Chicago, North America

Lake Shore Trail (South of Adler Planetarium) – Chicago, IL

Exploring the Lake Shore Trail (South of Adler Planetarium)

On a breezy Sunday afternoon, walking, biking, and jogging along the lake shore isn’t uncommon for the people of Chicago.  Some of us, though?  We’re lazy.  I know I am.

Living in the third most popular city in America, it’s sometimes easy to take it for granted.  Having lived here my whole life (well, the surrounding suburbs), I haven’t been to a lot of destinations the city has to offer.  I’m on a mission to explore all 18 miles of the Lake Shore trail.

Starting the walk in the South Loop, I passed by Adler Planetarium and got my first taste of the intensity of the waves.  Dependent on the weather – or the moon, I guess – , waves won’t always be crazy but there were reportedly eight to ten feet waves during my adventure.

Adler Planetarium
Being near the water is so calming.  You’re able to look off into Lake Michigan’s horizon as if it’s the ocean.  Of course, it’s not.

The lake shore trail is mostly paved and it’s rather wide, so while you’re passing people along the way, you don’t feel congested and surrounded by others.


Along the path, there are a number of beaches.  I ended up walking down to Oakwood Beach, with a really cool perspective of the city’s skyline.  In addition, up north there’s the more popular Oak St. beach as well as North Avenue beach in Lincoln Park.

Oakwood Beach

Bird Sanctuaries

Along the trail, there are many birds to be seen.  Seagulls saturate the areas most frequently – those damn birds!  Seeing them flying high above, enjoying the fierce winds near the water makes me wish I had the same privilege.

Aside from seagulls, McCormick Bird Sanctuary is along the trail, with less annoying and more colorful birds.  I saw some kind of bluebird, and a yellow one along my walk.  Birds are cool.  If you’re interested in other locations to view birds, Lincoln Park has a great nature sanctuary.


These waves were serious!  Some people stood still on the boardwalk, letting the waves strike their feet.  At the beaches, children bravely ran right up to the water as it married the sand.  I didn’t want to get washed away, so I stayed a cautionary distance, but I almost got my camera wet a few times.

Biking Trail

Divvy bikes are readily available along the lake shore trail.  If you haven’t heard of Divvy, check it out!  It’s just another form of transportation in the city, and at only $10 for 24 hours, you can get a lot of use out of it.  I wish I’d rented one, because after three hours of walking, my dogs were barkin’!

People are able to walk, bike, and jog along the path.  If you’re biking, try not to bump into people!  The way some people walk, it’s hard to avoid.

Biking path, South Lake Shore

Sunrises & Sunsets

I timed the walk perfectly, because on the way home, I saw the sun set below the skyline.  One of these days, I’m going to have to get up early enough to capture the sunrise at the lake shore trail.

Sunset by the Sears Tower


The lake shore has so much to offer, from beaches to bird sanctuaries, bicycling paths to blue water.  When visiting Chicago, I think walking along the lake shore is a unique activity to do if time permits.  It’s not necessarily a “tourist destination,” and you’ll be able to engage in an activity that Chicagoans do year round.