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The best Chicago beaches

Soak up the summer sun and cool off in Lake Michigan at some of the best Chicago beaches

Photograph: Jaclyn Elizabeth Rivas

Summer in Chicago means you'll soon be sipping on tropical cocktails, like these amazing daiquiris, or spending all day on sunny rooftops. There's also baseball to be watched and summer music festivals, but you shouldn't forget about dedicating some time to Chicago’s amazing beaches. Find the perfect sunbathing spot, play a game of volleyball and cool off in Lake Michigan at any of these Chicago beaches.

When do Chicago beaches open for the 2016 season?

Chicago's beaches open on Friday, May 27, 2016.

RECOMMENDED: Find more things to do in the summer in Chicago

Best beaches in Chicago

Oakwood Beach

One of Chicago's newest beaches, this South Side beach features 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.

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Bronzeville/Oakland

Montrose Beach

A fenced-off dog area at this popular neighborhood beach provides a place for your pooch to run around. Elsewhere, visitors can play volleyball, sit under an umbrella or enjoy the free wifi. Amenities: concessions, kayak rentals, water sports rentals, restrooms, life guard first aid station.

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Uptown

Rainbow Beach and Park

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.

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South Shore

North Avenue Beach

As one of Chicago's most popular beaches, 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. Amenities: concessions, lockers, kayak rentals, jet ski rentals, water sports rentals, restrooms, life guard first aid station.

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Lincoln Park

Oak Street Beach

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.

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Gold Coast

South Shore Beach

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.

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South Side

12th Street Beach

Located on Northerly Island, this Near South Side beach is just a short walk from Museum Campus and typically hosts an array of summer events. Amenities: concessions, restrooms, life guard first aid station, non-motorized boat launch.

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Museum Campus

31st Street Beach

Recommended

This South Side beach 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.

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Bronzeville/Oakland

Ohio Street Beach

Located within walking distance of Navy Pier and sheltered by the curve of the shoreline, Ohio Street Beach offers calm waters for swimmers and amazing views of downtown. Amenities: concessions, bike rentals, water sports rentals, restrooms, life guard first aid station.

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Streeterville

Foster Avenue Beach

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.

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North Side

Osterman Beach

If your friends tell you they're going to Hollywood Beach, this is where they're headed. Located in north Lincoln Park, Osterman Beach has a LEED-certified beach house. Amenities: concessions, water sports rentals, restrooms, life guard first aid station, wifi.

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Edgewater

57th Street Beach

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.

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South Side

63rd Street Beach

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.

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Woodlawn

Columbia Beach

Columbia Beach is one of Chicago's hidden gems. It offers great views of downtown without the crowds. Amenities: lifeguard station, restrooms.

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North Side

Rogers Beach

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 in the nearby tennis courts.

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Rogers Park

Jarvis Beach

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

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North Side

Loyola Beach

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.

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Rogers Park

Calumet Beach

Located near the Indiana state line, getting to Calumet Beach can be a bit of a journey. 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, food and drink concessions.

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Leone Beach

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.

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Rogers Park

North Shore Beach

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.

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Rogers Park

Howard Beach

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.

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Rogers Park

Juneway Terrace Beach

The Park District's northernmost beach gives visitors one more chance swim before they leave the city limits.

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Rogers Park

Lane Beach

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.

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Edgewater

Hartigan Beach

Formerly known as Albion Beach, this street-end beach has a playground and is a great spot to catch some rays and enjoy the waters of Lake Michigan.

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Rogers Park

Fargo Beach

Located on the crowded strip of Rogers Park beaches, right next to Jarvis Beach, the waters of Fargo are (thankfully) not a cold as its name implies.

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Rogers Park

Best outdoor restaurants in Chicago

The best outdoor restaurants in Chicago

Peel off those winter layers, get some fresh air and find the best things to do in the summer. There are only so many blue sky days so don't wait to start dining on the patios, decks and gardens of these amazing Chicago restaurants. From Mexican restaurants to spots for Italian food, here's where to eat outside.

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By: Amy Cavanaugh

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