Tourism: Parks & Recreation

View Central Lake View Parks & Recreation in a larger map


There is certainly no shortage of greenery within Central Lake View’s boundaries. Numerous small parks maintained by the Chicago Park District are scattered among the neighborhood blocks, featuring playground equipment and as many trees, grass, and gardens as can fit within their confines. If you want to work out, the 18-mile lakefront path is a mecca for cyclists and runners. Along the way you’ll see some of our 33 beaches, plus tennis courts, athletic fields and one of the eight Chicago Park District golf courses. In-line skating, sailing, miniature golf, bowling, and every other type of recreational activity are readily available in Lake View!


Sydney R. Marovitz Golf Course (Waveland Golf Course)
3600 N. Recreation Dr. @ Addison  |  312.245.0909
Also known as Waveland Golf Course, this 9-hole, par 36 course is right on the lakefront between Addison and Montrose. Marovitz’s nine fairways are mostly long and narrow with slight dog-legs. The course is nicely manicured, however, so even if you don’t hit the ball off the tee like Tiger Woods, you’ll still be able to find your ball and try to save par. The lake and city skyline views are pretty incredible.

Parking is free and ample south of the course near the tennis courts, though it’s a bit of a walk to the starter building. Nine holes will run you $14 on weekdays and $16 on weekends. Twilight fees are $8 for walk-ups only. Advance tee times are made via automated phone system which requires a credit card payment. No refunds are available, but they do take rain checks. And if you get rained out, you can always walk down to the Diversey Driving Range.

Diversey Driving Range & Miniature Golf
141 W. Diversey  |  312.742.7929
Diversey Driving Range is quite possibly Chicagoland’s most picturesque range. Located just North of Diversey Harbor, this practice facility is an urban retreat. After work, weekends, or whenever you want to get some practice in, remember that Diversey Driving Range is only a few blocks away. Bring the kids and play a round of mini-golf after you finish your bucket.

Diversey Miniature Golf offers an 18-hole miniature golf course nestled in the park, with easy access to public transportation. Put your skills to the test while meandering through cascading waterfalls and quaint footbridges. Guaranteed fun for a family outing, after-school activity, a first date, or just a little something different to do with a bunch of friends. It’s perfect game for people of all ages and skill levels to enjoy while soaking up a little sunshine and getting some fresh air!
Open Daily – Call for Hours

Bill Jarvis Migratory Bird Sanctuary
East of 3600 N. Lake Shore Dr.  |  312.742.PLAY (7529)
Bill Jarvis Migratory Bird Sanctuary offers eight acres of dedicated bird habitat in Lincoln Park, just east of the totem pole near Addison Street.

Belmont Harbor
3600 N. Recreation Dr.  |  312.742.7673
Nestled on the Lake Michigan shoreline is Lake View’s beautiful Belmont Harbor. There are 730 docks, mooring cans and star docks. Transient docking is available, we suggest calling for reservations any time after May 15th. Belmont Harbor has a fuel dock facility, with gas and diesel fuels. The Ship’s Store, located in the Harbor Building, offers refreshments, apparel, and boating supplies. Additionally, there is mast stepping/unstepping capability at the Harbor Building (reservations are required). Waste pump-out equipment is available on a no-charge basis. Chicago Yacht Club (Belmont Station) and the Belmont Yacht Club are located at Belmont Harbor.

Belmont Yacht Club
3600 N. Recreation Dr.  |  773.871.4424
Located at the North end of Belmont Harbor in Lake View, the Belmont Yacht Club was founded in 1973 by boating enthusiasts who share a common interest and passion for recreational boating, both power and sail. You are always welcome to drop by the club ship and say hello. Being an unstaffed club, there may not always be someone aboard to show you around, but if there is we would be happy to show off our club ship to visitors. Don’t be shy…we are a club full of people that love life, not pretense. If you see someone onboard, come on down and say hi; or to arrange a visit, call us and we will be happy to “meet you at the club.”

Sailing on Lake Michigan
Rainbow Fleet Sailing Program – Chicago Park District  |  312.745.1700

Adult Sailing Program
Adult sailing lessons are provided at Burnham Harbor from May 26th – August 31st. Group lessons are taught on the Colgate 26’ Keelboats in group format. All lesson sets provide a total of three (3 hour) classes scheduled Wednesday through Sunday.

