Looking for an art adventure outdoors? We can’t think of a better way to get those steps in than exploring art and nature at the same time. But where do you go if you’re art-starved? Look no further than these sculpture parks and walks located around Chicagoland.
Note: We’re updating our website as quickly as we can, but changes may occur due to COVID-19. Please double check before heading out for the most updated information on hours and last-minute closings.
Number of sculptures: 30
Located just south of Chicago on the campus of Governors State University, Nathan Manilow Sculpture Park, or theNate, offers 100 acres of exploring. The sprawling sculpture park has art everybody can appreciate. As you “hunt” for these larger-than-life sculptures, you’ll no doubt appreciate the ideal setting – a prairie with blooming wildflowers and plenty of one on one time with Mother Nature. Don’t miss the larger-than-life lumberjack “Paul” (as in Paul Bunyan).
If you don’t feel like searching for the sculptures, you can download the Otocast app. Park at the Parking Lot 3 by the white sculpture. This is a great place to start your sculpture “hunt.” Parking is free and there is no admission free. Check their website for updates and guidelines. Here are more tips when visiting.
Number of sculptures: 16
Choose from either the woodchip trail or the paved trail and peruse the sculptures by local and international artists all located on 20 acres. One of our favorite sculptures is “Awakening Muse”, the 40 ft. long lady lying down with the outstretched hand.
Check out the interactive map to map your way and learn more about each piece of art. Don’t forget to say hi to the swans!
Where: Start at Gail Borden Library, 226 Grove Street, Elgin
Number of sculptures: 15
This walk has it all — sculptures, murals, a picturesque location by the Fox River and plenty of stops if you need a break. An added plus? If you have a bike, you can easily hit up all the art since a majority of it is by the Fox River Trail. Or if you don’t, you can borrow from their new bike share program. Follow along with this self-guided art walk through downtown Elgin. A fun stop includes the super cool playground at Festival Park. Have a sweet tooth? Check out the super adorable candy store, Cook’s Sweet Boutique.
Number of sculptures: 31
Taking a stroll along Naperville’s lovely Riverwalk is a good enough excuse to visit, but seeing art along the way makes it even better. With 50 total pieces in the form of sculptures murals, mosaics, and reliefs, you’re bound to find a family favorite. Scan the QR code by each sculpture and get a narrated story about the piece and artist.
Kids still have energy? Try the cool Jaycee Playground located off the Riverwalk (just west of Centennial Beach). Need a sweet treat? Get ice cream topped with cookie dough from Cookie Dough Creations or try insane cinnamon roll creations at Cinnaholic.
Number of sculptures: 18 sculptures total — 10 are permanent sculptures, 7 on rotation and 1 is on display semi-permanently.
Since most of the sculptures are located in and around Downtown Flossmoor and Leavitt Park (just a block west of downtown) you can easily park and explore the statues. If you’re looking for more art, check out the painted barrels located all over town. After getting your art fix, stay awhile and dine at Flossmoor Station, a converted train station. Kids will love seeing the train outside at the beer garden. Tip: The area has plenty of free parking including a free lot on Central Drive.
Number of sculptures: 27 sculptures total — 15 of which are seasonal and 12 are permanent
Seeing art has never been easier. Just follow the paved path around the park. (Feel free to bring bicycles or scooters too!) While you’re taking a stroll around the park, you can admire the views of the Fox River and have a picnic. Make sure to save time to play at the playground or skate park. Take a seat with the Humpty Dumpty statue, Mr. Eggwards. You can even find Humpty Dumpty’s twin Sheldon ‘Shelly’ Eggwards at another St. Charles park, Pottawatomie Park.
Where: Chicago Loop
Number of sculptures: 11
Enjoy the city and explore art at the same time. What could be better? Take a self-guided tour through the Loop and be wowed by the sculptures. Along the way, you’ll be sure to spot a few murals and other pieces of art. Take a break at Maggie Daley Park or Grant Park. “Cloud Gate,” or The Bean as its been affectionately called, at Millennium Park makes for wonderful photos
Where: McCormick Boulevard, Skokie
Number of sculptures: 60
Located along the east side of McCormick Blvd, this sculpture park showcases 60 pieces of art. Take a stroll or ride your bike along the two-mile path. If you can’t do the entire path, Try tackling a 1/2 mile section at a time. The best place to start would be the northernmost section which contains 1/3 of all the sculptures.
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