Talk of The Town: August 2023

Sandy Shores & City Vibes…

From the Indiana border to the Wisconsin state line, Chicagoland residents have easy access to more than 60 miles of Lake Michigan waterfront, including more than 20 beaches right here in the city. So with National Beach Day coming up on August 30, we’re hitting the beach—with ideas on where to go and what to bring.

Beach Bliss: Find Your Perfect Lakeside Paradise!

Whether you seek relaxation, a lively atmosphere or serene nature, these top-notch beaches offer the perfect blend of sun, sand, and ambience to suit your preference, mood and style.

Looking for a fun family-friendly outing? Check out South Shore Beach at 7059 S. South Shore Drive. Once a private oasis for the former South Shore Country Club, this small beach is now usually pretty quiet. After spending time there, take the family for a walk around the South Shore Nature Sanctuary to see dunes, wetlands and prairies. At 600 N. Lake Shore Drive, Ohio Street Beach offers calm, shallow water—and if you get hungry, enjoy fine Mediterranean inspired fare at Caffe Oliva.

Active adventure seekers should head to Uptown where Montrose Beach, the city’s largest public beach, stretches all the way to Lawrence Avenue; it’s the only beach in Chicago where kiteboarding is permitted. Along with kayak and paddleboard rentals and a large dog beach at the north end, the nearby Montrose Point Bird Sanctuary attracts tens of thousands of migratory birds each spring and fall.Popular with many in the city’s LGBTQ community, Kathy Osterman Beach at the very north end of Lincoln Park is, aptly enough, named for the 48th Ward alderwoman who played a crucial role in the city’s 1988 Human Rights Ordinance that included LGBTQ individuals in its protections. Popularly called Hollywood Beach, you’ll find a fishing pier, beach volleyball courts, and terrific skyline views.

North Shore residents have many lakeside options, most of which also offer tickets for non-resident daily use. In Evanston, we love Lighthouse Beach at 2611 Sheridan Road. With the eponymous 150-year-old Grosse Pointe Lighthouse as its backdrop, this small family-friendly beach is next to Lawson Park which has a playground, lovely gardens, and picnic shelter. Farther north in Wilmette, Gillson Park offers a sandy swimming beach, sailing rentals and lessons, and tennis courts. The food concession at Gillson is operated by The Fat Shallot, a Chicago food truck company famed for their classy take on classic sandwiches.

Savor the Sun & Surf at These Beachside Dining Delights

Summer means al fresco dining and with National Beach Day coming up, that means sitting down to a meal or beverage with Lake Michigan’s cerulean expanse as your backdrop. Here are some of our favorite lakeside dining venues.

Waterfront Café | 6219 N. Sheridan Rd, Chicago: This hidden urban oasis on the grounds of Edgewater’s Berger Park features a welcoming open-air patio, a casual menu, and live music on its lakefront stage.

The Dock at Montrose Beach | 200 W. Montrose Harbor Dr, Chicago: After a day of sun and sand, enjoy classic American fare prepared with locally sourced produce and live music every evening at 7:00 PM.

Reggie’s On the Beach | 6259 S. Lake Shore Dr, Chicago: The beachside outpost of South Loop rock club Reggie’s is now open every day, weather permitting, at the historic 63rd Street Beach House. Enjoy frozen cocktails, casual bar food, and a laid-back ambiance.

The Shore Club | 1603 N. Lakeshore Dr, Chicago: The bright, open-air dining room of this casually sophisticated restaurant offers a calming retreat from the excitement of North Avenue Beach. Brunch and lunch/dinner menus both offer a wide selection of internationally-inspired dishes.

Five Beach Essentials

OK, you’ve got your bathing suit, sunscreen, beverage and beach read. Before you head out the door, check out these must-have accessories for a day at the beach.

Made from parachute nylon, the extra-large, 63-square-foot Beach Blanket from Seaview 180° is waterproof and sandproof. It features sand-anchored corner pockets to weigh it down and a front pocket for valuables.

Durable and lightweight, the SCOUT Picnic Cooler has a hard reinforced bottom so items don’t shift around and collapsible sides for easy storage. It’s leakproof, easy to clean, and holds 30 12-oz cans or 6 bottles of wine upright.

From Sport-Brella, the large 8-foot Canopy Umbrella has a UPF 50+ coating and side panels for added protection for wind-blown sand. It weighs just 9 pounds and comes with a carrying case plus tethers and ground stakes for added stability.

Protect your phone from overheating (and freezing in the winter) with the neoprene Phone Case from ClimateCase. It has 8 insulating layers to protect your phone from the elements—and preserve battery life.


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