Local Highlights

6 unique things to do in Lincoln Park, Chicago


Whether you’re visiting Chicago for the first time or the fifteenth, you’ll find more than a few incredible places to explore and things to do. But after hitting all the famed spots, like The Cloud Gate (aka The Bean), The Art Institute, and The Chicago Riverwalk, you may be wondering, what’s next?

Well, if you find yourself somewhere inside Lincoln Park’s 1,200 acres,1 you’re in luck. This breathtaking neighborhood offers a number of memorable activities—and we’re here to share them with you. 

Take a look at our list of six unique things to do in Lincoln Park, Chicago.

#1 Visit the Lincoln Park Zoo

The idea of visiting a zoo may not seem all that unique—but the fact that you can walk through the gates for free certainly is. In fact, the Lincoln Park Zoo remains the only privately managed, free zoo in the country.2

Start at the entrance, and work your way through all 200 species of animals and plants, from Japanese Macaques and aardvarks to African lions, zebras, and polar bears (oh my!).3 

#2 Spend an afternoon at North Avenue Beach

Beaches probably aren’t the first attraction that comes to mind when you think of Chicago, the Second City—and that’s exactly what makes North Avenue Beach so unique. If you’re looking for an unexpected beach-day location, this popular spot has tons to offer (aside from a sandy place to work on your tan), including:4

  • Volleyball courts
  • Views of Chicago’s impressive skyline
  • Plenty of restaurants to enjoy a cocktail while taking in the beauty of Lake Michigan

#3 Take a stroll through Lincoln Park Conservatory

If you boast a green thumb or simply appreciate nature’s wonders, Lincoln Park Conservatory will not disappoint. Inside the beautiful Victorian Era glass building, you’ll find a lush world of exotic plants, tropical flowers, ancient ferns, and more spread out across four unique display houses:5

  • The Palm House
  • The Fern Room
  • The Orchid House
  • The Show House

Plus, because all of the flora is housed indoors, you can surround yourself with the fresh, fragrant scent of nature no matter what the weather outside is like. 

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#4 Travel back in time at the Chicago History Museum

Why spend a rainy day at home when you could bust out your rainboots and make your way to one of the city’s oldest institutions? Featuring 12 unique exhibits that capture the essence of the city’s storied past, the Chicago History Museum essentially offers the opportunity to travel back in time. 

While you’re there, you can:6

  • Learn about the chaos that culminated in the Great Chicago Fire of 1871
  • Get a first-hand look at L car no. 1, the train that transported people to the World’s Columbian Exposition in 1893
  • Look back on President Abraham Lincoln’s election, his administration during the Civil War, and his tragic assassination

You can also visit other museums near the area. For traditional or contemporary art, you can go ahead and visit DePaul Art Museum. If you’re interested in the natural history of the Midwest, check out Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum.

#5 Take a selfie with the Standing Lincoln Sculpture

Completed in 1887,7 the 12-foot tall Standing Lincoln Sculpture is a must-see historical landmark not only because of its size but also because of its history—the late President Abraham Lincoln’s grandson stood present for its celebrated unveiling. 

It also makes for an excellent photo op after a visit to the Chicago History Museum. 

#6 Go shopping along Armitage Avenue and Halsted Street

If you’re looking for more things to do in Lincoln Park, Chicago, you’ll find an array of bustling businesses and enticing eateries alongside the charming sidewalks of Armitage Avenue and Halsted Street.

There are a number of unique boho boutiques where you can discover one-of-a-kind pieces of jewelry, apparel, home decor, and more. And after you’ve shopped ‘til you’ve (almost) dropped, you can take a break and dine in the best restaurants in Lincoln Park, Chicago. Enjoy the free-flowing sangria and tapas at Cafe Ba-Ba-Reeba, or the farm-to-table cuisine at Blue Door Farm Stand.8 What’s more, you can relax after shopping all day and listen to live music at Kingston Mines. 

But the fun doesn’t have to end there. Once you’ve refreshed yourself, check out these other fun things to do in Lincoln Park:

  • Ditch your CDs at Dave’s Records – Dave’s keeps vintage in style by showcasing all of your new and old music faves on the best musical medium—vinyl.
  • Caffeinate to your heart’s content – Get your buzz on at one of Lincoln Park’s many local coffee joints, like Philz Coffee or Werewolf Coffee.
  • Take your taste buds on an adventure – You can’t go wrong at any of the local eateries in Lincoln Park, Chicago. From the low-key yet picturesque Bourgeois Pig Cafe to the fine dining, Michelin-starred establishment that is Esmé, your taste buds really can have it all. 

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With all the unique activities and areas that Lincoln Park—and Chicago—have to offer, you may just need to extend your visit. Or, you can make planting your roots here a reality with Common.  

Our coliving homes in Chicago, offer fully furnished private bedrooms and living spaces, as well as free onsite laundry, regular cleaning services, and tons of other incredible amenities—all for a fraction of the average cost of rent. 

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  1. Architecture. Lincoln Park. https://www.architecture.org/learn/resources/buildings-of-chicago/building/lincoln-park/
  2. Lincoln Park Zoo. Visit. https://www.lpzoo.org/visit/
  3. Lincoln Park Zoo. Animals and Exhibits. https://www.lpzoo.org/animals-gardens/animals-exhibits/
  4. U.S. News. 27 Best Things to Do in Chicago. https://travel.usnews.com/Chicago_IL/Things_To_Do/
  5. Lincoln Park Conservancy. Conservatory and Gardens. https://lincolnparkconservancy.org/projects/conservatory-garden/
  6. Chicago History Museum. City on Fire: Chicago 1871. https://www.chicagohistory.org/exhibitions/
  7. NPS. The Standing Lincoln. https://www.nps.gov/places/the-standing-lincoln.htm
  8. Lincoln Park Chamber of Commerce. Armitage – Halsted Hub. https://www.lincolnparkchamber.com/armitage-halsted-cultural-hub/

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