6300 S. Lake Shore Drive
Chicago, IL 60649
63rd Street Beach is located at 6300 S. Lake Shore Drive. (E. Hayes Drive @ Lake Michigan) in Jackson Park. Beach goers can enjoy a wide array of amenities at this beach. Stop by Belly Up for some Jamacian food or Leave With a Smile offering snacks and beverages. The historic beach house also offers beach goers amenities that include restrooms, interactive water fountains, showers, and meeting rooms. The beach house is available to rent.
Bikes are available to rent from Bike Chicago at this beach. There is a non-motorized boat launch site. A natural area provides much needed habitat for migrating birds in the spring and fall seasons. Distance swimming is located at 64th Street, parallel to shore between 1st and 3rd buoys. There is an ADA accessible beach walk. There is a pay and display parking lot.
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Distance swimming area: parallel to shore
The renowned designers of New York’s Central Park, Olmsted & Vaux, laid out Jackson Park along with the adjacent Midway Plaisance and Washington Park in 1871. The area had a paved beach made from granite bricks, which was extended to cover the entire lakefront in Jackson Park by 1888.
Considering that raw sewage was dumped into Lake Michigan at that time, it is not surprising that the beaches were used as paved drives for strolling or promenading, rather than wading or bathing. In 1899, when the completion of Chicago’s innovative Drainage Canal began diverting the sewage to other locations, the lakefront became a desirable place for public bathing.
After the turn of the century, and after hearing many requests from South Side residents for more beaches, the South Park Commissioners decided to extend the beach sand area. They developed a new plan for the landfill in 1914, and completed the 10-acre beach extension three years later.
This plan also included an elaborate bathing pavilion, which was constructed adjacent to the beach by 1919. In 2000, The Chicago Park District completed renovations of the bathing pavilion, now known as the 63rd Street Beach House.
The 63rd Street Beach House is an elegant Classical Revival style pavilion. South Park Commission in-house architects produced plans for the impressive building. Completed in 1919, the elegant exposed-aggregate concrete building takes full benefit of Lake Michigan with its open balconies and loggias (open-air galleries on the ground level) allowing for lovely lake views and comfortable breezes.
Historically, the building provided bathrooms and showers, medical rooms and separate courtyards for men and women with hundreds of wooden changing booths. The open courtyards no longer include wooden booths, but instead are attractively landscaped spaces with an interactive water feature (made possible by the Max Schiff Foundation).
Used by beach visitors, boaters and day campers, the facility can be reserved for special events.