Chicago: Downtown & Central

Chicago Lakefront Path

The 18-mile Lakefront Trail is one of the most spectacular urban runs in the country. This route has it all: gorgeous views of Lake Michigan and the Chicago skyline, urban beaches, marinas, and beautiful parks, passing by some of the city’s famous cultural institutions.

We have divided the Lakefront Trail into Three Sections. There are mile markers along the entire path. Note that access from Lakeshore Dr. is at specific intersections – underground tunnels in some cases. There are ongoing improvements to make separate paths for bicycles & pedestrians.

North. The northern section of the trail starts off at Hollywood Ave. near Foster Beach, and runs south all the way to 71st St. near Rainbow Beach Park in South Chicago. This section is less crowded, a little more bucolic, and features a gravel running path.

Middle. The middle section parallels the heart of downtown and the Magnificent Mile, and includes sights such as Navy Pier, Grant Park, the Museum Campus, and Soldier Field. The path here is concrete and the trail can be crowded on a nice day.

South. South of Museum Campus is the Convention Center area, while the final four miles feature great views and access to the University of Chicago and Hyde Park.

Video Highlights: Lakeshore Path, Chicago River, Downtown (21 min.)




  • Up to 18 miles, but several sections and loop options. Northern end: Brywn Mawr Ave. at Montrose Beach. Southern end: South Shore Cultural Center
  • Flat
  • Any point along path
  • Accessible from downtown - see trail info for tunnels crossing Shore Drive. Northern end L station: Bryn Mawr