Bodies of Water in Chicago

THE 5 BEST Chicago Bodies of Water

Bodies of Water in Chicago

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Nature & Parks
Nature & Parks
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8 places sorted by traveler favorites
  • Things to do ranked using Tripadvisor data including reviews, ratings, photos, and popularity.

What travelers are saying

  • Justin C
    Marquette, MI1 contribution
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    I really loved this cruise, you could see all of the buildings so well and the warm weather and sun made it the perfect afternoon activity.
    Written April 24, 2024
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
  • yuanwai
    Chicago, IL223 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    A Frank Lloyd Wright inspired garden, in the middle of the city, by the lake. Just a fantastic place to visit and sit around. One of the quintessential part of Chicago!
    Written June 6, 2022
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
  • Irina
    United States13,231 contributions
    4.0 of 5 bubbles
    Visiting Lincoln Park, we also stopped at South Pond there -- a 5-acre, modest-looking, pretty pond originally designed in 1835 by Swain Nelson -- a Swedish born American landscape architect. In 2009, the pond has been restored and became an ecological habitat for wildlife: ducks, geese, seagulls, frogs, fish, turtles.

    An important part of the South Pond site is the Nature Boardwalk, that loops around the pond, and has access points, info boards, benches, observation platforms, and also paved paths, that run around the perimeter of the pond. Besides being open to some nice scenic views around, the boardwalk also serves as an educational site to learn about nature and the city.

    Since we visited the site in winter, there were not many birds there, other than two strong, imposing Canada Geese, swimming in the pond, and sometimes curiously casting a cautious glance at the visitors.

    South Pond is located in the area of Lincoln Park Zoo, and is nicely landscaped with grass, elms, maples and other big trees around the pond. There are wetland plants, verge and prairie plants, making the pond area even more beautiful in summer, I'm sure.

    The views of the city skyline from the pond area are very attractive, too, and parking is available in the zoo lot, or at North Ave and Stockton Drive. There's also public transportation to get to the area. Lovely, peaceful place.
    Written February 21, 2024
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
  • Taylor B
    Chicago, IL8,228 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Bubbly Creek is the nickname given to the South Fork of the South Branch of the Chicago River that was made famous--or infamous--in 1906 when author Upton Sinclair wrote an unflattering portrait of America's meatpacking industry in his best-selling book The Jungle. At the time, as Sinclair so dramatically pointed out, all the drainage, waste, blood and entrails from the square mile of the meat packing houses near Chicago's Union Stockyards emptied into Bubbly Creek, turning it into a great open sewer. It originates near 38th Street, at the Racine Avenue Pump Station of the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago, then flows in a generally northward direction for about 6,600 feet before joining with the South Branch of the Chicago River. It marks the boundary between the Bridgeport and McKinley Park communities. Why Bubbly Creek? As Sinclair pointed out, the grease and filth and chemicals and carbonic gases that bubbled out of the riverbed from the decomposition of blood and entrails underwent all sorts of strange transformations. Today, the creek is largely stagnant and has been designated for recreational use. The Chicago Maritime Museum, which memorializes Chicago's river and maritime heritage, is located on 35th Street adjacent to Bubbly Creek.
    Written December 13, 2019
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
  • ImmerWandern
    Palos Park, IL10,333 contributions
    4.0 of 5 bubbles
    This was our first visit here. We had read of the abundance of waterfowl at Wolf Lake. Most of the lake was frozen over and, at first glance, there did not seem to be much to see. Canada geese grazed on the scant winter grass by the visitors’ center. We drove north past the boat ramp, past the railroad tracks and onto the the elevated roadway along the Illinois-Indiana border to the edge of the. Wolf Lake Industrial Center. We passed several hunting blinds along the way; waterfowl hunting takes place during the fall. There was a fairly large opening in the ice where we spotted a couple of Canada geese, a few Common Goldeneyes and a pair of Mute swans. Then we noticed that the south end of Wolf Lake was had an even larger area of open water that was teeming with birds.

    We drove back all the way to the southernmost parking lot. The open water was still quite a distance from where we stood, and the required the use of spotting scopes, binoculars or powerful zoom lenses to view the waterfowl. There were two species of swans, the common Mute swan (orange bills) and the Trumpeter swan (black bills). There were Canada geese, Herring gulls, and we also spotted a Bald eagle gliding in lazy circles high in the sky. Several duck species spotted: Mallard, Common mergansers, Redhead, Canvasback, Common goldeneye. There were several other birdwatchers with us on the edge of the lake taking in those views.

    This is a state recreational area. Boating and fishing are popular warm-weather activities, apparently. Ice-fishing is possible during winter; there was nobody out on the ice during our visit. The fish found in Wolf Lake include largemouth bass, northern pike, bluegill, redear sunfish, crappie, bullhead, carp, walleye, hybrid muskie, and yellow perch. Hunting, as mentioned, takes place in the fall. Of course there are hiking trails.

    We will definitely be back in a few months when the spring migration is in full swing.
    Written February 27, 2022
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
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