The far-north lakeside neighborhood of Rogers Park is one of the city’s most diverse areas. That goes for the things to do there, too. The wide-open expanse of Loyola Park includes one of Chicago's best beaches, the neighborhood teems with public art and you can learn some LGBT history at a pair of museums. Read on for some of Rogers Park’s favorite spots.
RECOMMENDED: Our complete guide to Rogers Park
Best attractions in Rogers Park
Mile of Murals
This long-term project commissions artists annually to turn a section of the CTA Red Line’s retaining walls and viaducts along Glenwood Avenue into works of public art. Eventually, the murals will run the full mile from Pratt Boulevard north to Estes Avenue.
This Chicago Park District location has a playground and baseball fields and sits right next to the sandy beaches of Lake Michigan. The 600-foot concrete sea wall is divided up into 160 mini murals that are painted by neighborhood residents as part of the Artists of the Wall Festival each year.
Imagine spending time at a library created exclusively for the LGBT community. With more than 14,000 volumes documenting queer life, Gerber/Hart is the largest circulating gay and lesbian library in the Midwest. It offers a range of provocative programming, including regular author events; monthly book discussion groups for men and women; and awesome semiannual sales.
Lifeline, a Rogers Park institution, has occupied this 99-seat theater (a converted ComEd substation) since 1985. The company exclusively produces original—and sometimes staggeringly inventive—literary adaptations, with a three-play mainstage season and a three-play KidSeries.
As much a community gathering as a farmers market, the Glenwood Sunday Market runs 9am–2pm on Sundays from June through October on Glenwood Avenue, alongside the Red Line between Morse and Lunt. On select Sundays in November and December, the market moves inside the Glenwood bar for holiday shopping.
Housed in a former synagogue and theater and set on a quiet residential street, this museum is purportedly the only one in the country devoted to the leather lifestyle. Paintings of men with bulging biceps and perfect “packages” adorn the walls of the worship hall. Downstairs, visitors can thumb through around 10,000 underground sex magazines and peruse exhibits featuring leather whips, a 19th-century chastity belt for men and common kitchen tools used for sex play.
This beautiful park offers a spray park, playground and tennis courts. The playground has an "old school" vibe: The structure is completely made of wood and the grounds are filled with wood chips (no plastic here!). There are swings, tunnels, bridges, slides and more. The park was recently updated with an outdoor nature play center.
If the $8.50 ticket price (that includes 3D screenings) at this Rogers Park theater doesn't grab your attention, then this certainly should: The theater sports a full bar and servers deliver drinks to your seat. Frankly, we'll go see just about any movie if there's a stiff cocktail involved.