We can’t stress this enough: Maggie Daley Park is a free-admission Chicago attraction. Amenities like picnic groves, tennis courts, the cancer survivors’ garden—a beautiful, hidden treasure in the city—and kids’ play garden are all available for free.
The park’s 40-foot-high climbing wall—with 19,000 square feet of climbing space— is open from April to October and offers options for mountaineers of all skill levels, including bouldering and belaying. Afraid of heights? Certified instructors are available to help visitors complete their climbing certification—one-time fee of $29—or for private lessons. Heads up for brave teens: Climbers under 18 need a waiver from a parent or guardian.
The 18-hole mini-golf course pays homage to the city with cute versions of local landmarks like a six-foot Willis Tower and a replica of Picasso’s famous untitled sculpture. General admission, $11.
The park is best known for this three-acre wonderland that is designed to ignite the imagination with colorful structures and wacky architecture. Kids can play pirates on a giant metal ship or explore an enchanted forest of upside down trees—there’s a tea party table hidden in there—while parents mingle.
During warm months, this quarter-mile track twists and turns to offer roller bladers an interesting workout over inclines and declines in a twisty track. During the winter, it transforms into a fabulous ice rink and popular proposal spot. Roller blade rental, $12; scooter rental, $8; ice skate rental, $12 M-Th, $14 F-Su.
Take in views of Lake Shore Drive, Lake Michigan, the Field Museum and Chicago’s skyline in this quiet garden tucked away in the park. In addition to quiet meditation, this spaces serves for bespoke event rentals.
From an Easter egg hunt to marathons and fundraisers, mini-golf, Yoga in the Park events, monthly climbing nights and more the park hosts community events throughout the year that are a destination unto themselves.
The park hosts Chicago summer camps for kids, tennis programs for all ages, family-focused holiday programs—think daddy-daughter dances for Valentine’s Day and “Skate With Santa” nights in the winter—fitness programs for adults and even fashion shows and other arts events. Admission prices vary.