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Recreational Activities in Chicago

Players enjoy a game of sixteen-inch softball in one of the many city parks.Three cyclists enjoy a stunning view of Chicago's skyline from the lakefront path.

Whether you're a serious athlete or just looking to have some fun, there's an activity for you to participate in while you're in Chicago.  Left: Players enjoy a game of sixteen-inch softball in one of the many city parks. Right: Cyclists enjoy a stunning view of Chicago's skyline from the 18-mile lakefront path.


Chicago is one of the most bicycle-friendly cities in the country, with more than 100 miles of bike lanes, 50 miles of bike paths and 10,000 bike racks, more than any other city in the United States.

Bicycles are permitted on Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) trains and the CTA’s 2,000 buses are equipped with bike racks. Biking along Chicago’s 18-mile lakefront path on a clear summer day is a never-to-be-forgotten experience.

Bring your bike to Chicago, or rent one at the McDonald’s Cycle Center in Millennium Park where you can park and get your bike repaired or even take a shower.

The Active Transportation Alliance (formerly known as the Chicagoland Bicycle Federation) and Bike Chicago offer downloadable maps and information on biking events, while Bike Chicago Rentals and Tours and Bobby’s Bike Hike offer tours and rentals. Visit the Tours section of our website for additional information on bike tours.


The lakefront also attracts thousands of walkers and runners. Each year, Chicago hosts more than 150 organized bike rides, walks and runs, including:

    * The internationally known Bank of America Chicago Marathon, one of the world’s largest, with 45,000 participants;
    * Bike the Drive, a one-of-a-kind, non-competitive bike ride along a car-free Lake Shore Drive;
    * The Accenture Chicago Triathalon, held annually in August.

Swimming, Canoeing and Kayaking

If swimming or sunbathing is your thing, we have 33 Lake Michigan beaches spread along 26 miles of Lakefront. The one at Oak Street is just a short walk from hotels on the Magnificent Mile. You can ride a boat on Lake Michigan or paddle the Chicago River in a rented canoe or kayak.


Sixteen-inch softball, played without gloves, using a ball the size of a large grapefruit, was invented in Chicago. You can see it played in parks across the city every summer.

Public Parks

Chicago’s 552 public parks are year-round playgrounds with athletic fields, basketball courts, indoor and outdoor tennis courts, fitness centers, swimming pools, ice rinks and eight golf courses.
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