3 Activities to Try Before Lake Michigan Freezes

As summer comes to a close and fall begins to chill the air, outdoor activities become undesirable. This is totally understandable! (Especially in Chicago and especially water activities on Lake Michigan.) However, before the weather gets too cold, there are a few ways you can enjoy the water in the windy city!

1. Navy Pier

This major tourist attraction is not only for out of town guests anymore! There are so many attractions here and many different things to eat, in addition to amazing views of Lake Michigan and the city. Some fun things to see include the Smith Museum of Stained Glass, the Chicago Children’s Museum and the Amazing Chicago’s Funhouse Maze. Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville Bar & Grill, Bubba Gump Shrimp Co., and the famous Billy Goat Tavern are only a few of the restaurants open. There is also an endless list of souvenir shops as well as other stores.

However, there are many cruises that set sail from Navy Pier and run from early April to late October, and some that run all year around! I want to take a boat ride on the lake so badly and am saving up my money to take a dinner cruise! The full list of available cruises and prices can be found here: http://www.navypier.com/things2do/boats.html

Navy Pier also has a few things open in regards to Halloween (which is approaching quickly!). One of these includes the Fear Haunted House: Zombie Containment, which is labeled “Chicago’s ONLY Floating Haunted House”. Tickets range from $12-$25 and run from October 2 through November 2.

2. Chicago Water Taxi

If you are looking for an activity with a smaller time commitment than a cruise on the lake, look no further than the Chicago Water Taxi! This handy transportation vehicle is perfect for sightseeing along the Chicago River. The best part is, passes are only $8 on weekdays and $10 on weekends! This means that you can ride as many times as you want during the day for one low price. I can’t imagine anything better than a cheap boat ride from the Museum Campus all the way to Michigan Avenue or Navy Pier!

They operate “from March to December, shuttling passengers between Chinatown and Madison Street on the south branch; La Salle Street and Michigan Avenue on the main branch, and North Avenue on the North Branch” according to their website. Learn more here: http://www.chicagowatertaxi.com/

3. Kayaking

About two weeks ago Kelly, Colleen and a few other friends and I went kayaking on Lake Michigan for two hours through our school. We had a blast! The view was amazing and the small waves added a big challenge.

Although we paddled through our school’s outdoor program, all I had to do was google “kayaking in Chicago” and www.kayakchicago.com came up! I looked around their website for a bit and found a few different tours and rentals they offer- including some along the Chicago River about where the water taxi sails! While it is a little on the pricy side, it is very worth it! You can also rent single kayaks, double kayaks and stand-up paddle boards as well, for around $20 or $30 an hour!

As I said, it is so worth it and the views of the city are unlike any you have ever seen. Here’s a few shots of us bees on the lake paddling away:

lake 2

lake 3


Special thanks to our friend Ellie for the pictures and for risking her camera’s life by bringing it out onto the lake! 🙂

So it is only September 22 and that means there is plenty of time left for outdoor activities of any kind! Chicago is such a beautiful city filled with not only things to do on the lake, but many different parks and recreational things to do and see. I plan on making the most out of the next few weekends before Chicago becomes Chiberia!



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