4 Places to Enjoy a Scenic Run in Chicago
January 21, 2013

Running is a Breeze in the Windy City! Chicago is one of the top travel destinations in America for architecture-lovers, museums-goers and most of all, for foodies. Because of all the great restaurants and famous foods in the city to try while you’re here, it’s important to pack those running shoes so that you don’t pack on the pounds. Fortunately, there are tons of beautiful places to run in Chicago, making it one of the best things to do in Chicago when you’re looking to see the sights! Here are 5 of the best places for an enjoyable, scenic run in the Windy City.


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Running along the eastern edge of Grant Park and continuing along the Lake Michigan shoreline, the Chicago Lakefront provides 18 miles of scenic trail. If you go the distance, you’ll eventually pass the Navy Pier, Monroe Harbor, Museum of Science and Industry and many of Chicago’s beaches. This is the best trail for runners who really enjoy taking in the scenery, but don’t want to run through tons of crowded streets of people who are shopping, out to eat or dressed nicely. Chicago is a very active town, and you’ll find this path full of runners at every house of the day, but it never seems to get too crowded. Enjoy the clean air and open spaces that allow you to let loose, without skimping on the scenic views of famous Chicago attractions.

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This isn’t a real “running trail,” but that doesn’t stop travelers from lacing up their Nikes and hitting the urban streets of Downtown Chicago. Run the Loop and you’ll pass some of the top attractions in Chicago like The Art Institute of Chicago, the Theatre District, Millennium Park and Willis Tower to name a few. This run can take you past some of the places you’ll definitely want to see from the outside, and give you a great idea of where you want to come back to and spend some time at later. The Loop is 3.5 miles and bordered by the Chicago River and Lake Michigan, which provide beautiful views on their own!

Swissotel Chicago
For those of you looking for a great place to work out inside, you don’t have to sacrifice your sightseeing. From the penthouse fitness center at the Swissotel, you can enjoy the panoramic views of Lake Michigan, Navy Pier and the city skyline. This is one of the best hotels in Chicago when you’re looking for a great view from the gym or from your room, and if you’re visiting when the weather is blazing hot in the summer or icey cold in the winter, you might want to consider this hotel if you still want to get a workout in on vacation.


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This path isn’t nearly as common as many of the others. This quiet running trail begins at the corner of Caldwell and Devon Avenue and continues for about 20 miles. There is also a four mile loop around the Skokie Lagoons that makes for a nice run, or you can extend it a little more by tacking on trails in the Chicago Botanic Gardens. There is a separate six mile paved trail between Tower and Golf Road that make for a pleasant run. The further away from the city that you get, the more dense the green forestry becomes around you. There are many wildlife around this trail, including the peaceful birds, deer and rabbits you’re bound to see on your venture.

Chicago isn’t just about loading on the calories with all the delicious pizzas and beers, or at least it doesn’t have to be! There are plenty of chances to stay active in the city without sacrificing any of your sightseeing time!

This article was written by Lizz Riggs, editor of ChicagoTraveler.com.