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Chicago Riverwalk
Photograph: Time Out/Jaclyn Rivas

The Chicago Riverwalk is open again, with dedicated hours for recreation and dining

You'll have to show up early to exercise on the path and make a reservation if you want to dine beside the Chicago River.

Zach Long
Written by
Zach Long

Chicago's lakefront, the 606 and the Riverwalk were closed "until further notice" in late March, after Mayor Lori Lightfoot expressed concern over the number of people congregating at these outdoor destinations. Today, the city announced that the Riverwalk and many of the businesses located along the path are opening to the public under new safety guidelines and restrictions on activities. Unfortunately, there's still no word on when the 606 and the lakefront will follow suit.

Beginning on Friday, June 12, the Riverwalk will be open to the public from 5am to 9pm daily, with face coverings required at all times. In an effort to reduce crowding and encourage social distancing, the city is implementing dedicated hours on the Riverwalk for recreation and concessions. From 5am to 10am, guests are welcome to run, jog, walk and bike along the path between Lake Shore Drive and Lake Street. The Riverwalk will briefly close at 10am for cleaning and then reopen from 11am to 9pm to allow access to businesses and "passive recreation areas" along the path.

From 11am to 9pm, the Riverwalk will only be accessible through certain entrances, corresponding to businesses and areas along the path (see a complete list and map below). Attendants will stand at each entrance to the Riverwalk, confirming reservations at restaurants (a reservation is required to dine on the Riverwalk) and ensuring that new capacity limits are not exceeded. It's unclear how access to the "passive recreation areas" will be handled, but it seems that entrance will be prioritized for individuals with reservations at Riverwalk restaurants.

The following Riverwalk restaurants and businesses are open as of Friday, June 12:

Tiny Tapp & Café (enter at West Dearborn)
City Winery (enter at East Dearborn)
Chicago Brewhouse (enter at West Wabash stairway)
Beat Kitchen and Community Marketplace (enter at West Michigan Avenue)
Chicago’s First Lady and Mercury Sightseeing Cruises (enter at East Michigan Avenue)
Urban Kayaks, Island Party, The Northman (enter at Columbus Drive)
O'Briens's Riverwalk Cafe (enter at East Wabash Street)
Sweet Home Gelato (enter at West LaSalle Street, walk-up service available)

The follow "passive recreation areas" are open as of Friday, June 12:

Lake Street and LaSalle Street (enter at Lake Street, ADA ramp between Franklin and Lake or East LaSalle Street)
Vietnam Veterans Memorial (enter at State Street ADA ramp)
Michigan Plaza (enter at West Michigan Avenue)
Columbus Plaza (enter at Columbus Drive Stairs)

Chicago Riverwalk access map
Credit: City of Chicago

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