The 24 best Chicago beaches

Play volleyball, catch a tan and splash in Lake Michigan all summer long at the best beaches in Chicago
Photograph: Neal O'Bryan
By Time Out Chicago editors |
Advertising

Summertime in Chicago means one thing: Spending as much time as humanly possible out in the sun. While hanging on patios and hitting up summer music festivals are excellent choices, don’t forget about Chicago’s glorious beaches. With sandy lakefront hangouts dotting our city’s eastern boarder, you have no excuse not to throw on a suit and soak up the sun. They’re only open for about three months, after all, so hop to it!

Best beaches in Chicago

1
331.wk.OakStreetBeach15.jpg
Photograph: Sara Mays
Things to do

Oak Street Beach

icon-location-pin Gold Coast

One of Chicago's most popular places to sunbathe, this Gold Coast beach has volleyball tournaments, a restaurant and a spectacular view of the skyline.

Amenities: concessions, bike rentals, water sports rentals, restrooms, life guard first aid station

2
Things to do

Rainbow Beach and Park

icon-location-pin South Shore

Part of the 60-acre Rainbow Park, this South Side beach is adjacent to one of Chicago's oldest public gardens.

Amenities: concessions, playground, restrooms, life guard first aid station, wifi, gym, fitness center, handball courts

Advertising
3
North Avenue Beach
Photograph: Jaclyn Elizabeth Rivas
Things to do

North Avenue Beach

icon-location-pin Lincoln Park

As one of Chicago's most popular summertime hangouts, North Avenue Beach features a unique beach house inspired by a beached ocean liner. Visitors can hit the volleyball courts, grab a snack or rent a bike. Be warned: North Ave is one of the busiest beaches in the city.

Amenities: concessions, lockers, kayak rentals, jet ski rentals, water sports rentals, restrooms, life guard first aid station

4
Things to do

Margaret T. Burroughs Beach

icon-location-pin Bronzeville/Oakland

This South Side beach—known as 31st Street Beach before it was renamed in 2015 for Burroughs, the founder of the DuSable Museum who later became a Harold Washington appointee to the Park District Board of Commissioners—features amazing views of the Chicago skyline in addition to a harbor for small boats. A nearby park includes a picnic area and a public fishing dock.

Amenities: concessions, restrooms, lockers, life guard first aid station, playground

Advertising
5
OsternamBeach.Venue.jpg
Things to do

Osterman Beach

icon-location-pin Edgewater

If your friends tell you they're going to Hollywood Beach, this is where they're headed. Located in Edgewater, Osterman Beach has a LEED-certified beach house. It's also (unofficially) the LGBTQ beach of Chicago.

Amenities: concessions, water sports rentals, restrooms, life guard first aid station, Wi-Fi

6
57th Street Beach
Things to do

57th Street Beach

icon-location-pin South Side

Located in Jackson Park, one of Chicago's oldest parks, 57th Street Beach is easily accessible via a pedestrian underpass near the Museum of Science and Industry. 

Amenities: concessions, restrooms, life guard first aid station

Advertising
7
The inaugural Mamby on the Beach music festival brought electronic acts and DJs to Oakwood Beach on July 12, 2015.
Photographer: Cousin Daniel
Things to do

Oakwood Beach

icon-location-pin Bronzeville/Oakland

One of Chicago's newest beaches, this South Side beach hosts many outdoor festivals and concerts like Mamby on the Beach. A beautiful, colorful mural by artist Jeff Zimmerman covers the walkway to the comfort station. 

Amenities: restrooms, life guard first aid station

8
FosterBeach.Venue.jpg
Things to do

Foster Avenue Beach

icon-location-pin North Side

This popular Edgewater beach offers a beach house with concessions and bike rentals in addition to an adjoining dog beach for everyone's favorite four-legged friends.

Amenities: restrooms, water sports rentals, bike rentals, free wifi, life guard first aid station

Advertising
9
MontroseBeach.venue.jpg
Things to do

Montrose Beach

icon-location-pin Uptown

A fenced-off dog area at this popular Uptown beach provides a place for your pooch to run around. Elsewhere, visitors can play volleyball, sit under an umbrella or enjoy the free wifi. The beach is also a perfect habitat for water birds and endangered plant life.

