by: Jo Montgomery
There are many reasons Chicago is one of the most loved and most-visited cities in the United States. Its magnificent architecture, rich history, amazing food, music, theater, museums, and schools are just a few of them. But there’s another delightful and picturesque draw – the city’s countless green and open spaces. Well, maybe not countless. Chicago actually has over 580 parks and 8,300 acres of green spaces. As a matter-of-fact, the official motto of Chicago is Urbs in horto, Latin for “City in a garden”.
For all these reasons, you can imagine that year-round, Chicagoans thoroughly enjoy their parks. They never seem to get enough of their beaches, walking paths, bike paths, ice rinks, playgrounds, gardens, and fountains. That’s why we placed Windsor luxury apartment communities in all of Chicago’s sweet spots. We have three communities that are within walking distance to many of these green treasures. You could say they are literally the back yards of our Chicago properties. The good news is, we don’t have to mow them.
This park was known for years as Hudson Park, because of its proximity to adjacent Hudson Street. It wasn’t until 1979 that it was renamed to honor John R. Durso, a neighborhood resident with a long history of service to the Near North community. Durso earned this honor through his ongoing devotion to the needs of underprivileged children. He sponsored many activities including the local scouting program. Today, these 1.48 acres are an active community park that features a playground and basketball courts. Not only is this park lovely, but it has a strong sense of community and a big heart.
Also located in the River North neighborhood, in the Near North Side community area, is Ward Park. This 3.10-acre tract stretches along the picturesque and breezy north branch of the Chicago River. Because of its amazing location, the park’s plan showcases the Chicago River. Its river walk promenade features shade trees and benches that offer spectacular views of the water and the skyline. The park also has a large playground and an adjacent dog-friendly area to keep all family members entertained. While there, be sure to visit the two striking works of art on the site, a mosaic wall near the river and a stainless-steel sculpture entitled “Commemorative Ground Ring”.
This small but idyllic park sits across the street from the Newberry Library in the Near North Community. Its well-manicured 2.85 acres feature a floral garden and fountain. A treasured and active park, it’s also a popular wedding ceremony location. History tells us that the donors named the site Washington Square, after a similar park located in an elegant New York City neighborhood.
Our Streeterville neighborhood property, Moment, located at 545 N. McClurg Court, has its own collection of acclaimed parks nearby.
This park will wow you! Riverwalk is an award-winning $108 million, 1.25-mile promenade along the south bank of the Chicago River downtown. And there are plans to make it more spectacular – extending it an additional 1.8 miles from Lake Street to Ping Tom Memorial Park in Chinatown. The entire walkway winds through four districts; The Confluence, The Arcade, The Civic, and the Esplanade. It takes full advantage of, and showcases, the Chicago River, a treasured natural amenity.
Ogden Plaza is a modest green space of 1.38 acres, in the Near North community – a quiet respite in a commercial area. This multi-leveled plaza, studded with trees surrounded by benches, has plenty of seating and creates a perfect place to enjoy a bag lunch or a morning coffee. The focal point of the plaza is a large outdoor sculpture titled “Floor Clock II”, created by internationally recognized artist Vito Acconci.
Nestled on the edge of Ohio Street Beach, and adjacent to the Near North Community, this park totals 4.31 acres and includes the neighboring Navy Pier. In 1996, it was officially redesignated the Jane Addams Memorial Park, honoring the world-renowned social reformer and Nobel Peace Prize winner. Addams, a Chicago resident, was a notable leader in the history of social work and women’s suffrage in the United States and advocated for world peace.
With so many parks to enjoy, don’t limit yourself to just the ones you can see from your apartment windows. Get out there and explore the more than 580 parks Chicago has created for you. Even if you choose to experience a new one every day, it will take you almost two years to see them all. You better get started!