Chicago Park District

Humboldt Park Audio Tour

The Chicago Park District and Parkways Foundation present a free self-guided audio tour of Humboldt Park. You can either download the tour to an MP3 player, burn a CD, or listen to it online. The tour includes a map with stopping points that correspond with the audio tracks. If you visit each place and listen to the tracks, your walking tour will take approximately 1 hour.

Explore Humboldt Park -- look at its lovely features -- and learn about the architects, artists and landscape designers who created it -- most notably Jens Jensen, a Danish immigrant who created a distinctly Midwestern expression called the Prairie style of landscape architecture. Julia Bachrach, Chicago Park District historian will lead you on the tour. She is joined by Bruce Johnson, grandson of Jens Jensen, who shares inspiring quotes and writings by his illustrious ancestor.

A printable map comes in a PDF format. You can follow the track sequence or tailor the tour to suit your own interests and time frame.

Tracks and Time
1 Introduction 1:46
2 Alexander von Humboldt Monument 1:28
3 Directions 0:24
4 Lagoon and Early History 3:36
5 Directions 0:30
6 Picnic Island 1:39
7 Directions 0:12
8 Jens Jensen/Footbridge 3:24
9 Directions 0:15
10 Boat House and Music Court 2:12
11 Directions 0:37
12 Prairie River 2:36
13 Directions 0:27
14 Formal Garden 2:28
15 Directions 0:20
16 Bison and Lanterns 2:16
17 Directions 0:16
18 Fritz Reuter Monument 0:58
19 Directions 0:38
20 Jensen's Homes and Stables Building 4:07
21 Directions 0:58
22 Waterfall 2:28
23 Directions 0:31
24 Solar Panel and Wind Turbine 1:28
25 Directions 0:20
26 Field House 1:24
27 Directions 0:14
28 Leif Ericson Monument 0:35
29 Directions 0:20
30 Conclusion 1:36

The audio tour includes quotes by Jens Jensen from the following sources:

  • Jens Jensen, as told to Ragna B. Eskil, Natural Parks and Gardens, The Saturday Evening Post, March 8, 1930.
  • Jens Jensen. Siftings. Chicago: R. F. Seymour, 1939, republished Johns Hopkins University Press, 1990.
  • Jens Jensen. A Greater West Park System, West Chicago Park Commissioners, 1920.
  • Wilhelm Miller. The Prairie Spirit in Landscape Gardening. Urbana, Illinois: University of Illinois College of Agriculture, 1915.
"I have always thought that if the city cannot come to the country, than the country must come to the city."
Jens Jensen, Siftings, 1939
Jens Jensen's prairie river in Humboldt Park, ca. 1935 Restored prairie river, 2007
Jens Jensen's prairie river in Humboldt Park, ca. 1935 Restored prairie river, 2007
 
Men sitting on original stonework in Humboldt Park, ca. 1910 New rockwork created as part of Humboldt Park prairie restoration project, 2007
Men sitting on original stonework in Humboldt Park, ca. 1910 New rockwork created as part of Humboldt Park prairie
restoration project, 2007
 
Humboldt Park Boat House, ca. 1910 Restored Boat House, 2007
Humboldt Park Boat House, ca. 1910 Restored Boat House, 2007

Directions, Parking & Public Transportation

Directions
Humboldt Park is located approximately 5 miles northwest of downtown Chicago. From the Kennedy Expressway I-90/I-94 exit at W. North Avenue and go west to N. Humboldt Drive. From the Eisenhower Expressway I-290, exit at California Ave. The exit veers into S. Van Buren Ave. Continue west and turn north on S. Sacramento Ave. This becomes N. Sacramento and takes you into Humboldt Park. In the park, N. Sacramento is called N. Humboldt Drive.

Parking
On the west side of N. Humboldt Drive, there is a parking lot adjacent to the field house that is always open. On the east side of N. Humboldt Drive, there is a parking lot near the boat house. The boat house parking lot is open from 4pm to 11pm Mondays through Fridays and 9am to 11pm on Saturdays and Sundays.

Public Transportation
You can take CTA buses #70, 72 or 52 or for specific directions go to www.transitchicago.com or call the RTA Travel Information Center at 836-7000 from any local area code.