Did you know Chicago has an inland beach? I didn't, and I grew up near Chicago and even studied Chicago history in college. We also went swimming at least a few times a summer at the lakefront, yet I don't think my Mom even knew about Chicago's inland beach.

When you think of swimming in Chicago, you probably think of swimming along the lakefront, either at Oak Street Beach or a little further north on North Avenue Beach. Perhaps you even think of heading to Indiana and swimming at the Indiana Dunes. You probably don't think of heading to one of Chicago's urban parks and swimming in the lagoon.

And yet, after a four-year hiatus this summer, swimming at Chicago's inland beach is back. Don't get me wrong—maybe it's a big deal for the residents of Humboldt Park, near the inland beach. Yet, for many Chicagoans and most tourists, it probably isn't.

Chicago's inland beach, officially called Humboldt Park Beach, is located in the 1400 block of North Sacramento on the city's west side. According to WGN television, it will open with the rest of the City's beaches and pools next Monday, June 17, 2024, for the first time in four years.

Staffing issues since the COVID-19 days have kept the beach closed. However, the Chicago Park District says they got a great response recruiting lifeguards over the past several months, which makes it possible to re-open the beach.

The beach is part of a couple of lagoons and a river in Humboldt Park, a 207-acre park located at 1400 North Sacramento Avenue on Chicago's west side. William Le Baron Jeney originally designed the park in the 1870s, and then landscape architects like Jens Jensen made significant additions to the park over the next few decades.

Jensen built a fieldhouse, a boathouse, and a music pavilion at the park. In 2018, the Chicago Park District and other foundations improved the formal garden named for Jensen.

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For swimming, The Chicago Park District says crews have removed vegetation from the swimming area, groomed the sand, and will begin water testing services next week to ensure the water is safe for swimmers.

Additionally, the beach swimming area has been separated from the rest of the park's lagoon system, and a 10-foot-deep water pocket and aeration bubbler system were installed to keep oxygen at reasonable levels, discourage harmful algae growth, and keep the water cool. The beach area will also be replenished with new sand and native vegetation to combat pollutants.

The Chicago Park District says, " The revamped natural swimming pond and beach area is an innovative design that is low-maintenance, chemical-free, and environmentally sustainable."

Should you visit and swim there? Visiting, yes. Swimming, no. Chicago's parks are lovely, and there are many great ones. So, checking out the park and the Institute of Puerto Rican Arts and Culture located in the park's former stables can make for a fun afternoon. Yet, if you're coming to Chicago and want to hit the beach, skip the lagoon and head to the lakefront.

The world is filled with ponds, small lakes, large lakes, and many man-made water wonders, like the lagoons in Humboldt Park. So, if you find yourself in Chicago and want to hit the beach, you should head to the lake and hang out at one of Chicago's lakefront beaches.

That said, the fact that Chicago has an inland beach is pretty cool for those who live near Humboldt Park and a cool bit of knowledge for the rest of us.

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