After months of isolation and one of Chicago’s worst winters, students may be looking for ways to get outside and enjoy the upcoming spring weather.
Whether students are looking for a quick break between exams or looking to escape the business of the city, The Phoenix found some ways students can enjoy the outdoors.
What can I do on campus?
For students looking to stay on campus and enjoy the spring weather, there are a few options. Megan Morris, director of Campus Recreation, said while intramural sports are wrapping up without spectators, students are allowed to use Campus Recreation’s outdoor facilities— the east and west quads and Sean Earl Field — anytime they aren’t reserved.
Morris also said Campus Recreation will be offering outdoor fitness classes to students during finals week. Classes will include strength, yoga and dance classes, according to Morris. Students will have to register in advance for these classes, but Morris said they’re open to all students and will be led by student instructors.
“Our group fitness program is led by certified student directors, and the classes are open to any skill level,” Morris said. “So you don’t have to have a fitness background, nor do you have to necessarily be in world-class shape to participate.”
What does Rogers Park have to offer?
For students looking to get off campus but stay within Rogers Park, there are plenty of options within walking distance of campus. Located less than a block away from Lake Shore Campus (LSC), Albion Beach offers students the ability to take a break from classes and enjoy Lake Michigan without traveling too far away.
Located about half a mile north of LSC, Loyola Park also has a beach in addition to tennis courts, a soccer field, baseball and softball fields, a walking trail, a nature area and a lighthouse.
Students staying in Rogers Park over the summer can also look forward to the Glenwood Sunday Market, which starts June 6 and runs until Oct. 24. The market will be located at 1233-41 W. Pratt Blvd. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, those attending will be required to wear masks and maintain social distancing.
How about the Greater Chicago and Cook County area?
For students looking to get out into nature within Cook County, Morris personally recommends some of the Cook County Forest Preserves such as the Edgebrook Woods, the LaBagh Woods or the Forest Glen Woods.
“The forest preserves are hidden gems in the city,” Morris said. “You can get to a few by bus, but I definitely know a quick Uber ride can get you to any Cook County Forest Preserves, and they’re great.”
In addition to the forest preserves, Campus Recreation also recommends the North Village Nature Preserve — which includes trails of various terrain that span 46 acres — as well as the 606, a repurposed elevated rail that now includes a multi-use recreation trail and park.
For more information about these and other events, check out Campus Recreation’s Ramble Outdoors website.
Springtime also means baseball is back. This year, the Chicago Cubs are allowing spectators at limited capacity. Wrigley Field, located about 18 minutes by train from LSC, will open 90 minutes before the first pitch, and the stadium will use mobile tickets exclusively, according to the team’s website.
Each ticket will have a gate assignment, and touchless security screening will be utilized. Fans can also expect a completely cashless ballpark with all concession stands, gift shops and charity raffles.
I want out of the city and county but don’t want to go too far away, what can I do?
Students looking to escape the city but stay within a train ride of campus can check out the Indiana Dunes National Park and Indiana Dunes State Park. Located just north of Chesterton, Indiana, both parks are accessible from LSC using the CTA and South Shore Line Commuter rail.
With more than 15 miles of coastline between the two parks, the parks offer hiking and biking trails, picnic areas, and fishing and swimming spots. More adventurous students can reserve a campsite at either park and can also rent camping equipment from Campus Recreation.