Youth Sailing
Youth sailing camps run from June 9th – August 29th. Lessons are taught on Pico and 420 sailing dinghies. All lessons are full day (9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.), scheduled Monday through Friday. Lessons are provided at Burnham Harbor.

Saturday Racing Clinics
Intermediate and advanced students who desire to learn how to race can now participate in racing clinic sessions. Nince sessions are offered, held on Saturday mornings at the Burnham Harbor Rainbow building from 9 AM until Noon. The cost of each individual session is $30.00. Students will receive a $15.00 discount when pre-payment is made for three consecutive lessons. The entire 9 series sessions can be prepaid at a special cost of $200.00.

Southport Lanes & Billiards
3325 N. Southport  |  773.472.6600
A bowling and billiard establishment that boasts one of only ten hand-set bowling alleys in the country. The renovation of the private party room updated the facility, while still keeping the original vintage features and charm intact. The private room houses four bowling lanes, a pool table, buffet area and ample seating.
Monday – Friday 5:30pm to 2am, Saturday 12:00pm to 3:00am, Sunday 12:00pm to 1:00am

Weisman Playlot Park
901 W. Oakdale

Weisman Park is one of many playgrounds developed by the City of Chicago just after World War II. In 1949, the city purchased its site on Oakdale Avenue in the Lake View neighborhood using Playground Bond Funds. By 1950, the Bureau of Parks and Recreation had installed a spray pool, a sand box, and playground equipment. The city transferred the park to the Chicago Park District in 1959, along with more than 250 other properties. The playground was updated in the early 1990s.

Known for several decades as Oakdale Park for the adjacent street, the park was renamed for local resident Albert Weisman (1915—1974) in 1983. A native of St. Louis and a journalist by trade, Weisman spent 18 years as head of public relations for Chicago advertising firm Foote, Cone, and Belding before becoming the University of Chicago’s Director of Public Affairs. He was a member of the Lincoln Park Zoological Society Board of Directors and a Trustee of Columbia College, where he taught urban politics. Patriotically-inclined, Weisman may have been best known as the founder of the Wellington-Oakdale Old Glory Marching Society Memorial Day Parades, where “everyone marches, nobody watches.” A public drinking fountain in Lincoln Park is also dedicated in his honor.

Martin Playlot Park
922 W. Fletcher

The Chicago Park District acquired this park in the mid-1970s, through a property exchange with the Jewel Foods Corporation, which sought to build a grocery store on a playlot located on the next block. The park district soon developed a plan, and improved the site with attractive border plantings and a playground that included a “trailblazer slide;” three “Rodeo Rockies;” and a “Castle Climber.” In the spring of 1990, the park was upgraded with new plantings, ornamental iron fencing, and a soft surface playground featuring a redwood play structure. Later that year, the park was officially named in honor of Johnny Martin, a four-year veteran of the Chicago Police Force slain in the line of duty. Known for his dedication to the youth of the community, Martin spent many off-duty hours with area teens, providing an alternative to gang activity.

Wendt Playlot Park
667 W. Roscoe

Known for years as Roscoe Park for the street on which it is located, Wendt Park was among numerous neighborhood parks established by the City of Chicago in the years following World War II. The city purchased the Roscoe Street site in 1952 to serve the recreational needs of the densely-populated Lake View community. Shortly thereafter, the Bureau of Parks and Recreation developed the site as a playlot, transferring it to the Chicago Park District in 1959. The park was thoroughly rehabilitated thirty years later.

In 1983, the park district renamed the park in honor of Cook County Circuit Court Judge Kenneth R. Wendt (1910-1982). A resident of Chicago’s north side for his entire life, Judge Wendt was educated at St. Vincent’s School, DePaul Academy, and Marquette University. After a brief stint on the Chicago Cardinals professional football team, Wendt returned to school to obtain a law degree from John Marshall Law School. He served as a state representative from 1952 until 1962, when he was elected to the Cook County bench. He presided over the Narcotics Court, and later served on the Criminal Court. Nationally known for his expertise in narcotics law, he sometimes prompted controversy with his lenient sentences, often for first-time offenders.

