Running is a great way to get fit and stay healthy. In addition to being fun, running also helps improve your cardiovascular health and endurance.
The benefits of running include improved fitness, reduced stress levels, increased energy, and better sleep quality.
Chicago has some of the best running routes and pathways in the country.
Whether you want to run along Lake Michigan or through the city streets, these are the best running routes and paths in Chicago, IL. Check out our top picks below.
The Lakefront Trail runs from North Avenue Beach on the north end all the way down to Oak Street Beach on the south end. It’s one of the most popular running routes in Chicago, Illinois.
The trail offers beautiful views of Lake Michigan and it’s perfect if you’re looking for a long-distance route. You can cover as much as 12 miles along this scenic trail.
Lincoln Park Lagoon
This is an excellent lake-side running route that will take you past many parks and lakeside attractions such as the Art Institute of Chicago and Buckingham Fountain.
You’ll pass by the Museum Campus and Millennium Park before reaching the lagoon. There are plenty of benches and rest stops where you can stop and stretch your legs during your run.
Lake Shore Drive
Lake Shore Drive is a major road that circles the shoreline of Lake Michigan.
It connects downtown Chicago with several suburbs including Evanston, Wilmette, Kenilworth, Winnetka, Glencoe, Highland Park, etc.
If you’re looking for a challenging but scenic running route, then Lake Shore Drive should be at the top of your list. You can run along the lakefront, go up the cliffs, or even run around the lake.
Millennium Park is located near the heart of downtown Chicago. It was designed by world-renowned architect Daniel Burnham and opened its doors in 2004.
Millennium Park is home to the famous Cloud Gate sculpture which is made up of stainless steel and bronze.
The park also features the Jay Pritzker Pavilion which hosts various concerts throughout the year.
Fullerton Avenue is a street that runs east-west through the heart of Little Italy. It’s known for its Italian restaurants, bakeries, bars, and boutiques.
There are two main sections of Fullerton Avenue: East Fullerton Avenue and West Fullerton Avenue. Both offer plenty of places to eat, shop, and relax after your long run.
Navy Pier is a pier that stretches over Lake Michigan into the Chicago River. It’s one of Chicago’s most popular tourist destinations.
There are lots of things to do at Navy Pier like riding the Ferris wheel, watching live music performances, eating deep dish pizza, going shopping, etc.
Grant Park is a public park in Downtown Chicago.
It’s often referred to as America’s living room because there are so many people who enjoy sitting in the park and spending time together with their friends, family members, and pets.
This is also the location of the annual Lollapalooza Music Festival each summer. If you’re looking for a place to train while enjoying some great music, then Grant Park is the best option.
606 Trail is a paved rail-trail that follows the old Milwaukee Road right-of-way. It’s part of the larger Green Bay to Chicago Bike Route.
The trail goes all the way from Humboldt Park in the north to Jefferson Park in the south. Along the way, you’ll see open fields, woods, bike paths, and beautiful homes.
The trail is mostly flat and perfect if you’re just getting started with walking or jogging. But if you’re already somewhat fit, it’s also completely doable. Don’t forget to bring your swimsuit!
If you only have time to visit one section of the 606 Trail, make sure its the west loop. It’s a great trail with tons of new stuff to discover.
The west loop starts about two miles west of the main entrance of the trail at Montrose and Kedzie.
You will pass by popular restaurants, bars, shops, and the Art Institute among other cool places.
Burnham Harborwalk is an 8-mile path that wraps around much of the perimeter of Lake Michigan in Chicago, Illinois.
You can walk, jog, or ride your bicycle along the entire path, which takes anywhere between 30 minutes to 2 hours, depending on how fast you want to walk/jog/ride.
North Avenue Beach
North Avenue Beach is located near the intersection of Belmont Avenue and North Avenue in Chicago, Illinois.
There are several volleyball courts, basketball hoops, swings, sandboxes, water fountains, picnic tables, grills, bathrooms, shelters, and even a small lighthouse.
Running With Your Phone
Not all of us have an armband to keep our phone safe, leaving many of us to ask: how to run with phone without armband? Well, if you’re running with your phone without an armband, it’s best to keep it in a safe location where it won’t fall out and break while you’re running.
One of the easiest ways to keep it safe is to put it in a zipped pocket. Alternatively, you could put it in the front pocket of a rucksack or fanny pack. If you don’t have either of these, you could pop it into your sports bra. But this can get your phone pretty sweaty which can lead to damage.
Is Chicago A Good City For Running?
Yes! Chicago is blessed with lots of green spaces, beautiful waterways, and pristine sandy beaches making it ideal for hikers, runners, and cyclists.
There are dozens of trails to keep you busy and you’ll see lots of cool landmarks along the way. Use our handy list above to find the best Chicago running trail for you.
Chicago is a big city and these are just some of the best running routes and paths in the city. But there are so many more. Chicago is truly a wonderful place for running trails.
With so many options available, there’s bound to be a trail close to where you’re staying. Running is a great workout and it’s free too. So go out and explore.