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 Lagoon

Columbus Park Lagoon

Location Notes: 500 S. Central Park Ave.

Notes: Columbus Park Lagoon

Clubrooms

Clubrooms

Columbus Club Room

Columbus Club Room

Location Notes: 500 S. Central Ave.

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.

Notes: Renovated Fall 2015, Chicago Plays! Renovation Program

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

Columbus Tennis Court

Columbus Tennis Court

Location Notes: 500 S. Central Ave.

Columbus Wade Pool

Columbus Wade Pool

Location Notes: 500 S. Central Ave.

Summer Programs

See our offerings in the Summer tab below.  The standard 6-week day camp runs June 26 through August 4.  Specialty camp dates vary.  Most other summer programs start the week of June 19 and run through the week of August 21.  Click on the program name links below to view a program and register now.  Registration is on-going while spots are available.

 

Fall Programs

Most fall programs start the week of September 11 and run through the week of December 4.  Click on the program name links below to view a program and save it to your wish list.  Registration dates for our park are:

  • Online registration begins on Monday, August 7, 2017 at 9:00am.
  • In-person registration begins on Monday, August 14, 2017.

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 202396InstructionSports - Basketball60 and upMale2017/09/12 17:00From September 12, 2017 to December 7, 2017
Each Tuesday from Noon to 2pm
Each Thursday from Noon to 2pm
$0
Basketball Tournament at Columbus 202522TournamentSports - Basketball18 and upCoed2017/09/12 23:30From September 12, 2017 to December 7, 2017
Each Tuesday from 6:30pm to 8:45pm
Each Thursday from 6:30pm to 8:45pm
Except the following dates:
Tuesday, October 31, 2017
$0
Baton & Pom Pom at Columbus 202525InstructionSports - CheerleadingAt least 6 but less than 9Female2017/09/11 23:15From September 11, 2017 to December 5, 2017
Each Monday from 6:15pm to 7:30pm
Each Tuesday from 6:15pm to 7:30pm
$13.00
Baton & Pom Pom at Columbus 221143InstructionSports - CheerleadingAt least 9 but less than 13Female2017/09/13 23:15From September 13, 2017 to December 7, 2017
Each Wednesday from 6:15pm to 7:30pm
Each Thursday from 6:15pm to 7:30pm
$14.00
Bitty Basketball at Columbus 202532InstructionSports - BasketballAt least 5 but less than 9Coed2017/09/16 18:00From September 16, 2017 to November 18, 2017
Each Saturday from 1pm to 2pm
$6.00
Cross Country at Columbus 202671InstructionSports - Track & FieldAt least 6 but less than 13Coed2017/09/13 23:30From September 13, 2017 to November 15, 2017
Each Wednesday from 6:30pm to 7:45pm
$0
Dance - African Partnership at Columbus 202689PartnershipGroupCulture and Arts - DanceAt least 13 but less than 19Coed2017/09/11 22:00From September 11, 2017 to November 18, 2017
Each Monday from 5pm to 7pm
Each Wednesday from 5pm to 7pm
Each Saturday from Noon to 2pm
$0
Dance - African Partnership at Columbus 202688PartnershipGroupCulture and Arts - Dance18 and upCoed2017/09/12 23:30From September 12, 2017 to November 16, 2017
Each Tuesday from 6:30pm to 8:30pm
Each Thursday from 6:30pm to 8:30pm
$0
Dance - Steppers Partnership at Columbus 202724PartnershipGroupCulture and Arts - Dance18 and upCoed2017/09/17 18:00From September 17, 2017 to November 19, 2017
Each Sunday from 1pm to 2:30pm
$0
Flag Football at Columbus 202872InstructionSports - FootballAt least 9 but less than 13Coed2017/09/16 19:30From September 16, 2017 to November 18, 2017
Each Saturday from 2:30pm to 4pm
$6.00
Line Dance at Columbus 203399InstructionCulture and Arts - Dance60 and upCoed2017/09/11 13:30From September 11, 2017 to November 15, 2017
