I don’t believe when Frank Sinatra sang his classic, My Kind of Town (Chicago is), he ever thought about Chicago as a beach town. I know I never have, but after a recent trip to Chicago this past summer that changed. Yes, Chicago has a few beaches, good beaches. I know I was surprised too.
Staying at the Drake Hotel, a place up to Sinatra standards, I noticed one of the attractions listed was “closest hotel to Oak Beach Street.” A Beach an attraction? Lake Michigan beaches are a draw… a draw for guests of the Drake Hotel? In the Gold Coast neighborhood, I could see – close to the John Hancock Center, the Magnificent Mile, and others, but a beach? I needed to visit.
Oak Street Beach
On a sunny summer Friday, I walked the underpass to the beachfront. My initial thought – WOW. I know so profound, but I was shocked. I really was. The crowds were already there and growing, and eventually, I found the bar starting to fill up by mid-day. The beach a scene, the sand soft and the water swimmable all surprised me. I spent my afternoon there, and even returned the next day. Chicago suddenly became my kind of beach town.
How to get to the Beach?
It’s hard to miss it; beaches line big parts of the lake, but I only visited the Oak Street entrance and if you can find your way to the John Hancock Observatory or the legendary Drake Hotel on Michigan Ave, the beach is just a few minute walk from there.
Besides the fact a visit will change the way you feel about Chicago, you will most likely enjoy yourself. First off, it’s a scene for those wanting to usher in a summer weekend with a fiesta feel, but I also noticed families of all ages enjoying the small waves and refreshing water.
Of course, I still don’t believe a beach holiday is a reason to visit Chicago, but it certainly is a way to spend a day in the windy city when the weather is warm and the cubs aren’t playing an afternoon game at Wrigley.
Stay adventurous, Craig