The 2013 swim season has ended. Please continue to enjoy Chicago's lakefront parkland until the beaches open for swimming again on May 23, 2014.
New in July 2013: North Avenue Beach offers free wifi for beach visitors.
One of Chicago's most popular beaches, North Avenue Beach features a unique beach house. This sleek, ocean liner-inspired building, decked out in a crisp blue and white, boasts one of the best views in the city. Permanently docked along the beach, the building contains 22,000 square feet. The beach house has upper decks and portholes for looking at the magnificent horizon or the multitudes of bikers, runners, walkers and rollerbladers streaming down the lakefront trail.
Parking lot with pay gate
The following public bus & train routes serve this beach:
Beach house and restrooms
- Life guard first aid station
Food and beverage
Castaways Bar & Grill
10 AM - 11 PM
One Stick Puppy
11 AM - 6 PM
Water Sports and Recreation
9 AM - 5 PM
7 AM - 7 PM
Clark Street Sports
11 AM - 7 PM
Monday - Friday 11AM - 7PM Saturday and Sunday 10 AM - 7 PM
10 AM - 7 PM
Monday - Thursday 9 AM - 10 PM Friday and Saturday 8 AM - 10:30 PM
8 AM - 10 PM
Please follow the rules while you’re at the beach:
- Swim only when lifeguards are on duty.
- Follow lifeguards’ instructions.
- Only Coast Guard approved flotation devices are permitted.
- No smoking.
- No alcohol.
- No dogs on the beach.
- Do not feed birds or wildlife.
- Dispose of trash and recycling in appropriate containers.
- Grill in designated areas only and dispose of coals in red barrels.
- Keep accessible beach walks clear. No bicycling, skateboarding or rollerblading is permitted in these areas.
- Access to the Lake Michigan Water Trail for sports such as kayaking, canoeing and other non-motorized board or paddle sports is allowed at North Avenue Beach inside the "hook" at the southern end of the beach. For more information, go to the rules page and download information on Lake Michigan water trails.
- Kiteboarding is not permitted at North Avenue Beach; kiteboarding is ONLY permitted at Montrose Beach.
In the late 1930s, a major landfill addition that stretched from Fullerton Avenue to North Avenue accounts for most of what is now the North Avenue Beach. Decades earlier, there was only a narrow paved beach that edged Lake Shore Drive in this area.
Construction began in 1939. The $1.25-million project included a major improvement to Lake Shore Drive, with grade separation providing a new overpass at North Avenue. The new North Avenue Beach totaled more than 875,000 square feet of new parkland and extended all the way to Fullerton Avenue.
As part of the plans, Chicago Park District architect Emanuel V. Buchsbaum designed a new Art Moderne-style North Avenue Beach House to emulate a lake ship. The North Avenue Beach and Beach House were dedicated in July of 1940.
Over time, the frame beach house became so deteriorated that it had to be demolished. The original building inspired the design of a similar (although somewhat larger) building composed of cast-in-place concrete designed by Wheeler Kearns Architects. It opened in 1999.
Over the years, Lincoln Park has grown through landfill extensions to more than 1,200 acres. The park began as a public cemetery in the 1830s. Recognizing that the lakeside burial ground posed a public health threat, early citizens rallied to transform the site into parkland. A 60-acre unused part of the burial ground was first designated as Lake Park in 1860, and five years later the city renamed the site as Lincoln Park, providing a substantial budget for improvements.
In 1934, the Lincoln Park Commission became part of the newly consolidated Chicago Park District and the new agency received substantial funding through President Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s New Deal. The completion of North Avenue Beach was one of many projects in Lincoln Park funded through the Works Progress Administration (WPA).
North Avenue Beach features an accessible beach walk, free wifi, parking and restrooms.