Amenities: concessions, kayak rentals, water sports rentals, restrooms, life guard first aid station

10
Things to do

South Shore Beach

icon-location-pin South Side

As a part of the South Shore Cultural Center, this beach has something for everyone. A country club–esque beach house, golf course, tennis courts and nature sanctuary await visitors.

Amenities: restrooms, life guard first aid station

Advertising
11
327.wk.MemorialDayBeach24.jpg
Photograph: Chandler West
Things to do

12th Street Beach

icon-location-pin Museum Campus

Located on Northerly Island, this Near South Side beach is just a short walk from the Museum Campus and typically hosts an array of summer events.

Amenities: concessions, restrooms, life guard first aid station, non-motorized boat launch

12
OhioStreetBeach.venue.jpg
Things to do

Ohio Street Beach

icon-location-pin Streeterville

Located within walking distance of Navy Pier and sheltered by the curve of the shoreline, Ohio Street Beach offers calm waters for open water swimmers and amazing views of downtown.

Amenities: concessions, bike rentals, water sports rentals, restrooms, life guard first aid station

Advertising
13
Photograph Courtesy: Creative Commons
Things to do

63rd Street Beach

icon-location-pin Woodlawn

If you need a beach vacay but can't get away right this second, head to 63rd Street Beach and its beach house, where kids can kite-surf, use free volleyball equipment and go berserk in the interactive spray fountain.

Amenities: concessions, restrooms, playgrounds, life guard first aid station

14
Loyola Beach
Things to do

Helen Doria Beach

icon-location-pin North Side

Helen Doria Beach (a.k.a. Columbia Beach) is one of Chicago's hidden gems. It offers great views of downtown without the crowds.

Amenities: lifeguard station, restrooms

Advertising
15
Things to do

Rogers Beach

icon-location-pin Rogers Park

Avoid the throngs of students and head north to this out-of-the-way Rogers Park beach. If swimming isn't your thing, try a few rounds on the nearby tennis courts.

Amenities: life guard first aid station

16
Things to do

Calumet Beach

Located near the Indiana state line, Calumet Beach can be a bit of a trek from elsewhere in the city. The beach connects to a sprawling park that offers an artificial turf soccer field and fields for football and softball.

Amenities: concessions, restrooms, lockers, playground, life guard first aid station

Advertising
17
Things to do

Marion Mahony Griffin Beach

icon-location-pin North Side

Escape from the crowds at this small Rogers Park beach, also known as Jarvis Beach, just a few blocks away from the Jarvis Red Line stop.

Amenities: life guard first aid station

18
Loyola Beach
Things to do

Loyola Beach

icon-location-pin Rogers Park

This beach attracts college students and families and features Lynn Takata's "Windform," an abstract concrete sculpture representing the movement of water.

Amenities: concessions, restrooms, playground, life guard first aid station

Advertising
19
Things to do

Leone Beach

icon-location-pin Rogers Park

This Rogers Park beach has a kayak launch and plenty of sandy acres to enjoy. Don't be surprised if you see members of the Junior Lifeguard program training in the lake.

Amenities: playground, restrooms, life guard first aid station

20
Things to do

North Shore Beach

icon-location-pin Rogers Park

Another street-end beach near Loyola University, North Shore Beach is full of families and students sharing a relaxing environment. Catch some rays or take a walk out on the pier.

Amenities: none

Advertising
21
Things to do

Howard Beach

icon-location-pin Rogers Park

Situated next to a park, Howard Beach gives visitors the choice of soaking up rays on the sand or relaxing in the shade.

Amenities: playground

22
Juneway Beach
Photograph provided by Chicago Park District
Things to do

Juneway Terrace Beach

icon-location-pin Rogers Park

The Park District's northernmost beach gives visitors one more chance to swim before they leave the city limits. The half-block long sandbar doesn’t feature any amenities, but it’s a hidden gem.

Amenities: none

Advertising
23
015.td.ft.tock.sb.beach7xSS.jpg
Things to do

Lane Beach

icon-location-pin Edgewater

This Edgewater beach is connected to a small park and just a short walk away from the much larger Osterman Beach to the south.

Amenities: playground

24
Things to do

Hartigan Beach

icon-location-pin Rogers Park

Formerly known as Albion Beach, this no-frills street-end beach is a great spot to catch some rays and enjoy the waters of Lake Michigan.

Amenities: playground

Advertising