Fun Things To Do On Lake Michigan in Chicago

One of Chicago’s best attributes is the huge ocean like lake that sits right next to it…Lake Michigan. In the summer time the lake is thriving. If we showed you a pic of a beach in Miami and one in Chicago on a nice summer day, you wouldn’t be able to tell the difference. In fact for science, we will post 2 pictures below, one from Miami, the other from Chicago. Take your best guess.

picture of Chicago Beach

picture of Miami Beach


See, pretty much the same. There’s more to do than just lounge on the beaches of Lake Michigan. Being next to the 3rd largest city in the country has it perks. If you consider yourself a water person and are visiting Chicago, then these activities are perfect for you. We compiled a list of what we think are the best activities to do on Lake Michigan in Chicago.

stand up paddle board Chicago

1. Stand Up Paddle Board – while you’re pretty much guaranteed to fall in the ice cold water doing standup paddle boarding, it’s an awesome work out and great way to tour the beaches of Chicago from the water. We recommend using Chicago SUP to rent paddle boards on the lake. Here is their website. You can rent a paddle board for $30 an hour.

jetski rental Chicago

2. Rent Jet Skis – For those that are like Ricky Bobby and want to go fast, Jet skis are available to rent on Lake Michigan. Jet Ski Chicago located at North Avenue beach provides jet ski rentals for $150 an hour or $85 for the half hour.


chicago playpen boats

3. Rent A Boat – This one might be fairly obvious, but a lot of people don’t know that renting a boat on Lake Michigan isn’t that expensive . There’s an entire portion of the lake right in front of the sky line dedicated for boats to anchor and party. It’s called the play pen. On any given weekend there are 30 to 50 boats connected together with one big party going on. You know those rap videos where everyone is out partying on boats? Yea it’s kind of like that. There are a number of companies that provide boat rentals. We highly recommend using a service that provides a driver. Here a few companies we recommend:,, and


Castaways Bar Chicago

4. Drink At Castaways – Located at North Avenue Beach is a huge boat that’s not actually in the water. This boat is actually a big bar that’s shaped like a boat (clever right?). This bar is called Cast Aways. If you miss college, Cast Aways is basically like a college party, but on a big fake boat.


bike on lakeshore path Chicago

5. Ride Bikes – Renting bikes is super easy in Chicago ever since Divvy came along. For just $7 for the whole day, you can rent a bike. Divvy stations are located all along the lake front. However,  renters have to return their bike to a station every half hour or will be charged an additional dollar per half hour they don’t return it. If you don’t want to return bikes every half hour other companies like offer full day rentals.


Dinner Cruise Chicagoa

6. Go on a dinner Cruise – Eat a delicious meal while cruising along the shore of Chicago and taking in the beautiful skyline at night with cruise services like or This is a great idea for a romantic date. While it’s not that cheap, it is affordable.  Dinner cruises on Lake Michigan start at $85 per person (that includes food). If that’s a little too rich for your blood, lunch cruises are just $36 per person. Se more pricing and tour options here

7. Go on a Site Seeing Tour – Learn something new about Chicago on a lakeshore boat tour. Similar to the Chicago Architecture boat tour guests can tour the Chicago shore line and learn about Chicago history, architecture, and how the entire shoreline used to be a big landfill. We recommend

chicago fireworks navy pier

9. Watch Fireworks – Every Wednesday and Saturday night, Chicago’s Navy Pier has a fireworks display. from Fullerton beach all the way to Navy pier, the fireworks are visible. If you want a closer look just head to Navy Pier, it’s free! Fireworks start at 9:30 pm on Wednesdays and 10:15 pm on Saturdays.