You swore you’d come out of hibernation (sweatpants, Law & Order reruns) when the spring weather finally hit. Well, it’s officially time to walk the walk. Literally. Now that the days are longer–and about 20 degrees warmer–it’s time to revisit that thing called the great outdoors. So walk, or run, to these beautiful local trails.
BEST FOR RESTAURANT HOPPING: THE 606
This is Chicago: We can walk and have a progressive dinner at the same time. The elevated 606 trail crosses over restaurant-heavy ’hoods like Wicker Park and Logan Square. Hop off at different access points to see what’s on the local menu. Or keep it simple and head straight to Costa Rican restaurant Irazu (on Milwaukee Ave.). Two words: oatmeal milkshake.
BEST FOR A WORKOUT: THE CHICAGO LAKEFRONT TRAIL
You don’t have time to stop and smell the roses today. (We’ll get to that later.) If you want a quick, calorie-torching walk, head to the lakeside trail. There will be bikers and skaters whizzing by, so your hustle will be in good company.
BEST FOR STRESS RELIEF: NATURE BOARDWALK AT THE LINCOLN PARK ZOO
Save this idyllic trail for lazy days. You’ll spot butterflies and wildflowers, and–though you’re still in the city–feel about
a million miles away from downtown. And reality. We always half expect to see Disney princesses talking to frogs at the pond.
BEST FOR BOATERS: SKOKIE LAGOONS
Sure, you can walk along this trail–and it’s a lovely walk, with paved and unpaved trails covering seven miles of wooded ground. But when there’s a network of pools and islands to explore, we say grab a rowboat and a paddle.
BEST FOR PICNICS: NORTH SHORE CHANNEL TRAIL
The Evanston trail winds through so many picturesque parks, you’ll have to stop for a rosé break somewhere. And there’s perhaps no more perfect spot to pop the cork than at the flowery, verdant Ladd Arboretum.
BEST FOR BIRD WATCHING: MIDDLEFORK SAVANNA
In the midst of the Lake County Forest Preserves, the savanna sprawls out over 670 acres of wetlands, woodlands and prairies. Bring your binoculars–and keep your ears open for birdsong. Egrets, sparrows, ducks and warblers will keep you company.