If you have ever watched a movie in the park, taken part in a fishing or camping program, or enjoyed the imaginative artwork created by youth in our parks, then you are already familiar with some of the responsibilities of CAN. There's something for all ages and abilities, from stroller struts to senior dance card. From SummerDance to the Winter Solstice Festival, programs span all four seasons, and reach every corner of the city.

Culture & Arts

Cultural programs serve to introduce community members to a wide variety of cultural art forms and experiences. The arts & culture unit envisions parks as vital cultural spaces that encourage all Chicagoans to explore and embrace the visual and performing arts and their power to enhance individual quality of life, neighborhood development and community dialogue. There are a variety of arts programs offered throughout the Chicago Park District including the arts partners in residency, a nationally recognized partnership that allows not-for-profit arts organizations to be housed in Chicago Park District field houses. These partners currently offer programs in theatre, dance, music, film and gallery art. There are specialty programs for youth, teens and adults. In order to increase the quality and quantity of cultural arts programs and activities throughout Chicago, 13 parks have been identified as cultural centers. These centers provide high quality, wide-ranging and diverse cultural programming, serving residents of every age citywide.


Spending a green hour a day can help children (and adults) reduce stress, build immunity, lose weight, and increase imaginative play. Nature programs and events are not only about nature education, but about creating appreciation, and promoting environmental stewardship. There are 3 community gardens in neighborhood parks where interested gardeners are assigned work days to help maintain and harvest the gardens. Children learn to plant, maintain, harvest, cook from and winterize in the after school and summer day camp harvest gardens. Over 10,000 campers, kids, seniors and people with special needs take advantage of the Fish'N Kids experience located in lagoons, the Chicago River and along the lakefront. There are outdoor programs held throughout the year for all ages at 3 outdoor education sites.

Special Events

Special events bring communities together in the parks. Whether a movie, performance, training or banquet, the Special Events unit seeks to create inviting, safe, activity-oriented neighborhood parks where Chicagoans and tourists can discover world class events. These activities include Theater on the Lake, jazz concerts and the Chicago SummerDance series to name just a few.