(credit: Tim Boyle/Getty Images)

By Rachel Azark

Guide to Montrose Beach

4440 N. Lake Shore Drive
Chicago, IL
2012 Beach Seasons runs May 25–Sept. 3
Hours: 11 a.m. – 7 p.m.
unless otherwise posted seasonally

A popular beach and also the largest public one in Chicago, Montrose Beach is located near the Uptown neighborhood. It has fun activities for everyone in the family including the dog.

(credit: Harry How /Allsport)


There are lots of activities for the whole family at Montrose Beach. The following are some of your choices:

Montrose Beach Dunes

Who needs to go to the Indiana Dunes when we have them right here in Chicago? At the east end of the beach are 11 acres of land that are dedicated as a natural habitat. When the Chicago Park District stopped grooming the manmade beach, the dunes began to naturally form. There is now a foredune and a globally imperiled panne habitat that supports state-listed and locally rare plant species and over 150 bird species.

(credit: Tim Boyle/Getty Images)

Fun for Dogs

Montrose Beach offers two areas for dogs to enjoy the beach. There is one little area by all of the boats in the small harbor. The other area is much larger and located near the old boat launch. Follow Wilson Ave until it curves left at the lake. You will see large fences and probably plenty of dogs heading to the beach. Please keep an eye on your dog when you are at the beach, pick up after your dog, and make sure that your dog can be around other dogs without causing too much of a scene. If you don’t have a dog, but still love dogs – this is still a great place to visit to watch them all and get a good laugh.

(credit: Tim Boyle/Getty Images)

Where to Eat

The Dock at Montrose Beach is the newest place to eat if you get hungry. You’ll find appetizers, sandwiches, burgers, dessert and a full bar. They also have live music to enjoy occasionally too all the way into September. So kick back, enjoy the beach, grab some food and listen to some music.

How to get there

Plenty of CTA buses head up that way to drop you off, and it’s a little bit of a hike from the Red Line but you could certainly do it. There is lots of parking though throughout the park. Some of which is free and other is pay parking. You can access the beach off Lake Shore Drive by either getting off at Montrose, Wilson or Lawrence.

Rachel Azark is a writer and lives in Chicago. Read more of her work on her blog parksandpancakes.com.