Columbus Park

  • 500 S. Central Ave.   Chicago, Illinois 60644 [View Map]
  • Fieldhouse Hours: ,
  • Park Hours:
  • Park Supervisor: Jeanette Stovall
  • Park Phone: (773) 287-7641
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Located in the Austin Community, Columbus Park totals 135.12 acres. The park's field house features a fitness center, two gymnasiums, three kitchens, meeting rooms, a senior center and a banquet room.

Outside, the park offers a nature area, a boundless children’s accessible playground with an interactive water feature, a bicycle path, a jogging path, a pavilion and a 9-hole golf course. Columbus is also a multi-faceted recreation park with an outdoor swimming pool, fishing lagoon, baseball fields and athletic fields for football and soccer and basketball courts. The beautiful Refectory Building sits on the northern end of park’s grounds and is a popular destination for weddings and special events.

Many of these spaces are available for rental for parties, athletic tournaments and other events. Patrons are especially fond of renting the photogenic Refectory Building for weddings and other formal parties.

Park-goers can play basketball, football or soccer at the facility. Afterschool programs are offered throughout the school year, and in the summer youth attend the Park District’s popular six-week day camp.

In addition to programs, Columbus Park hosts fun special events throughout the year for the whole family, such as Movies in the Park, concerts, plays and other Night out in the Parks events. 

History

Columbus Park is considered the masterpiece of Jens Jensen, now known as dean of Prairie-style landscape architecture. The project, Jensen's only opportunity to create an entirely new large park in Chicago, represents the culmination of years of his conservation efforts and design experimentation.

Appointed as West Park Commission General Superintendent and Chief Landscape Architect in 1905, Jensen re-designed Humboldt, Garfield, and Douglas Parks and began creating small parks such as Eckhart and Dvorak. After losing political support in 1910, he shifted his role to consulting landscape architect. Two years later, the commissioners acquired 144 acres of farmland at the western boundary of Chicago. They named the new park for Christopher Columbus (c. 1451-1506), the famous Italian explorer who "discovered" America while in the service of Spain.

Jensen's vision for Columbus Park was inspired by the unimproved site's natural history and topography. Convinced that it was an ancient beach, Jensen designed a series of berms, like glacial ridges, encircling the flat interior part of the park. In the center area, following the traces of sand dune, he created a "prairie river" flowing from two brooks. Two natural-looking waterfalls, with ledges of stratified stonework, represent the source of the river. Throughout the park, Jensen included native plants.

Jensen also included programming elements emulating nature. Broad prairie-like meadows provide a golf course and ball fields. He designed an outdoor theatre, known as the "player's green," for plays and other performances. In the children's playground area, Jensen included his favorite feature, the council ring, a circular stone bench for storytelling and campfires.

In 1953, the nine acres at the park's southern boundary were destroyed to make way for the Eisenhower Expressway. Despite the loss of some land and other changes to the park at that time, Columbus Park still conveys Jensen's genius

 

Parking/Directions

For directions using public transportation visit www.transitchicago.com.

Columbus Ships

Columbus Ships (1)

Location Notes: Refectory Great Hall

Descriptors: Indoor, Mural

Softball Diamonds

Softball Diamonds

Columbus Baseball Diamonds

Columbus Baseball Diamonds

Location Notes: 500 S. Central Ave.

Descriptors: Artificial Turf

Columbus Diamond

Columbus Diamond

Location Notes: 500 S. Central Ave.

Columbus Basketball Court

Columbus Basketball Court

Location Notes: 500 S. Central Ave.

Columbus Bird Sanctuary

Columbus Bird Sanctuary

Location Notes: 500 S. Central Ave.

Notes: Columbus Bird Sanctuary

Columbus Fieldhouse

Columbus Fieldhouse

Location Notes: 500 S. Central Ave.

Hours: ,

Columbus Fishing Area

Columbus Fishing Area

Location Notes: 500 S. Central

Columbus Fitness Center

Columbus Fitness CenterAccessible

Hours: ,

Notes:

Sign up for a membership: Month, 3 Month, Year

Descriptors: ADA Accessible Equipment

Columbus Gymnasium

Columbus Gymnasium

Location Notes: 500 S. Central Ave.

