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Chicago park guide: Things to do in the Chicago Park District

Discover the best Chicago parks, including attractions and things to do in Grant Park, Millennium Park and Lincoln Park

Photograph: Jaclyn Rivas

The 8,000-plus acres that comprise Chicago parks are welcome oases of calm in the midst of the concrete jungle. The Chicago Park District manages 600 parks, beaches and other facilities, and each has its own character. Grant Park is imbued with Chicago history, from the 1968 Democratic National Convention riots to Barack Obama's 2008 election-night rally. Millennium Park is fiercely contemporary, with the interactive sculpture Crown Fountain and the Frank Gehry-designed Pritzker Pavilion, which plays host to classical performances as well as rock and pop concerts. Lincoln Park, meanwhile, is a recreational wonderland; the city's largest park is home to top attractions such as the Lincoln Park Zoo, Lincoln Park Conservatory and the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum. Humboldt Park is inextricable from the Puerto Rican residents who reside in the surrounding neighborhood. From ice skating in the winter to Movies in the Parks in the summer, you'll find there are as many things to do in Chicago's parks as there are acres of green space.

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Explore Chicago’s parks

The best parks in Chicago
Things to do

The best parks in Chicago

Outdoor movies in Chicago
Movies

Outdoor movies in Chicago

Millennium Park 2017 summer concert series lineup
Music

Millennium Park 2017 summer concert series lineup

The best Chicago beaches
Things to do

The best Chicago beaches

Top park district draws

Millennium Park
Things to do Buy tickets

Millennium Park

Users say
  • 5 out of 5 stars
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Lincoln Park Zoo
Things to do Buy tickets

Lincoln Park Zoo

Users say
  • 4 out of 5 stars
Buy tickets
Garfield Park Conservatory
Attractions

Garfield Park Conservatory

Users say
  • 5 out of 5 stars
Maggie Daley Park Skating Ribbon
Attractions

Maggie Daley Park Skating Ribbon

Users say
  • 5 out of 5 stars
Riverwalk
Things to do Buy tickets

Riverwalk

Users say
  • 5 out of 5 stars
Buy tickets
North Park Village Nature Center
Things to do

North Park Village Nature Center

Archive parks content

10 films you should see at Movies in the Park this summer
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10 films you should see at Movies in the Park this summer

Here's a first look at the design of the Obama Presidential Library in Jackson Park
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Here's a first look at the design of the Obama Presidential Library in Jackson Park

A riverfront park could occupy the former Fisk coal plant site
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A riverfront park could occupy the former Fisk coal plant site

Millennium Park has become the Midwest's top tourist attraction
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Millennium Park has become the Midwest's top tourist attraction

You can Rollerblade the ribbon at Maggie Daley Park this spring
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You can Rollerblade the ribbon at Maggie Daley Park this spring

Chicago Park District opens spring programming registration
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Chicago Park District opens spring programming registration

Recycle your Christmas tree at these Chicago Park District sites
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Recycle your Christmas tree at these Chicago Park District sites

Mayor Emanuel announces plan to expand Chicago's lakefront and riverfront parks
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Mayor Emanuel announces plan to expand Chicago's lakefront and riverfront parks

Chicago OnScreen will bring the work of local filmmakers to city parks
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Chicago OnScreen will bring the work of local filmmakers to city parks

See floating Christmas trees at the Garfield Park Conservatory
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See floating Christmas trees at the Garfield Park Conservatory

Ride through winter at Chicago's new Big Marsh Bike Park
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Ride through winter at Chicago's new Big Marsh Bike Park

The Lincoln Park Zoo welcomes African penguin friends to their brand-new exhibit
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The Lincoln Park Zoo welcomes African penguin friends to their brand-new exhibit

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