No visit to Chicago would be complete without an afternoon spent at one of the city’s well-maintained urban oasis. Within the city limits, there are more than 570 individual parks. In this post we’ve chosen to flush the most family-friendly one: Lincoln Park. With the help of our local Knok Scouts, we’ve put together this insider’s guide to Chicago’s most popular green space:

While most Chicago locals are unaware of this fact, the area known as Lincoln Park was actually the site of a small pox hospital and cemetery up until the late 1960’s. Over the years the area has been developed into the Lake View Township, and is now the official front yard for most of the city’s North Side.

Inside Lincoln Park’s over 3 sq mile area you’ll find a surprising amount of variety, unparalleled among the city’s other parks. While just strolling through the ample green space is a pleasure in of itself, you don’t want to miss out on all the hidden treasures in the park…

For starters, the Sydney R. Marovitz Golf Course, situated next to Lake Michigan has something for both golf-pros and amateurs of the family. The young ones will love the miniature golf course where you can have a fun-filled afternoon on the 18-hole course. The older children will get a kick out of practicing on the driving range at Diversey Parkway.  

Next up on the list of attractions inside the park is Theater on the Lake, located at Fullerton Parkway. This historic Theater on the Lake building is where popular top-class acting groups have been performing during the summer months for over 62 years. (They’ve recently decided to renovate the historic theatre and open up a year-round program of shows, so look online to find the schedule.)

Also along the Fullerton Parkway, you won’t want to miss the Lincoln Park Conservatory—a wonderful (and free) display of flowers and plant life that is a great opportunity to teach the children about the beautiful world of fauna and flora.  

Next on the list of exploration is the Zoo. Lincoln Park Zoo is also free to enter, and lays about 3 miles north of the Loop. Great for all ages—from bears to tree lizards, aardvarks to egrets, newts to giraffes—every visitor is bound to see something that will make them smile with awe!

Another unforgettable activity inside the park is a stroll alongside the lagoon, with countless wild birds and beasts to admire, boaters, cyclists, and runners looping through the cool and shaded area—it’s the perfect place for a picnic on a summer’s day.

Last but not least is Chicago History Museum, which offers a great tour of the city for those who’d like to dig a little deeper into the fascinating story of Chicago. Plus, this summer make sure to check out the kid-friendly Hot Dog Fest!

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If you enjoyed reading this post, definitely check out our family travel guide with even more parks to explore in Chicago!