Notes: 1 Large, 1 Small

Columbus Park

Columbus Park

Location Notes: 500 S. Central Park Ave.

Notes: Columbus Park Lagoon

Columbus Club Room

Columbus Club Room

Location Notes: 500 S. Central Ave.

Clubrooms

Clubrooms

Columbus Picnic Grove

Columbus Picnic Grove

Location Notes: 500 S. Central Ave.

Columbus Playground - E

Columbus Playground - EAccessible

Location: 350 S. Central Ave.

Descriptors: Rubberized Surface

Columbus Playground - N

Columbus Playground - NAccessible

Location: 5793 W. Adams Blvd.

Descriptors: Engineered Wood Fiber Surface

Columbus Park Golf Course

Columbus Park Golf Course

Location Notes: 500 S. Central Ave.

Notes: Columbus Park Golf Course

Columbus Park Pool

Columbus Park PoolAccessible (1)

Location Notes: 500 S. Central Ave.

Hours:

Phone: (773)287-7641

Descriptors: Outdoor, ADA Lift

Get a Summer Open Swim Pass for Columbus Park: Monthly or Seasonal Pass

Notice Valid From: 5/31/2016 - 9/5/2016

Columbus Tennis Court

Columbus Tennis Court

Location Notes: 500 S. Central Ave.

Columbus Wade Pool

Columbus Wade Pool

Location Notes: 500 S. Central Ave.

Events

Summer Programs

The standard 6-week day camp runs July 5 - August 12. Specialty camp dates vary.  Most other programs start the week of June 20 and run through the week of August 22. See our offerings in the Summer tab below - click on the program name links to register now. Registration is on-going while spots are available. 

  

 

Fall Programs

Most fall programs start the week of September 19 and run through the week of November 21. Click on the program name links below to view a program and register now. Registration dates for our park are:

  • Online registration begins on Monday, August 15, 2016 at 9:00am.
  • In-person registration begins on Saturday, August 20, 2016.

Click on the program name links below for program descriptions, availability information and to register online now (if available).

