Living in Southern California has definitely spoiled me in terms of the amount of beaches available on the coast and the amount of great weather available all year long. In Chicago, warm weather and beach space is limited, so when a sunny Saturday comes around the beaches along Lake Michigan become pretty crowded.
I definitely expected North Avenue Beach, to be busy as it is a popular spot however, North Avenue Beach is not just a busy beach but a party beach.
Things To Know About North Avenue Beach:
- The beach is located in downtown Chicago along Lake Shore Drive.
- While my friends who were born and raised in Southern California like to argue that a true beach is located on an ocean, North Avenue Beach is in fact a beach even though it is located on Lake Michigan(which is still very beautiful and enjoyable to swim in).
- Besides making new friends among the beachgoers or simply people watching along the beach, other activities at North Avenue Beach include biking along the trail, beach volleyball, stand up paddle boarding, kayaking, beach yoga, and music(On a sidenote, after leaving North Avenue Beach I discovered that DNCE, with lead singer Joe Jonas, were at North Avenue performing on the same day that I was there and I somehow missed it).
- Food options are pretty limited, which is disappointing, and I feel the lack of restaurants is definitely a missed opportunity because there are so many people at this beach. Located on the beach is Castaways Bar and Grill, which I would loosely label as a restaurant. Castaways has some burgers, wraps, ice cream, and smoothies. There is seating on the top, bathrooms, and a DJ(also this is where DNCE was performing). There are also hot dog and ice cream carts set up along the trail.
- Since North Avenue Beach is located on Lake Shore Drive, there are plenty of nice restaurants, hotels, shops, and other touristy things to do right across the street.
- North Avenue Beach is located at a point on Lake Michigan, however Lake Shore Drive goes along the lake so there are plenty of other spots to lay out and get into the water from without the massive crowd, however some spots have sand and some are just concrete sidewalk(I can already here my Southern California friends pointing out that concrete sidewalk next to a lake is definitely not a beach).
- Overall, North Avenue Beach is more a party spot(and people watching spot) than a place for families to relax, walk along the water, and build sandcastles. It can get crowded, noisy, and even a little rowdy at times but it does have great views of the Chicago skyline.