Kenmore Playlot Park
3141 N. Kenmore

Kenmore Park is one of many small parks created by the Bureau of Parks and Recreation to meet the growing recreational demands of post-World War II Chicago. After identifying this .14-acre site Lake View neighborhood site in 1954, the city acquired the property using Playground Bond Funds and installed playground equipment and a half-basketball court. Following its practice of the time, the city named the park for the adjacent street. Kenmore Avenue takes its name from the Fredericksburg, Virginia, home of Colonel Fielding Lewis (1725-c.1782), the husband of George Washington’s sister, Betty.

The city transferred Kenmore Park to the Chicago Park District in 1959. In the late 1980s, teenagers and adults playing basketball routinely disturbed neighbors and drove younger children from the park. Therefore, the park district removed the half-court and original playground equipment and installed a new soft surface playground with swingsets and climbing apparatus, devoting the park entirely to young children.

Gill Park
825 W. Sheridan Rd.  |  312.742.7802

Gill Park honors Lake View resident Joseph L. Gill (1886—1972), a Chicago Park District Commissioner, and local Democratic party leader. Gill served as 46th Ward Democratic Committeeman for more than 60 years. He was chairman of the Democratic County Central Committee from 1950 to 1953, and is said to have engineered Richard J. Daley’s first nomination for mayor in 1955. Gill served the public in various capacities, including as controller of the Forest Preserve District beginning in 1919, as Illinois state representative from 1926 to 1930, and as clerk of the Municipal Court for most of the subsequent three decades. In 1960, Mayor Daley appointed Gill to the Chicago Park District Board of Commissioners. Gill was serving as park district vice president at the time of his death in 1972.

Two years before, the park district had decided to establish a recreational facility on West Sheridan Road in the densely-populated Lake View neighborhood. By 1972, the site had been acquired with the help of funding from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, and plans had been developed for a multi-story fieldhouse with a swimming pool, a gymnasium, and an assembly hall. Neighbors refer to the impressive structure as the “highrise fieldhouse.” The park district installed a new soft surface playground at Gill Park in 1991.

Evergreen Playlot Park
631 W. Belmont  |  312.742.7802

The City of Chicago acquired this property in 1958 and transferred it to the Chicago Park District the following year. Officially designated Evergreen Park in 1973, the site was one of several parks named for trees and plants at this time. The name “evergreen” is a general term used to describe trees that keep their foliage year round. Evergreens are commonly thought to be synonymous with conifers (cone-bearing trees). In fact, some conifers lose their leaves in winter, and many tropical trees, including palms, are evergreens. Among the most fabled of the evergreens are the coastal and sierra redwoods. The coastal redwood, which grows in the fog belt along the Pacific coast from southern Oregon to Central California, can grow to a towering height of 360 feet. The slightly shorter sierra redwood or giant sequoia can live to be 3,000 years old. The earth’s largest living thing is a giant sequoia known as General Sherman. The massive California evergreen stands 295 feet tall and measures 110 feet in diameter.

Juniper Playlot Park
3652 N. Greenview

Before the creation of Juniper Park, the surrounding section of the Lake View neighborhood had suffered from a shortage of parkland. In 1973, the Chicago Park District acquired the park property from the Waveland Avenue Congregational Church, designating it Juniper Park shortly thereafter. Juniper Park was one of a number of properties the park district named for trees and plants at this time. Junipers are small, pyramid-shaped evergreen trees or shrubs. Male junipers produce cones, while female junipers produce berries that supply winter food for birds. The wood of the juniper is sometimes used to line clothes closets, both because it has a pleasant odor and because it repels moths.

Kelly Playlot Park
3800 N. Seminary  |  312.742.7802

The City of Chicago created this long, narrow park in the Lake View neighborhood in 1979, dedicating it as Kelly Park the following year.The park honors neighborhood resident Private First Class John H. Kelly (?-1944), who was killed in action in France during World War II.

The Chicago Park District began leasing the three-block-long site in 1991, as part of a complex land swap with the city.Four years later, the park district improved the greenspace by constructing a new soft surface playground.

