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Gapers Block published from April 22, 2003 to Jan. 1, 2016. The site will remain up in archive form. Please visit Third Coast Review, a new site by several GB alumni.
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Monday, April 15

Gapers Block

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Benjy / April 7, 2004 11:11 AM

Lincoln Park -- walk out my building's front door and it's across the street. Can't beat that for conveneince. Plus, how many other city parks have monkeys and lions? Well, I guess Oz Park has a lion, but not a REAL lion!

sp / April 7, 2004 11:27 AM

The best kept secret in Chicago is the quiet stretch of park and beachfront in Rogers Park, stretching from Hollywood to Evanston, with very few interruptions. My favorite spot is at the end of Morse Avenue...a quiet place to walk with my dog.


Naz / April 7, 2004 11:31 AM

I don't know if that stretch is quite that quiet along Rogers Park. I lived there for three years and I never thought it was quiet. Maybe in the colder months but in the summer that stretch gets awfully crowded and loud - people playing boomboxes, playing craps, all sorts of stuff. Not a bad thing, mind you, but I've never heard it described as quiet.

In general, anywhere by the lake is quite excellent.

Any park with a swing is all good by me.

miss ellen / April 7, 2004 11:34 AM

Oh, there's so many. I grew up down in Beverly & I loved the tiny little neighborhood parks - Beverly, Munroe, Crescent Park, I spent many years whacking softballs and enjoying my youth....

Due to proximity & neighborhood love, in these days, I have to say Humboldt Park is really something - most people don't venture west enough, but this park is HUGE! It's got ponds, fishing, historic field house and boat house; plus the boulevard system running right through it. Yes, good stuff. Not as scary as it used to be, but a far cry from what it once was....

paul / April 7, 2004 12:49 PM

Lincoln Park has got to be one of the best city parks in the country.

My favorite park is actually just outside Chicago - the Northshore Sculpture Park. Running along McCormick from Dempster to Touhy, it's quiet, has a great bike path, that isn't bumper to bumper bike and rollerblade traffic like most lakeshore paths, and the sculptures are cool.

The path continues all along the North Shore Channel, from Green Bay down to almost Lawrence, at some points on both sides of the channel.

Andrew / April 7, 2004 12:56 PM

I like Berger Park, at Granville and Sheridan. Small, never too crowded and it has a nice little cafe during the warm months.

Jake / April 7, 2004 1:28 PM

I avoid nature.

But my dogs seemed to like Winnemac Park when we lived up there.

anne / April 7, 2004 1:51 PM

As far as somethin' for the doggies, I like Wiggly Field, but it's a shame it's mostly all asphalt. I like a dog park with some grass to roll around in (well, for the dog, mostly).

There's a nice stretch of shoreline just across (well, under, actually) LSD from Diversey Harbor that has a good cut stones for sitting, and equally good stones that the waves crash on. Makes me think the lake is an ocean from the sounds at least.

Audrey / April 7, 2004 2:45 PM

My favorite park in the city is the Osaka Japanese Gardens, located in Wooded Island in Jackson Park. It took two visits for me to finally find it (it's very secluded), but it was worth it once I did. It felt pretty authentic. There's a good chance you'll be the only one there unless there is a Japanese ceremony taking place.

The Garfield Park Observatory is also a favorite.

The Chicago Park District has a great website ( I couldn't believe how many parks are actually in this city.

Haydn / April 7, 2004 2:49 PM

Like boxers, this needs categories
I love Lincoln Park but I'm going to have to go with the meandering ways of Jackson Park. Beautiful beaches, the island, b'ball courts and golf courses and quiet areas to jog. Lots of playgrounds for the kids too. Honorable mention for McKinley Park.

Loyola Park's admittedly loud mix of beaches, piers, basketball courts, ad hoc soccer fields, bbqers winos and bosnians/caribbeans/aging eastern europeans jews/yuppies/kids.

The actual Rogers Park near Rockwell and Estes. Very underused and calm.

nameless / April 7, 2004 3:40 PM

that's easy. definitely Shabbona Park, but that's waaaaay on the northwest side on addison just east of harlem. it's huge! not to mention the background for many fond childhood memories. it's definitely my 'home' park, even now that I've grown and moved away from the ol' neighborhood, i still remember it as not-just-a-park, but THE place to do stuff/hangout. everyone in the neighborhood went to the dances there, played little league baseball or pop warner football, took swimming lessons and went to day camp there. ahhh, summer.

Dan Henrick / April 7, 2004 3:45 PM

Indian Boundary in Roger's Park for me. It was one of my favorite places as a kid. From what I was told, it was the old Native American boundary of what was recognized as Chicago territory. Huge playground forts for kids, a duck pond, a petting zoo, and only the occasional random shooting. Who could ask for more?

jen-jen / April 7, 2004 10:26 PM

omigosh. Shabbona Park. i spent the formative years of my life there! i was so surprised that someone else mentioned it. i had to second the vote. i did everything from theater and dance classes to working for the day camp there when i was in high school.
such memories!

eliina / April 7, 2004 11:56 PM

the puppy henry and i live just off of bryn mawr and clark, and in the off-season are loving our one-mile run that culminates in a seagull-chasing session at foster beach.

armaghetto / April 8, 2004 12:15 AM

Interesting, the puppy Jack & I live just off Bryn Mawr & Clark also.

'That Ian' / April 8, 2004 10:00 AM

GARFIELD! The Garfield Conservatory is amazing. I don't know if anyone has ever been there but it's awesome. They also had a Chihuly exhibit a while ago that I went for and it was amazing. So much fun!

Either that or I like to go up to the Botanic Gardens. Riding bikes up there is an amazing "date" in the summertime. Bring a picnic!

Ian / April 8, 2004 10:26 AM

When I'm not admiring the Tin Man in Oz Park, I liken the Lill Street Park.

miss ellen / April 8, 2004 12:05 PM

Garfield Park is amazing, especially the Conservatory! I saw the chihuly exhibit a bunch of times & I'm happy they were able to keep one of the pieces - the yellow lily pond, I believe.

parker / April 8, 2004 2:10 PM

Promontory Point, part of Burnham park along the lake in Hyde Park, gets my vote. It sticks out into the lake and offers great views of the Chicago skyline and has great swimming during the summer. It offers a perfect place to read or do homework or have a bbq. The beautiful limestone rocks that lead down to the water might be taken out by the park district, however - Save the point!

Arc / April 8, 2004 4:19 PM

I was a big fan of Meigs Field. Watching planes take off and land can be recreational, but unfortunately King Richard and his wife didn't agree. Whatever money they end up spending to turn it into their pet project, an artificial prairie park, it seems to be that every single dollar would be better spent maintaining and upgrading neighborhood parks instead.

brian / April 9, 2004 9:05 AM

It interesting to see how the demographics of this site play out in the parks we like. Lincoln, Hyde and Rogers Parks seem to be favorites.

My faves are probably still some of the south side parks - Rainbow Park is neat, as is the Midway (esp. at night).

My all-time favorite is McKinley Park on the Southwest Side. The huge huge trees in the fall. Douglas and Humboldt are neat for the same reason.

These days I'm hanging tight in Gompers Park. It's neat to see people picnicing, fishing in the tiny pond, and still get lots of wildlife down by the prairie.

Carol Wiiken / May 20, 2004 4:37 PM

Dear Sir:
I've heard of a great beach park at 31st & the Lake on the south side of Chicago. Could you tell me more about it. There is supposed to be a playground next to a sand beach. Are there any
toilets there. Please let me know. Kindest regards, Also what hours are this park open. Is there any parking in the area. CArol Wiiken

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