River North is a landmark in Chicago which is famous for its stylish art galleries and energetic nightlife. With so much to do, it can be hard to find a place to switch off and recharge in nature.
Look no further, Northerly Island Park is the perfect afternoon getaway where you can escape from the urban jungle and enjoy Chicago’s natural beauty. This serene oasis offers a breath of fresh air, stunning views and activities for everyone.
Nestled along Lake Michigan’s shoreline, this park helps to preserve Chicago’s environment and provides a natural retreat, right in the heart of the city.
Keep reading to find out more about this hidden gem…
What is Northerly Island Park?
Northerly Island Park is a 119.7-acre park on a man-made peninsula along the Lake Michigan shoreline in the River North district.
It was envisioned in 1909 by famous architect Daniel H. Burnham to be the northernmost point in a series of man-made islands, yet it was the only island to be completed.
It wasn’t until 1966 when Daniel H. Burnham’s vision became reality, thanks to Mayor Richard J. Daley who transformed the island into the environmental space it is today.
This urban sanctuary contrasts against the impressive Chicago skyline and breathes life into the city, allowing locals and tourists a piece of serenity.
What is there to do at Northerly Island Park?
Northerly Island Park has something for everyone. Whether you enjoy hiking through the wilderness, dancing at concerts, lounging on the beach or devouring authentic Mexican tacos, this park has it all!
Here are some of our favorite things to do:
Huntington Bank Pavilion
The Huntington Bank Pavilion is an outdoor amphitheater with a capacity of 30,000 which hosts various music concerts. It has stunning views of Lake Michigan, Burnham Harbor, Soldier Field and the Chicago skyline.
One of the park’s best assets is its Natural Area, which consists of a prairie and savanna landscape, a 5-acre pond and strolling paths. This is the perfect place to observe birds and native wildlife. The park also offers year-round outdoor and environmental programs to bring together the local community.
Northerly Island Nature Play Space
If you’re visiting with the family, bring your children to the Northerly Island Nature Play Space for hands-on, imaginative play!
12th Street Beach
If you’re visiting on a particularly hot day, be sure to bring a swimsuit and sun cream as you lounge on 12th Street Beach and enjoy a dip in Lake Michigan.
Del Campo’s Tacos
If you’re feeling peckish, head to Del Campo’s Tacos for the tastiest Mexican street food to enjoy by the water.
For those who want an out-of-this-world experience, head to the Doane Observatory at Adler’s Planetarium. The telescope is the largest available to the public in Chicago, meaning you can view celestial objects from trillions of miles away!
Join their Facebook group to find out when they host observation experiences.
When can you visit?
Park opening hours are 6 am to 11 pm each day. The Fieldhouse is open from 10 am to 4 pm on weekdays and is closed on Saturdays and Sundays.
Where is Northerly Island Park?
Northerly Island Park is located at:
1521 S. Linn White Dr.
Chicago, IL 60605
How to get there from Freehand Chicago
Getting from Freehand Chicago hotel in River North to Northerly Island Park is a breeze – just a 13-minute drive away. If you prefer public transportation, you can reach it in about 22 minutes by taking a combination of train and bus.