I’m participating in a virtual running journey link-up thanks to Danielle from LiveRunGrow.com. Be sure to check out all the great places to run, and feel free to add your own, just send Danielle your link!
I’ve been in Chicago for a little over a year now, and I have to say, it’s probably my favorite city to run in. There’s little that can bother your when you’re running along Lake Michigan with sun shining down on you.
Recently there have been some new urban trails that have opened up in Chicago, but they all take a bit for me to get to, so I haven’t run on them yet. Even when I do, the trail that will always have my heart will be the Lakefront Trail.
How to Get There & Some Sights Along the Way
The Lakefront trail runs for 18 miles from south Chicago north along Lake Michigan. If you’re anywhere in Chicago, the easiest way to get to the trail is to just head East. If you don’t know which way way East is, look for where buildings stop… That’s the lake!
There are a couple of good entry points onto the trail:
- Buckingham Fountain – Across the street from one of the harbors is a large fountain in Grant Park that serves as a gateway to the trail. There are also a number of drinking fountains I this area.
- Museum Campus – Entering the trail at the top of the Museum Campus means you get to run around the Shedd Aquarium, and even enjoy some spray from waves crashing against the wall. There are a couple of drinking fountains and several food stands in the area too.
- Soldier Field – Soldier Field is one of the coolest sights along the lakefront trail. It’s an incredible building, and sits next to Sledding Hill for some killer hill repeats. From this point south, the trail is much more solitary. You get to run through some nature preserves, and will share the trail with lots of families, bikers, and geese. Lots of geese.
- Ohio Street Beach/Navy Pier – This part of the trail gets very crowded and crosses a few streets under a bridge, so your Garmin will not be happy. But it’s a good entry point from Michigan Ave and many of the hotels where you might stay in a visit. It’s also a great beach!
- Oak Street Beach – This is another high traffic area due to its popularity, and proximity to the shopping areas of Michigan Ave. There’s a big beach restaurant, a few drinking fountains, and lots of benches where you can stretch out before or after your run.
- North Ave Beach – Notice the theme here? What’s better than a run that ends at the beach? There’s a great lighthouse point you can run out to, and real bathrooms!
Where to Refuel
Chicago is one of the best food cities in the world. But when you’ve just finished a long, hot run, there are only a few places you can really count on.
- Do-Rite Donuts – I’m obsessed with this place. Mostly because they have vegan donuts, but also because they’re small, Chicago based, and simply amazing. Their Streeterville location also has fried chicken. And they have awesome small batch coffee.
- The Protein Bar – This is one of my go-to spots. They have fabulous fresh pressed juices and tons of options for smoothies (including egg and plant based protein, almond, soy and coconut milk options). Their BarRitos are a delicious and healthier option than other quick food options, I’m a sucker for the Vegan Original with avocado. I also love their Baja salad with vegan cheese.
- Eggy’s Diner – This place is packed every weekend. Their home fries are to die for and they have a ton of breakfast and brunch options. And milkshakes (I cannot attest to the deliciousness, but how can you go wrong?)!
- Meli Cafe – My personal fave brunch spot. Mostly because they have vegan pancakes. They are amazing. There are a couple of locations, and both always packed. It’s well worth the wait, though.
Chicago is an amazing running city, with tons of races from spring to fall, and even some chilly winter races to test your abilities!
Hope to see you along the trail!