Name Number Type Category Ages Gender Dates Fee
Basketball at Columbus 162250InstructionSports - Basketball60 and upMale2016/09/20 17:00From September 20, 2016 to November 24, 2016
Each Tuesday from Noon to 2pm
Each Thursday from Noon to 2pm
$0
Basketball Skills at Columbus 185142InstructionSports - BasketballAt least 11 but less than 15Coed2016/09/19 23:30From September 19, 2016 to November 26, 2016
Each Monday from 6:30pm to 8pm
Each Saturday from Noon to 2pm
$0
Basketball Tournament at Columbus 162294TournamentSports - Basketball18 and upCoed2016/09/20 23:30From September 20, 2016 to November 24, 2016
Each Tuesday from 6:30pm to 8:45pm
Each Thursday from 6:30pm to 8:45pm
$0
Baton & Pom Pom at Columbus 162460InstructionSports - CheerleadingAt least 6 but less than 9Female2016/09/19 23:15From September 19, 2016 to November 23, 2016
Each Monday from 6:15pm to 7:30pm
Each Wednesday from 6:15pm to 7:30pm
$12.00
Bitty Basketball at Columbus 185143InstructionSports - BasketballAt least 5 but less than 9Coed2016/09/24 18:00From September 24, 2016 to November 26, 2016
Each Saturday from 1pm to 2pm
$5.00
Cross Country at Columbus 185144InstructionSports - Track & FieldAt least 6 but less than 13Coed2016/09/21 23:30From September 21, 2016 to November 23, 2016
Each Wednesday from 6:30pm to 7:45pm
$0
Dance - African Partnership at Columbus 185321PartnershipGroupCulture and Arts - DanceAt least 13 but less than 19Coed2016/09/19 22:00From September 19, 2016 to November 26, 2016
Each Monday from 5pm to 7pm
Each Wednesday from 5pm to 7pm
Each Saturday from Noon to 2pm
$0
Dance - African Partnership at Columbus 185320PartnershipGroupCulture and Arts - Dance18 and upCoed2016/09/20 23:30From September 20, 2016 to November 24, 2016
Each Tuesday from 6:30pm to 8:30pm
Each Thursday from 6:30pm to 8:30pm
$12.00
Dance - Hip Hop at Columbus 162606InstructionCulture and Arts - DanceAt least 9 but less than 12Coed2016/09/20 23:15From September 20, 2016 to November 24, 2016
Each Tuesday from 6:15pm to 7:30pm
Each Thursday from 6:15pm to 7:30pm
$12.00
Dance - Hip Hop at Columbus 185323InstructionCulture and Arts - DanceAt least 13 but less than 19Coed2016/09/20 23:30From September 20, 2016 to November 24, 2016
Each Tuesday from 6:30pm to 8:30pm
Each Thursday from 6:30pm to 8:30pm
$10.00
Dance - Steppers Partnership at Columbus 185322PartnershipGroupCulture and Arts - Dance18 and upCoed2016/09/25 18:00From September 25, 2016 to November 27, 2016
Each Sunday from 1pm to 2:30pm
$0
Flag Football at Columbus 185145InstructionSports - FootballAt least 9 but less than 13Coed2016/09/24 19:30From September 24, 2016 to November 26, 2016
Each Saturday from 2:30pm to 4pm
$5.00
Floor Hockey at Columbus 185146InstructionSports - Floor HockeyAt least 9 but less than 12Coed2016/09/23 23:15From September 23, 2016 to November 25, 2016
Each Friday from 6:15pm to 7:15pm
$0
Kiddie College at Columbus 162466InstructionEarly Childhood - RecreationAt least 3 but less than 5Coed2016/09/19 18:00From September 19, 2016 to November 23, 2016
Each Monday from 1pm to 3:30pm
Each Wednesday from 1pm to 3:30pm
$11.00
Line Dance at Columbus 163344InstructionCulture and Arts - Dance60 and upCoed2016/09/19 14:00From September 19, 2016 to November 23, 2016
Each Monday from 9am to Noon
Each Wednesday from 9am to Noon
$0
Low Impact Aerobics at Columbus 163362InstructionWellness - Aerobics18 and upFemale2016/09/20 00:00From September 19, 2016 to November 23, 2016
Each Monday from 7pm to 8:15pm
Each Wednesday from 7pm to 8:15pm
$12.00
Park Kids - Fall at Columbus 163576InstructionOut of School Programs - After SchoolAt least 5 but less than 13Coed2016/09/13 19:00From September 13, 2016 to December 23, 2016
Each Monday from 2pm to 6pm
Each Tuesday from 2pm to 6pm
Each Wednesday from 2pm to 6pm
Each Thursday from 2pm to 6pm
Each Friday from 2pm to 6pm
$52.00
Park Kids - Fall Winter Spring at Columbus 163595Activity_PackageOut of School Programs - After SchoolAt least 5 but less than 13Coed2016/09/13 19:00From September 13, 2016 to June 23, 2017$156.00
Pool at Columbus 163719OpenSpecial Interest - Fun & Games60 and upCoed2016/09/19 13:00From September 19, 2016 to November 25, 2016
Each Monday from 8am to Noon
Each Tuesday from 8am to Noon
Each Wednesday from 8am to Noon
Each Thursday from 8am to Noon
Each Friday from 8am to Noon
$0
Pool at Columbus 163720OpenSpecial Interest - Fun & GamesAt least 18 but less than 22Coed2016/09/21 23:00From September 21, 2016 to November 25, 2016
Each Wednesday from 6pm to 8pm
Each Thursday from 6pm to 8pm
Each Friday from 6pm to 8pm
$7.00
Seasonal Sports at Columbus 163902InstructionSports - Seasonal SportsAt least 6 but less than 12Coed2016/09/19 23:30From September 19, 2016 to November 24, 2016
Each Monday from 6:30pm to 7:30pm
Each Thursday from 6:30pm to 7:30pm
Except the following dates:
Thursday, November 17, 2016
$0
Seasonal Sports at Columbus 163901InstructionSports - Seasonal SportsAt least 13 but less than 18Coed2016/09/20 23:30From September 20, 2016 to November 23, 2016
Each Tuesday from 6:30pm to 8:30pm
Each Wednesday from 6:30pm to 8:30pm
$0
Senior Citizens Club at Columbus 163993OpenSpecial Interest - Clubs60 and upCoed2016/09/20 14:00From September 20, 2016 to November 25, 2016
Each Tuesday from 9am to 3pm
Each Thursday from 9am to 3pm
Each Friday from 9am to 3pm
$0
Step Aerobics at Columbus 185147InstructionWellness - Aerobics18 and upCoed2016/09/20 18:00From September 20, 2016 to November 25, 2016
Each Tuesday from 1pm to 2:15pm
Each Thursday from 1pm to 2:15pm
Each Friday from 1pm to 2:15pm
$14.00
Teen Club at Columbus 164335OpenSpecial Interest - ClubsAt least 13 but less than 18Coed2016/09/19 23:30From September 19, 2016 to November 25, 2016
Each Monday from 6:30pm to 8:30pm
Each Tuesday from 6:30pm to 8:30pm
Each Wednesday from 6:30pm to 8:30pm
Each Thursday from 6:30pm to 8:30pm
Each Friday from 6:30pm to 8:30pm
$0
Walking Club at Columbus 185148OpenWellness - Walking60 and upCoed2016/09/20 13:00From September 20, 2016 to November 24, 2016
Each Tuesday from 8am to 9am
Each Thursday from 8am to 9am
$0
Windy City Hoops-Basketball at Columbus 164657Individual_LeagueSports - BasketballAt least 13 but less than 18Coed2016/09/23 23:30From September 23, 2016 to November 26, 2016
Each Friday from 6:30pm to 9pm
Each Saturday from 6:30pm to 9pm
$0

