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Best running routes in Chicago

Known for it´s beautiful architecture and vibrant city life. We also want to point out some of the best running routes in Chicago

Chicago Lakefront Trail

Possibly the finest running route in all of Chicago, this 18-mile path stretches alongside the lake shoreline. It offers plenty of places to stop off including restrooms and water stops. There are also many beautiful landmarks to see such as Soldier Field, North Avenue Beach and Navy Pier along the way. Back in 1836 the aim was to make this a public ground forever. For that reason there are no buildings or obstacles blocking the views. In 2017 plans were started to create separate lanes for pedestrians and cyclists to avoid accidents.

The 606, or Bloomingdale Trail

This route was once a railway line which served the thriving manufacturing district. These days this 2.7-mile elevated trail connects the western Chicago neighborhoods of Wicker Park, Humboldt Park, Bucktown, and Logan Square. Start your run at the easternmost point in Ashland Avenue. and Marshfield Avenue. and head west until you reach the Ridgeway Trailhead. The Exelon Observatory hosts monthly events for stargazers here. Also watch out for all the artwork along the route. These include murals and sculptures like Brick House, which resembles an enormous snake made entirely from tires and steel.

North Branch Trail

During busy times like summer or a fall day when the lakefront’s full of marathon-training groups, be sure to head northwest for a change of scenery. You can park up at any one of the lots here and then follow this shady, mostly flat route through wooded areas. The route ends up in Glencoe and the beautiful Chicago Botanic Garden. If at you feel tired at any point, hire a $7/hour bike rental and cycle back.

Waterfall Glen Forest Preserve

For those runners looking for more of a challenge than the other easier flat routes, head out of town to this spot. Nicknamed Big Bertha, this is a 9.5-mile loop in Darien, a 25-mile drive from downtown Chicago. A trail race is also held here each Summer called the Waterfall Glen Xtreme 10.

Grant Park

This park was modeled after the gardens at Versailles and runs between Michigan Avenue and the Museum Campus. It´s quite a sensation to run through these trees and paths and is a change in scenery from the Lakefront Trail. Highlights along the way the Buckingham Fountain as well as other sculptures and monuments. The northwest section of the park houses Millennium Park and the Art Institute of Chicago. A loop including the main paths of Grant Park is approximately 3 miles. Running the perimeter of Millennium Park will add another mile.

The Loop

This run includes a number of Chicago’s most impressive buildings. It should be said that this route isn’t really designed for running and there aren’t any designated running paths. For amateurs looking for a scenic jog however this is a fantastic route and one of the best running routes in Chicago. The best time to do it is first thing in the morning or in the evening to avoid the crowds.

North Shore

There are some great routes in this part of the city. These include some beautiful parks and residential neighborhoods. One route follows the North Shore Classic Half Marathon course which incorporates the Highland Park neighborhood. Your run will take in a number of classic, tree-lined streets made famous in movies. Many of these are John Hughes productions such as Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, Sixteen Candles and The Breakfast Club. The loop follows a counter-clockwise loop of the North Shore area.