Telcser Park
3200 N. Lake Shore Drive  |  312.742.7726

It might not Lake View’s largest green space, but it can certainly claim to have one of the most beautiful locations. With Belmont harbor and Lake Michigan a stone’s throw away, Telcser Park offers vibrantly-colored flowers, a handsome historic statue, easy CTA access, and endless fresh breezes gently blowing in off the lake.

Sheil Park
3505 N. Southport  |  312.742.7826

The inside of Sheil Park rivals the hustle and bustle of Southport Avenue where it’s located. The park, featuring a fieldhouse building and an adjacent playground, keeps Lake View residents healthy and active with affordable, quality indoor programs and fun, family events.

Sheil Park is known among parents for its fun and imaginative early childhood programs. A variety of classes engage preschoolers as young as six months in active play that emphasizes motor skill development and socialization skills. Whether it’s toddler camp, storytime, little tykes tumbling or kids in the kitchen, there is a class for every youngster, some requiring an accompanying parent, others not.

Many residents are drawn to Sheil Park for its established theatre program, which introduces youth, teens and adults to the world of acting, directing and producing. Classes range from basic acting, to more specialized areas of improvisation, set design and scriptwriting. Sheil Park prepares its students for real live productions held each season, where they can demonstrate their craft.

Residents also choose Sheil Park for fitness, including aerobics, yoga and circuit classes, as well as open gym times. Others like to take it easy, joining a teen or senior club.

South Lake View Playground Park
1300 W. Wolfram

In the mid-1960s, the South Lake View Neighbors Association began to push for a playground in their crowded community. In 1966, the Chicago Park District agreed to create a new park at the corner of North Lakewood Avenue and West Wolfram Street. Using both city Park Improvement Bond funds and U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development grant funds, the park district purchased the property two years later. Before long, the new park was equipped with basketball and volleyball courts, playground apparatus, a sand box, and a spray pool. In 1969, the park district recognized residents’ efforts by naming the site South Lake View Park. Subsequent improvements include a 1993 playground rehabilitation

Merryman Playlot Park
3736 N. Marshfield

Many of Chicago’s neighborhoods experienced tremendous population surges during the post-World War II period. The Bureau of Parks and Recreation responded by creating new playlots and parks in congested areas throughout the city. By 1950, the city had begun constructing 20 new parks and identifying 30 potential sites for additional parks. One of the proposed sites was within the then overcrowded Lake View neighborhood on Chicago’s north side. Condemning and acquiring less than one fifth of an acre in 1951, the city installed playground equipment, a sandbox, and plantings. The city named the park to honor Theron W. Merryman (1897- -1967), who had recently resigned after serving nearly a decade as 45th ward alderman. A veteran of World War I, Merryman was a sanitary engineer by profession and had served as president of the National Association of Master Plumbers of the United States in Chicago.

In 1959, the city transferred Merryman Park to the Chicago Park District along with more than 250 other properties. After upgrading the playground equipment in the 1960s, the park district undertook major park improvements in 1982. In 1990, Merryman Park received a new soft surface playground.

Wieboldt Playlot Park
1747 W. Nelson  |  312.742.7785

History In 1973, the Chicago Park District began creating a small park in the North Center community, at the urging of the Lake View Citizen’s Council. Using funds from the Illinois Department of Conservation’s Open Space Lands Acquisition Program and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, the park district purchased a vacant lot on West Nelson Street. Within a few years, the park district had improved the property with an asphalt-surfaced playground. Further upgrades came in 1989, with the installation of a tree-edged, soft-surface playground. In 2000, the Ravenswood/Lake View Historical Society requested that this park be named in honor of William A. Wieboldt (1857-1954), founder of an extensive chain of neighborhood department stores. One of its flagship stores, located at the corner of Lincoln and Belmont Avenues, stood less than two blocks from the park site. It was in the Lincoln Belmont store that Wieboldt maintained his office for many years. Born near Cuxhaven, Germany, in 1857, Wieboldt came to Chicago at the age of 14. In 1883, Wieboldt and his wife, Anna Louisa Kruger, used $2,600 in savings to open a general store on Indiana Avenue (now Grand Avenue), near Ashland Avenue. This was the first establishment in what would become a 13-store chain covering the entire Chicago area. Using profits from his successful neighborhood stores, Wieboldt established a philanthropic foundation in 1921. His initial gift of $5 million was a considerable endowment at the time, and Chicago’s charitable, civic, and educational organizations have reaped the benefits ever since.

