Beaches in Chicago

Chicago lakefront from above
Anyone planning a summer trip to Chicago may be wondering, “does Chicago have a beach?” Actually, there are several! Chicago is home to 24 beaches along Lake Michigan, providing plenty of opportunities to step away from the city hustle and stretch out on the sand when the beaches are open. Skydeck is diving into our most favorite downtown Chicago beaches to help you find fun things to do during your visit! 

Downtown Chicago Beaches Overview

The Chicago lakefront is 28 miles long, running up against Lake Michigan. No matter what kind of summer activities you enjoy, there’s a Chicago beach that’s right for you. Swimming, fishing, and boating are popular favorites, as well as walking and running, thanks to the lakefront trail that runs alongside the sand. Day and night, Chicagoans flock to the water to enjoy picnics and lakeside relaxation, especially on the Fourth of July to watch fireworks set off from Navy Pier. 

North Avenue Beach

Perhaps the most iconic downtown Chicago beach is North Avenue Beach, located at 1600 North Ave in the Lincoln Park neighborhood. Recognizable by its massive beach house designed to look like a cruise ship, this stretch of sand hosts countless events during the summer, from volleyball tournaments to beach parties and more. It’s also a prime location to sit and watch the annual Chicago Air & Water Show. 

Montrose Avenue Beach 

Easily the largest beach in Chicago, Montrose Avenue Beach is located in the Uptown neighborhood but draws visitors from all over the city and beyond. It prides itself by being one of the few beaches that allows for watercraft launch, allowing kayaks and catamarans to push out into the lake. This beach also has a designated area for dogs to play off-leash in the water, and hosts festivals and lifeguarding championship events every year. 

Oak Street Beach

Just south of North Avenue Beach is Oak Street Beach, popular for its close proximity to downtown Chicago. Marrying the city skyline against the water, this beach offers the largest area of deep-water swimming, and was previously a hot spot for scuba diving. In addition to its prime location, Oak Street Beach is home to an outdoor chess pavilion, as well as the Oak Street Beachstro, a seasonal restaurant that is only available in the summer. 

Visit Skydeck After You Hit the Beach!

So when it comes down to it, the question isn’t “does Chicago have a beach?” but “which one should you visit first?” Once you’re ready to get out of the sun, take on a different view of the city at Skydeck, located in Chicago’s Willis Tower! We’re one of the city’s most popular tourist attractions, so be sure to get tickets for your next visit today.