The best attractions in Lincoln Park

Visit a free zoo, interesting museums and the area's namesake green space with our guide to the best attractions in Lincoln Park

Photograph: Martha Williams
Jeanne Gang's yoga pavilion near the Lincoln Park Zoo.

Like a small college town jammed into the middle of a city, Lincoln Park plays host to the DePaul University campus as well as parks and some of Chicago's best museums. Spend an afternoon visiting animals in the zoo or communing with nature at the Conservatory. Of course, you can always go for a jog in Oz Park after eating at a great Lincoln Park restaurant. Plan your stroll through the neighborhood with our guide to the best attractions in Lincoln Park.

RECOMMENDED: Explore the Lincoln Park neighborhood

Attractions in Lincoln Park

Chicago History Museum

Critics' pick

Not so long ago this vibrant museum was the stodgy ol' Chicago Historical Society, which let you cull through thousands of archived photographs and curio. Well, that library still exists, but joining it are several permanent and temporary exhibits, the largest of which is "Chicago: Crossroads of America," a treasure trove of historical objects, including a chunk of the original Fort Dearborn. Other exhibits include “Sensing Chicago” (kids swarm around the giant Chicago hot dog) and revolving displays showing off one of the world's largest costume collections.

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Lincoln Park

DePaul University

With more than 25,000 students, DePaul University is one of the nation's ten largest private universities. It's campus is spread throughout Lincoln Park, allowing visitors to take a stroll down memory lane on the way to area attractions.

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Lincoln Park

DePaul Art Museum

Hop off the train at the Fullerton Red and Brown line station and you'll find yourself at the front door of this underrated art museum on the DePaul University campus in Lincoln Park. The currators of the DePaul Art Museum have made a habit of hosting exciting exhibitions culled from the school's personal collection, including photographs taken by Andy Warhol and Jeff Carter's sculptures made from IKEA furniture.

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Lincoln Park

Lincoln Park

Lincoln Park was named for the 16th President of the United States shortly after his assassination in 1865. The park stretches along the lakeshore and contains the Lincoln Park Zoo, the Lincoln Park Conservatory and the Lincoln Park Cultural Center. The park itself offers golf courses, baseball fields, a skate park and paths for walking, jogging or biking.

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Lincoln Park Free

Lincoln Park Conservatory

Critics' pick

Under a glass dome and in greenhouse rooms on just more than a half acre thrive more than 40,000 plants representing around 200 species. Attractions include an extensive fern collection, a room full of dozens of orchid varieties and a 100-year-old, 50-foot rubber tree. Flower shows change with the seasons.

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Lincoln Park Free

Lincoln Park Cultural Center

If you feel like making a little culture of your own, it’s worth looking into the woodshop, stained glass, ceramics and dance classes here. The auditorium plays host to a number of artistic programs.

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Lincoln Park

Lincoln Park Zoo

See some 1,200 animals, from apes to zebras, at the oldest and one of only a few free zoos left in the country. It is small, only 35 acres, but attractions like the Kovler Lion House and the Regenstein Center for African Apes pack a big punch. The newest feature: A 2010 rehab transformed the pond adjacent to Café Brauer into the Nature Boardwalk harboring Illinois wildlife.

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Lincoln Park Free

Oz Park

Critics' pick

Located right behind Lincoln Park High School, Oz Park is just what you think: a park dedicated to The Wizard of Oz. Sculptures of the popular characters are scattered around the huge park. The small-ish playground has a fun wooden castle/maze structure filled with windows to look through, things to climb, bridges to run across, etc. The playground even has equipment for the littlest ones who can barely walk—with a separate slide, rocking animals and a wooden train to climb on.

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Lincoln Park

The Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum

Critics' pick

From prairie and river ecosystems to the biology of Ice Age–mammals, nature and its conservation, the focus at this Lincoln Park museum situated alongside a lagoon is vast and varied. Hands-on interactive displays on marsh and river ecosystems engage kids, while the thousand fluttering beauties of the 2,700-square-foot Judy Istock Butterfly Haven appeal to all ages.

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Lincoln Park

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