What are Chicago’s Best Places to Get Away From Car Traffic?

When you hang out on Northerly Island, the park created after the downtown Meigs Field airport was bulldozed, it's easy to forget you live in a car-choked city. Photo: Jeff Zoline
When you hang out on Northerly Island, the park created after the downtown Meigs Field airport was bulldozed, it's easy to forget you live in a car-choked city. Photo: Jeff Zoline

Last month occasional Streetsblog writer Shaun Jacobsen noted on Twitter that widening North Lake Shore Drive, a possible scenario for its impending reconstruction, would be a huge step in the wrong direction, and it’s a shame that the drive currently detracts from most of the lakefront parks and beaches. “Why can’t we have one part of the city where you can’t hear cars?” Jacobsen wrote. A Bronzeville resident named Jamahl replied:

I chimed in that I like Montrose Beach for the same reason — it’s so far away from Lake Shore Drive that there’s virtually no highway noise. Then, via the Streetsblog Chicago account, I asked our readers for their favorite places in Chicago to take a break from the noise, sight, smell, and stress of motor vehicle traffic. Here are some of the responses:

Read the full Twitter thread here.

What are your favorite car-free hideaways? Let us know in the comment section.

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  • rwy

    I like the Greenbay Trail in Winnetka. Also a fan of Wooded Island.

    The North Shore Channel Trail has lots of intersections, with turning traffic not yielding to trail users very often. Only the section south of Peterson is car-free.

  • planetshwoop

    The lakefront path that runs east of the Markovitz golf course (at the entrance to Montrose harbor) is far away from car noise. Same for the stretch just south of the Diversey Harbor — you are below the path and thus miss most of the traffic noise. I love both.

    I used to run at night, and during the winter it felt unusually quiet on the North Shore Channel Trail. Delightfully lonely.

    For those who are fans of the North Shore Channel Trail: the construction is finishing in River Park so the underpass at Foster will open soon. They have extended the path a smidge at Avers and Foster too. And further south, the River Trail is packed gravel by Addison. It looks like it is waiting for a bridge to Horner park before they pave or seal it.

  • J.B.

    No South Shore Nature Sanctuary? It’s amazing how isolated it feels from the city for being so small!

    Rosehill Cemetery is also amazing. You can walk around for a couple hours and not see or hear the busy street traffic all around (although some jerks do use the cemetery as a shortcut to/from Western).

  • 1976boy

    Olive Park next to Ohio Street beach is pedestrian only, has an amazing view of the skyline, and is a short walk from Lake Shore Drive and all of Streeterville.


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