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Today is National Wildlife Day, and what better way to celebrate than to take a walk on the wild side (or at least the less urban side) and spend some time in the parks. With a little searching, you can see more than just pigeons and rats around the city!

Where To?

With 580 unique public parks, your toughest decision is where to start. Below are some favorites – is your go-to green spot in the city included? Let us know where you go to escape.

Jackson Park


Maybe it’s the ambiance of the Osaka Garden and the coy fish lazily swimming through the ponds, but Jackson Park may be one of the most peaceful spots in the city. It’s easy to feel far away from the hustle and bustle by only taking bus number six south from the loop. It also may become the backdrop for one of Leonard DiCaprio’s upcoming movies.

Grant Park

With 319 acres encompassing Buckingham Fountain, Millennium Park, The Art Institute of Chicago and the Museum Campus, you could easily spend a whole day walking through Grant Park. Perhaps one of the best parks for people watching in the city, bring a blanket and watch the cyclists, boats and tourists scurry by.

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South Gardens at the Art Institute of Chicago

This little patch of serenity is tucked away right in the heart of the city off bustling Michigan Avenue. It’s in a major tourist zone but goes primarily unnoticed by passersby, usually making it a quiet and uncrowded spot to sit beneath the tree canopy and find some Zen.

The 606

You can rise above the rest (pun intended) visiting the 606, which is an elevated trail that used to be a train line. It’s 2.7 miles long and gives you a view of the Logan Square, Humboldt Park and West Town neighborhoods.

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If spotting frogs and water fowl isn’t wild enough for you, you can always stroll through the Lincoln Park Zoo for some more serious beast spotting.

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