Each Monday from 8:30am to 9:30am
Each Wednesday from 8:30am to 9:30am
$0
Line Dance at Columbus 223878InstructionCulture and Arts - Dance60 and upCoed2017/09/11 14:30From September 11, 2017 to November 15, 2017
Each Monday from 9:30am to 11:30am
Each Wednesday from 9:30am to 11:30am
$0
Low Impact Aerobics at Columbus 203419InstructionWellness - Aerobics18 and upFemale2017/09/12 00:00From September 11, 2017 to November 15, 2017
Each Monday from 7pm to 8:15pm
Each Wednesday from 7pm to 8:15pm
$13.00
Park Kids - Fall at Columbus 203613InstructionOut of School Programs - After SchoolAt least 5 but less than 13Coed2017/09/05 19:00From September 5, 2017 to December 15, 2017
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
$55.00
Park Kids - Fall Winter Spring at Columbus 203636Activity_PackageOut of School Programs - After SchoolAt least 5 but less than 13Coed2017/09/05 19:00From September 5, 2017 to June 15, 2018$165.00
Pool at Columbus 203754OpenSpecial Interest - Fun & Games60 and upCoed2017/09/11 13:00From September 11, 2017 to November 17, 2017
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
Seasonal Sports at Columbus 203871InstructionSports - Seasonal SportsAt least 6 but less than 12Coed2017/09/11 23:30From September 11, 2017 to November 16, 2017
Each Monday from 6:30pm to 7:30pm
Each Thursday from 6:30pm to 7:30pm
$0
Seasonal Sports at Columbus 203870InstructionSports - Seasonal SportsAt least 13 but less than 18Coed2017/09/12 23:30From September 12, 2017 to November 15, 2017
Each Tuesday from 6:30pm to 8:30pm
Each Wednesday from 6:30pm to 8:30pm
$0
Senior Citizens Club at Columbus 203951OpenSpecial Interest - Clubs60 and upCoed2017/09/12 17:00From September 12, 2017 to November 17, 2017
Each Monday from Noon to 3pm
Each Tuesday from 9am to 3pm
Each Wednesday from Noon to 3pm
Each Thursday from 9am to 3pm
Each Friday from 9am to 3pm
$0
Step Aerobics at Columbus 204205InstructionWellness - Aerobics18 and upCoed2017/09/12 18:00From September 12, 2017 to November 17, 2017
Each Tuesday from 1pm to 2:15pm
Each Thursday from 1pm to 2:15pm
Each Friday from 1pm to 2:15pm
$15.00
Teen Club at Columbus 204312OpenSpecial Interest - ClubsAt least 13 but less than 18Coed2017/09/11 23:30From September 11, 2017 to November 17, 2017
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 204638OpenWellness - Walking60 and upCoed2017/09/12 13:00From September 12, 2017 to November 16, 2017
Each Tuesday from 8am to 9am
Each Thursday from 8am to 9am
$0
Windy City Hoops-Basketball at Columbus 204655Individual_LeagueSports - BasketballAt least 13 but less than 18Coed2017/09/15 23:30From September 15, 2017 to November 18, 2017
Each Friday from 6:30pm to 9pm
Each Saturday from 6:30pm to 9pm
$0
Winter Break Camp at Columbus 208548CampsCamps - General InterestAt least 6 but less than 13Coed2017/12/19 16:00From December 19, 2017 to December 29, 2017
Each Tuesday from 10am to 4pm
Each Wednesday from 10am to 4pm
Each Thursday from 10am to 4pm
Each Friday from 10am to 4pm
$11.00
Name Number Type Category Ages Gender Dates Fee
Park Kids - Winter at Columbus 210277InstructionOut of School Programs - After SchoolAt least 5 but less than 13Coed2018/01/08 20:00From January 8, 2018 to March 23, 2018
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
Name Number Type Category Ages Gender Dates Fee
Park Kids - Spring at Columbus 216091InstructionOut of School Programs - After SchoolAt least 5 but less than 13Coed2018/04/02 19:00From April 2, 2018 to June 15, 2018
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

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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.