Travel Reference
In-Depth Information
8 For the Active Family
W ith its wide blue lake and emerald
string of parks, Chicago is one big
playground for kids. The city's ample
green space means it's easy to get out
and be active. Whether your kids like
water-based sports or activities on
solid ground, you'll probably be able
to find it here.
A handy resource for those interested
in the sporting life is Windy City
Sports ( & 312/421-1551; www.windy, a free monthly
publication that you'll find at many
retail shops, grocery stores, and bars and
1 Enjoying the “Third Coast”: Chicago's Beaches
Public beaches line Lake Michigan all the way up north into the suburbs and
Wisconsin, and southeast through Indiana and into Michigan. The most well
known is Oak Street Beach ; its location at the northern tip of the Magnifi-
cent Mile creates some interesting sights as sun worshippers sporting swimsuits
and carting coolers make their way down Michigan Avenue. The most popular
is North Avenue Beach, about 6 blocks farther north, which has developed into
a volleyball hot spot and recently rebuilt its landmark steamship-shaped beach
house and added a Venice Beach-style gym; this is where the Lincoln Park sin-
gles come to play, check each other out, and fly by on bikes and in-line skates.
Even though families might be outnumbered by singles, the atmosphere is open
and easy, and you won't feel out of place in the least. The beach has a Bike &
Roll shop ( & 773/327-2706 ) for renting bicycles, a chess pavilion, and Ste-
fani's Castaway Restaurant for sandwiches. The beach is the place to be during
the annual Air and Water Show, which takes place along the waterfront in
For more seclusion, try Ohio Street Beach, an intimate sliver of sand in tiny
Olive Park, just north of Navy Pier, which, incredibly enough, remains largely
ignored despite its central location. If you have a car, head up to Montrose
Beach, a beautiful unsung treasure about midway between North Avenue Beach
and Hollywood-Ardmore Beach (with plenty of free parking). Long popular
with the city's Hispanic community, it has an expanse of beach mostly uninter-
rupted by piers or jetties, and a huge adjacent park with soccer fields and one
big hill great for kite flying—even a small bait shop where anglers can go before
heading for a nearby long pier designated for fishing. Teens can find a pickup
game of volleyball here during the warmer months. Hollywood-Ardmore
Beach (officially Kathy Osterman Beach), at the northern end of Lake Shore
Drive, is a lovely crescent that's less congested and has steadily become more
popular with gays who've moved up the lakefront from the Belmont Rocks, a
longtime hangout.
If you've brought the family pooch along, you might want to take him for a
dip at the doggie beach south of Addison Street, at about Hawthorne and Lake
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