PHOTO: Northerly Island, Chicago. (photo via Flickr/ryan griffis)
Chicago really only has two seasons—winter and summer. Both seasons can bring extreme temperatures, but as soon as the sun comes out, Chicagoans waste no time in taking advantage of non-frosty weather.
Here are a few fave local activities for outdoor adventures on semi-sunny days.
This secluded nature preserve offers some of the best views of the city’s famous skyline. Catching the lights from the buildings sparkle across Burnham Harbor at night is a special treat. Northerly Island is actually a peninsula located just south of the Adler Planetarium. The island is divided into a park with a wide path for biking and jogging, a pond and fishing and play areas. The northern tip houses the First Merit Bank Pavilion, which hosts popular concerts in a beautiful natural setting. Head here for an escape from the busy city pace.
In Chicago, we love our sports teams and we love our lake. As soon as the last snowflake melts, hoards of locals flock to the lakefront. Stretching 18 miles, from one end of the city to the other, the Lakefront Trail is one of the best ways to spend a sunny afternoon. Beaches, gardens, parks and concession stands line the trail so you can embark on a stroll through many neighborhoods and scenes, all with the lake as a glistening backdrop.
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Lincoln Park Zoo
One of the country’s oldest and one of the few free zoos left, Lincoln Park Zoo is a year-round fave but the sun attracts an even bigger crowd of eager visitors. Stroll the 35 acres and take in the penguin cove, the swan pond, waterfowl lagoon or the Macaque Forest. If you want to connect with the critters, visit the lion house, reptile house and center for African Apes.
Kayak the Chicago River
I’m not a fan of touching the slimy residue of the Chicago River but if you don’t mind a few splashes, kayaking is a popular way to take in the lakefront. Kayak Chicago offers a range of tours. Waterfinders and Urban Kayaks also supply rentals and tours.