Best Parks and Green Spaces in Chicago’s Gold Coast

Mariano Park – 1031 N State St

This triangular plaza at the intersection of Rush St and State St boasts a variety of memorable elements: a large water feature, flower beds aplenty, concessions, and perhaps most notably, quintessential people watching. While the park itself provides a tranquil respite most urbanites crave, surrounding it on all sides are some of the most well-known restaurants the Gold Coast has to offer – Gibsons, Tavern on Rush, and LuxBar sit ready and waiting for you saunter over for a spell. A metropolitan oasis for all, Mariano Park is a timeless neighborhood staple. Kids, dogs, and city dwellers alike are happy to take a break at this small but charming Gold Coast spot.

Mariano Park is a popular plaza and park with year-round activities.

Goudy Square Park – 1249 Astor St

Spanning an entire city block, there is much to enjoy while walking along the brick paths in Goudy Park. Your furry friends are also welcome to enjoy the grounds, and if you’ve got little ones, the Goudy Square playlot provides a soft surface playground to keep their minds and feet busy. In true Gold Coast fashion, the park is also home to an iconic limestone turtle water fountain with a bronze fish spout, ensuring visitors of all ages stay hydrated.

The playlot was renovated in 2014 as part of Mayor Emanuel’s Chicago Plays! playground initiative, when 327 playgrounds across the city were built or renovated, ensuring every child in every neighborhood was within a 10-minute walk of a park or playground. Goudy Square Park was renovated with the community in mind, featuring open spaces for socializing with high visibility and surrounding benches. The history of this Astor St Park has been preserved, and it’s now as much a gathering place for neighbors as it is an urban oasis for children to enjoy. This Gold Coast gem is sure to top your list, no matter the season.

Goudy Square Park is located at 1249 N Astor St in the Gold Coast.

Washington Square Park – 901 N Clark St

As Chicago’s oldest existing small park, this stretch of green space is brimming with history. Designed in the 1800s to be a meeting place for community discussion, the park has fulfilled its purpose and then some. Gaining notoriety in the early 20th century, it became nationally-known as the premier destination for soapbox orators of all kinds (actors, writers, and political radicals). When the park’s fountain and other amenities were restored in the 1990s, an official memorial tablet was added to the landscape, reading ‘Chicago’s Premier Free Speech Forum’.

Today, Washington Square Park is a registered historic landmark. The grounds span almost 3 acres, and play host to stunning landscaping for community members and tourists to stroll through, or just rest and enjoy. The summer months are the best time to view the lush gardens, though the majestic view of the Newberry Library across the street greets you year-round.