoy its waters, most notably: 

  • Chicago, IL
  • Milwaukee, WI
  • Gary, IN
  • Traverse City, MI 
  • And many, many more

Lake Michigan is sometimes referred to as the “third coast” of the United States after the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans due to its massive size. It is the only Great Lake that is completely within the boundaries of the United States, making it the largest lake located within one single country. By the numbers, Lake Michigan is: 

  • 307 miles long 
  • 118 miles wide 
  • 1,640 miles around its shoreline
  • 153 fathoms 5 feet deep (at its greatest depth) 
  • 1,180 cubic miles in volume 

Due to their massive sizes, the Great Lakes share many oceanic qualities such as strong currents, rolling waves, great depths, distanced horizons, and sustained winds. Even though the significant winds coming off Lake Michigan may seem like a reason why Chicago is called the Windy City, the lakefront actually has nothing to do with that nickname. 


Lake Michigan Chicago 

Having a beautiful lakefront affords Chicago residents and tourists to experience the best of both city and outdoors life. In addition to stunning views, Lake Michigan plays host to a variety of summer activities such as swimming, boat tours, and more. There are also many popular attractions and events that are located on its shores, such as: 

  • Navy Pier: Home to theater, dining, and the iconic ferris wheel, Navy Pier offers a jam-packed schedule of events all year long. 
  • Shedd Aquarium: There’s nothing like watching a dolphin show set against the backdrop only Lake Michigan could provide. 
  • Lakefront Trail: Ride your bike, go for a run, or take a leisurely stroll against the stunning backdrop of skyline and shore. 
  • Chicago Air and Water Show: This annual event showcases amazing stunts on both water and air, making it a family favorite. 

See Lake Michigan From Skydeck!  

There’s no wrong way to take in Lake Michigan, but why not do so from 1,353 feet in the air? Skydeck offers spectacular views of Lake Michigan in Chicago, making it a must-see stop for when you’re planning your visit. Save time when you get tickets online today!

Important Notice Regarding COVID-19

Willis Tower and Skydeck Chicago have implemented measures consistent with CDC and local and federal guidance to try to reduce the spread of COVID-19 on the premises, including enhanced cleaning protocols. Even with these procedures in place, PLEASE BE ADVISED that building occupants, building and Skydeck visitors, or others currently or previously present upon this property and/or the Skydeck MAY HAVE CONTRACTED OR BEEN EXPOSED TO COVID-19 or other infectious diseases, and may expose you. By accessing and using building common areas, the Skydeck, and their associated amenities, you and your party voluntarily assume all risks of your use—INCLUDING THE RISK OF EXPOSURE TO INFECTIOUS DISEASE—and you waive all claims, including claims for negligence, against Willis Tower, Skydeck Chicago, and their respective owners, managers, affiliates, agents and representatives, arising out of such use. The above parties hereby disclaim all liability for any injuries arising out of your use of this property and the Skydeck, including exposure to infectious disease.

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