Making the Most of Chicago’s Lakefront Trail from the Gold Coast Neighborhood

An estimated 30,000 people take to Chicago’s Lakefront Trail every single day. Whether it’s running, cycling, or just plain people-watching, there’s a multitude of activities one can enjoy along the 18.5 mile-long, uninterrupted waterfront pathway. One of the best perks of living in Chicago’s Gold Coast neighborhood is having direct lakefront access, having the best of natural scenery and urban skyline views. The Division Street underpass or the Bellevue/Lake Shore Drive underpass are easy ways to access the path and popular beaches like Oak Street Beach, Ohio Street Beach to the south and North Avenue beach to the north.

Starting below Hyde Park at the South Cultural Center and stretching all the way up north to Edgewater’s Foster Beach, the Lakefront Trail is a dazzling crown jewel of our fair city. Chicago has always valued its recreational assets, and work has recently been completed regarding two major improvements along the trail.

The Navy Pier Flyover Project

In 2018, a project that separated the pathway into two distinct lanes for its cyclists and pedestrians was completed, easing the flow of traffic. As of this year, the Navy Pier Flyover is finally at completion. Devised as a solution to the extreme bottleneck stemming from traffic lights and congestion around Grand Avenue, the Flyover is an elevated path for walking and biking along the trail that provides a much safer and scenic alternative for visitors. More than seven years after breaking ground, we can now all enjoy the delights of outstretched arms and a 16’ wide pathway.

Recreation on the Lakefront Trail

For those looking for recreational opportunities, you can find everything from renting a bike through the Divvy app to renting a paddle board by the hour from the many beach-front vendors. In the spring and summer, the trail hosts 5k races like the Stans Donut Run and the Lincoln Park Zoo Annual Run. Looking to get your race registration covered? Residents of Gild, a Gold Coast apartment building managed by Reside Living, receive free registration for any 5k race via the Reside Athletics program.

Sightseeing on the Lakefront Trail

Additionally, the Lakefront Trail offers some sightseeing as well. Many Chicago gems greet you along the way: the Museum of Science and Industry, Soldier Field, and one of the top entertainment destinations in the entire Midwest – the dog-friendly Navy Pier. Buckingham Fountain splashes in the (very close) distance, and downtown Chicago can be seen showing off its spectacular skyscrapers from many angles and many miles along the route.

Pets on the Lakefront Trail

So really, what’s not to like? Even our furry friends receive special treatment just off the trail, at the dog beach at Montrose Avenue – a magical, sandy respite for canines and their owners alike. Additionally, the Lakefront Trail in its entirety is welcome to pets on leashes. Shoreline Sightseeing boat tours and water taxis also welcome pets aboard their cruises. Don’t have a dog? Just try and walk by Montrose without a smile creeping on your face. We dare you.