VIDEO: A Day at Chicago's Oak Street Beach

Think Chicago's not a beach town? Think again.

Share This
Rooms & Guests×

Oak Street Beach, an oval of golden sand snuggled between vast Lake Michigan and hectic Lake Shore Drive, is the closest beach to the best shopping, dining and outdoor recreation the Windy City has to offer.

But this little piece of beach heaven, which sits south of Division Street and north of Oak Street, didn't always exist – it emerged in the late 1800s as a build-up of sand after a shipping pier was built nearby.

And what a lucky coincidence for city-dwellers: By the 1920s, it was already a top spot to cool off and enjoy the summer sun.

Midwest Beach Appeal

Oak Street Beach has a lot going for it. First, there are the incredible skyline views, including those of famous buildings like the imposing Hancock Tower and the classic Drake Hotel. A steady stream of active types - some on bikes, some on skates and others walking or jogging - flows through the 18-mile-long multi-use trail bordering this beach and others along the lakefront.

As for the water, it's pretty chilly most of the time, but the temperature is tolerable in the late summer months and excellent for a quick dip or some impromptu wading.

Check out our video of a day at Oak Street Beach and get a taste of what this beach has to offer.

Stay for a Bite, Stay the Night

Believe or not, there are some affordable hotels within walking distance of the beach. Late summer rates at the Thompson Hotel are hovering around $170; rates at the Raffaello Hotel drop to $146 a night in early September, when the humidity and long summer daylight hours haven't yet let up. For the same date range, you'll only pay $130 a night at the Millennium Knickerbocker Hotel. For select dates in August and September, the Residence Inn Chicago Downtown has rooms for $189 a night.

Put dining on your Chicago to-do list – this is a major food city, after all. The Capital Grille and Volare get high marks, but Chicago residents flock to everyday favorites like Emilio's Tapas and Giordano's.

Though Chicago's summer beach season is winding down, there are still a few weeks to make it to the city before the autumn winds start blowing in. Check out our Chicago flight and hotel deals.

Tampa Guide: What to Do, See and Eat

It's replete with world-class art, museums and dining, not to mention well-preserved historical sites and popular beaches and parks. No wonder more than 20 million people visited the area in 2016.

Plan Your Miami Vacation Around These Fabulous Annual Events

Join locals and head to some of these annual events, a diverse collection of activities and celebrations for all tastes.

Why Should I Choose a Vacation Rental Over a Hotel?

A hotel should not always be your default go-to for a trip. Depending on how much privacy and space you want, a vacation rental might be the better choice.

Why Fall Is Hands-down the Best Season to Take Your Dream Beach Vacation

The shoulder season offers more availability, fewer crowds, and best of all, cheaper flights and lodging rates.

These Florida Towns Will Remind You of the Caribbean

For most, a beach vacation on a Caribbean island is a no-brainer. There's nothing quite as strong as the allure of palm trees, aquamarine water and colorful architecture — not to mention a more relaxed pace of life. But before you commit to a destination in the West Indies (and the long trek that invariably comes with it), consider these easy-to-reach Florida escapes with a host of Caribbean-inspired characteristics, from gin-clear waters to brightly colored façades. Rosemary Beach  Photo: Visit South Walton A walkable village featuring distinctly West Indian architecture and a medley of bouti...

Is Hawaii Safe for Travel Right Now? Tourism Authority Says Yes

Only a remote part of the eastern side of the Big Island is affected by the recent flow of lava, officials said in a press release dated May 5.