Chi Che Wang Playlot Park
1762 W. Diversey  |  312.742.7785

In 2000, the Chicago Plan Commission approved the creation of a residential planned development in the Paulina Ave. Corridor, an area that had previously been a manufacturing district.Two years later, the Chicago Park District began acquiring a 1.72 acre site in the development to create a park for the new community. By 2006, laborers “cleaned and greened“the site which included removing industrial debris, planting lawn and trees and fencing the new park.Chicago Park District planners are currently working with the local community to design and plan for future development of the site.Construction on this next phase is expected to take place in 2009.

In 2004, the Chicago Park District Board of Commissioners named the new park in honor of Chi Che Wang (1894 – 1979), an important scientist and teacher who participated in many civic efforts in Chicago.Born in Soochow, China, Chi Che was sent to America by her parents to obtain a good education.She received a bachelor’s degree from WesleyCollege in 1914, and came to Chicago to attend the University of Chicago, where she received a Master’s degree in chemistry in 1916 and a Ph.D. in nutrition and chemistry in 1918.Soon after her arrival, Chi Che helped found the Chicago Chinese Women’s Club, a group with which she remained active for a decade.After teaching for several years at the University of Chicago, she became a department head conducting medical research for Michael Reese Hospital.Due to the importance of her work, she was elected as a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in 1922.

Between 1931 and 1940, Chi Che Wang lived in Cincinatti where she continued her research on children’s metabolism.She returned to Chicago to work as a research chemist for the Northwestern Yeast Company.In 1943, she accepted a position as assistant professor of physiology at the Northwestern University Medical School.In this position, she specialized in the study of nephrosis in children, and her research headquarters were at Children’s Memorial Hospital.Several years later, she left Chicago again to work for the Mayo Clinic, but returned to the area several years later when she accepted a position with the Hines Veterans Administration Hospital.Among many civic efforts in which she participated, Chi Che Wang provided clinical laboratory demonstrations for the Woman’s World’s Fair in Chicago.Chi Che Wang conducted important work from her research headquarters at Children’s MemorialHospital, which is less than two miles from the new park.

Lincoln Park

Lincoln Park stretches along the lakefront from Ardmore Avenue (in Edgewater) south to North Avenue. The park contains a zoo, an outdoor theatre, a rowing canal, the Chicago History Museum, the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum, ponds, playing fields, and a large statue of General Grant.

Lincoln Park began as a small public cemetery on the northernmost boundary of Chicago where victims of cholera and small pox were buried in shallow lakeside graves. Aware of the public health threat, citizens began demanding the cemetery’s conversion to parkland in the 1850s. In 1860, the city reserved a 60-acre unused section as Lake Park. Shortly after the assassination of Abraham Lincoln (1809-65), 16th President of the United States, the park was renamed in his honor. The city allocated $10,000 for improvements, and nurseryman Swain Nelson created and implemented the park’s first plan. An early donation of mute swans marked the beginnings of the Lincoln Park Zoo.

Citizens argued for the removal of the remaining burial ground. This contributed to a larger parks movement, and in 1869, the state legislature created three park districts: the South, West, and Lincoln Park Commissions, each responsible for the parks and boulevards in its region. Under the direction of the Lincoln Park Commission, bodies were exhumed and relocated to other cemeteries, and the park was expanded south to North Avenue and north to Diversey Parkway. Severe winter storms in 1885 resulted in the construction of a breakwater system which included the first of many landfill projects extending Lincoln Park’s boundaries.

The independent park commissions were consolidated into the Chicago Park District in 1934, and Lincoln Park was expanded north to Foster Avenue. A final expansion in the 1950s brought the park to its current size of 1,208 acres. Throughout Lincoln Park’s history, renowned artists, landscape designers, and architects contributed to its development. These included sculptor Augustus-Saint Gaudens, landscape designers Ossian Cole Simonds and Alfred Caldwell, and architects Joseph Lyman Silsbee and Dwight H. Perkins.