10 of the Best Outdoor Sights in Chicagoland

The sun is shining a little bit brighter. The days are getting longer. Green grass and fresh flowers are starting to blossom. The signs are all there — yes, spring is returning to Chicagoland at long last!

After a cold and blustery winter, many people can’t wait to get outside and go exploring. What could be a better way to spend a beautiful day than by taking in some equally beautiful outdoor sights?

Whether you want a prime view of the city or a spot where you can soak up the wonders of nature, here are ten Chicagoland spots perfect for enjoying the view when the weather gets warm:

Take in the Sights of Millennium Park

Some places earn their “icon” status for a reason. Millennium Park, located in the heart of the Loop, is a world-famous destination for tourists and locals alike, and it’s easy to see why. A visit to this park offers unbeatable views of the city’s legendary skyscrapers, as well as the chance to marvel at Cloud Gate, a striking art installation that’s also known simply as “The Bean.” Throughout the year, Millennium Park is also a prime spot to go ice skating, to take in a concert or an al fresco film, or to wander through lovely gardens and green spaces.

Enjoy Views From the 606

From an abandoned rail line, to one of the most stunning and convenient walking trails in all of Chicagoland. That’s the story of the 606 trail, a 2.7-mile long elevated park offering green space, biking and walking paths, and public art on the west side of the city. Stretching from Wicker Park all the way to Humboldt Park, the 606 is a modern marvel of engineering. It’s a great place to head whether you’re looking for views of the city, or to escape into nature.

Rediscover Nature at the Morton Arboretum

The Morton Arboretum’s mission is to “plant and protect trees for a greener, healthier, and more beautiful world.” Pay a visit to this 1700-acre living museum in Lisle, and you’ll immediately get a sense of what “beautiful” truly means. The arboretum is home to more than 222,000 live plants from all around the world. It’s a great place to go bird watching or hiking, or to simply gaze up and marvel at the wonders of nature.

Marvel at the Baha’i House of Worship

Located in Wilmette, the Baha’i House of Worship for North America has stood for more than 75 years as a “quiet and safe space to go inward and revitalize your sense of purpose in the world.” Featuring a stunning white domed structure, surrounded by tranquil gardens and fountains, the Baha’i temple is quite unlike anything else you’ll find in Chicagoland. In fact, it’s one of just ten structures of its kind in the world. Visit this site for a peaceful day wandering the immaculate grounds, or head to the Welcome Center to begin exploring the interior of the temple.

Spend a Day at Arlington International Racecourse

“And they’re off!” You’ll likely hear that phrase a lot at Arlington International Racecourse, as announcers and fans of horse racing excitedly cheer on a new set of galloping thoroughbreds. Often known simply as “Arlington Park,” this racecourse in Arlington Heights is known as much for its incredible architecture and winning grounds as it is for the exciting action hurtling along on the track. From the green fields, to the towering stands, to the blue lagoon at the center of it all, this an exhilarating outdoor view you won’t find anywhere else in Chicagoland.

Enjoy the Incredible Murals of Pilsen

The city of Chicago has long been a haven for artists and activists. The streets of Chicago’s Pilsen neighborhood are a great testament to the artistic communities who have called the city home over the years. Full of sprawling murals and gorgeous street art, Pilsen is a great place to spend the day, hopping from one delicious local food spot to another, while drinking in all the inspiring local art you’ll come across along the way.

Take in the Skyline from Promontory Point

The Chicago skyline is one of the most iconic cityscapes in the world — and one of the very best places to get a glimpse is from this Hyde Park hangout. A naturalistic green space jutting out from Burnham Park, Promontory Point offers a panoramic view of the city of Chicago in all its glory. By day, you can see the skyscrapers of the Loop and River North stand tall against a crystal clear blue sky. By night, you’ll see those same structures glitter and sparkle like stars.

Go Wild at Starved Rock State Park

LaSalle County is home to Starved Rock State Park, which contains some of the most beautiful natural vistas you’ll find anywhere in the country. Boasting 13 miles of trails, excursions on the Illinois River, and unmatched views of stunning waterfalls and unique rock formations, Starved Rock has been called one of the best attractions in Illinois. Once you experience the park’s gorgeous natural sights in person, it’s easy to see why so many visitors flock to it all year round.

Savor the Grounds of the Chicago Botanic Garden

The Chicago Botanic Garden is nestled in Glencoe. But when you set foot into this rich environment, carefully cultivated with more than 27 gardens and four distinct natural areas, you’ll feel like you’ve been whisked away to another world entirely. Featuring stunning flowers and plants from all over the world, gorgeous shoreline walks, and lovely, one-of-a-kind architecture — including a musical carillon tower — the Botanic Garden is the sort of wonderful, rejuvenating spot you’ll find yourself wanting to escape to again and again.

Go Back in Time at the Fabyan Windmill

No visit to Geneva or Batavia would be complete without a stroll around the grounds of the Fabyan Windmill, an authentic Dutch windmill painstakingly constructed right here in Kane County. During the winter months, the hills around the windmill are a popular spot for sledding. And when spring and summer roll around, you’ll find plenty of locals setting up picnics or enjoying a nature walk in the area around the windmill, which also offers easy access to the beautiful banks of the Fox River.

Baird & Warner Has Been Helping Families Discover Chicagoland Since 1855

At Baird & Warner, we’re all about connecting people with the best things to see, do, and experience around Chicagoland. After all, we’ve been a part of this community since since 1855. We get you. 

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