New in July 2013: Montrose Beach offers free wifi for beach visitors.
This popular Uptown neighborhood beach located in Lincoln Park offers patrons many amenities. South of the recreational beach, a natural area attracts many migratory birds during the fall and spring seasons. A serene dune area hosts a rare “panne” habitat — a flat, wet and open sandy area — for birds. Endangered plant life thrives at this location.
Pay & display parking and street parking
The following public bus & train routes serve this beach:
Beach house and restrooms
- Life guard first aid station
Food and beverage
Water Sports and Recreation
9 AM - 5 PM
Chicago Surf's Shop
9 AM - 6 PM
10 AM - 7 PM
Windy City Watersports
Monday - Friday Noon - 7 PM Saturday and Sunday 10 AM - 7PM
Montrose Beach features an accessible beach walk, parking and restrooms.
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.
- Dogs are permitted only within the designated dog beach. Learn more about Chicago Park District Dog Friendly Areas.
- 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 the Wilson Avenue ramp and at the south end of Montrose Beach. For more information, go to the rules page and download information on Lake Michigan water trails.
- Kiteboarding is permitted at Montrose Beach.
Lincoln Park is one of Chicago’s oldest and largest parks. Surprisingly, more than 1,000 acres of this park and its beaches are completely made from landfill.
By 1929, Lincoln Park had 300 acres of landfill extending as far north as Irving Park Road. The Lincoln Park Commissioners had intended to keep landfill operations moving northbound, but work slowed because of the Depression.
In 1934, all of Chicago’s 22 separate park commissions were consolidated into the Chicago Park District. With extensive funding available through Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal, the Park District began many park improvements, including the Montrose to Foster landfill extension.
The plan for the extension included several buildings designed by E.V. Buchsbaum, including the beach house at Montrose Beach. Modeled after the beach house at North Avenue, the building looks like a lake steamer.
In the 1950s, the east wing of the beach house burned in a fire and was not rebuilt. Instead, the Park District constructed an open-air changing addition to the south side of the building. Today, the beach house is still in existence and is used by beach-goers.