Chicago Riverwalk Run
The Chicago Riverwalk had a major makeover, and it has become one of my favorite places to begin my run and soak in some good people watching. If you don’t mind having to dodge a few people in exchange for some cool views, you’ll probably enjoy it too. I like to start my run on the Chicago Riverwalk because you can feel the energy of Chicago and take in the city’s amazing architecture.
Where to Start
You can access the Chicago Riverwalk downtown near Lasalle and Wacker. (There are multiple entry points along Wacker.) Jog down the stairs, and take the waterfront walkway east. You'll pass restaurants like Tiny Hat and City Winery, a kayak rental spot, and a tiki bar along the way.
The Riverwalk has not only become a popular spot to run, but also for walking dogs, happy hour, and catching up with friends. Local and tourists alike love it, so expect it to be busy on weekends and after work on a nice day. The biggest crowd is usually around City Winery - which is also where you'll find a bathroom! Always helpful to know for long runs. 🙂
Route for a Long Run
If you keep heading east you will eventually hit the lakefront trail. There you have an 18-mile stretch along Lake Michigan. You can head south all the way down to the Museum of Science and Industry. That is about 8 miles one way. Marathon runners, this is a run for you!
Route for a Short Run
I prefer to pat myself on the back and find food after about three miles, so if you are like me and want a shorter run, head south on the Lake Front Trail until you reach the Shedd Aquarium. That's about 1.5 miles one way from where the Riverwalk and Lake Front Trail intersects.
Riverwalk Night Run
If you enjoy night runs, the Riverwalk is well lit. The lighting at night is quite beautiful. You'll see colorful lights, changing colors, and illuminated fountains. I see some people running along the Riverwalk by themselves, but I tend to keep my solo runs to the daytime. I just feel safer that way. However, my husband and do love an evening stroll along the river at night because there are spectacular views of the city lit up.
If you care what I wear:
As for my outfit, you can probably tell I am a big fan of Nike! I feel Nike does an excellent job blending performance, comfort, and style. I really dig these Lunarglides (shoes). I'm drawn to black sneakers, and these provide great support for running.
If you like to mix up your workout, like I do, you can check out my roundup of free workout classes in Chicago during the summer.
Photography by Donte Tatum.
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