Photos & Videos

Reviews

Description

Located in the Austin Community, Columbus Park totals 135.12 acres. The park's field house features a fitness center, two gymnasiums, three kitchens, meeting rooms, a senior center and a banquet room.

Outside, the park offers a nature area, a boundless children’s accessible playground with an interactive water feature, a bicycle path, a jogging path, a pavilion and a 9-hole golf course. Columbus is also a multi-faceted recreation park with an outdoor swimming pool, fishing lagoon, baseball fields and athletic fields for football and soccer and basketball courts. The beautiful Refectory Building sits on the northern end of park’s grounds and is a popular destination for weddings and special events.

Many of these spaces are available for rental for parties, athletic tournaments and other events. Patrons are especially fond of renting the photogenic Refectory Building for weddings and other formal parties.

Park-goers can play basketball, football or soccer at the facility. Afterschool programs are offered throughout the school year, and in the summer youth attend the Park District’s popular six-week day camp.

In addition to programs, Columbus Park hosts fun special events throughout the year for the whole family, such as Movies in the Park, concerts, plays and other Night out in the Parks events. 

Columbus Park is considered the masterpiece of Jens Jensen, now known as dean of Prairie-style landscape architecture. The project, Jensen's only opportunity to create an entirely new large park in Chicago, represents the culmination of years of his conservation efforts and design experimentation.

Appointed as West Park Commission General Superintendent and Chief Landscape Architect in 1905, Jensen re-designed Humboldt, Garfield, and Douglas Parks and began creating small parks such as Eckhart and Dvorak. After losing political support in 1910, he shifted his role to consulting landscape architect. Two years later, the commissioners acquired 144 acres of farmland at the western boundary of Chicago. They named the new park for Christopher Columbus (c. 1451-1506), the famous Italian explorer who "discovered" America while in the service of Spain.

Jensen's vision for Columbus Park was inspired by the unimproved site's natural history and topography. Convinced that it was an ancient beach, Jensen designed a series of berms, like glacial ridges, encircling the flat interior part of the park. In the center area, following the traces of sand dune, he created a "prairie river" flowing from two brooks. Two natural-looking waterfalls, with ledges of stratified stonework, represent the source of the river. Throughout the park, Jensen included native plants.

Jensen also included programming elements emulating nature. Broad prairie-like meadows provide a golf course and ball fields. He designed an outdoor theatre, known as the "player's green," for plays and other performances. In the children's playground area, Jensen included his favorite feature, the council ring, a circular stone bench for storytelling and campfires.

In 1953, the nine acres at the park's southern boundary were destroyed to make way for the Eisenhower Expressway. Despite the loss of some land and other changes to the park at that time, Columbus Park still conveys Jensen's genius

 

For directions using public transportation visit www.transitchicago.com.