Humboldt Park

sights / Parks & gardens

Humboldt Park information

Location
Chicago , USA
Address
1440 N Humboldt Dr
Getting there
Bus: 70 or 72
More information
www.chicagoparkdistrict.com
Something wrong?
Submit a correction

This 207-acre park, which lends its name to the surrounding neighborhood, comes out of nowhere and gobsmacks you with Mother Nature. A lagoon brushed by native plants takes up much of the green space, and birdsong flickers in the air. The 1907 Prairie School boathouse rises up from the lagoon’s edge and serves as the park’s showpiece.

A gravel path takes off from the boathouse and circles the water, where you’ll sometimes see people fishing. Across the street, on the northwest corner of Humboldt Dr and Division St, lies the Formal Garden , rich with jelly-bean-colored flower beds and bison sculptures (by Edward Kemeys, the gent who hewed the Art Institute lions). It’s a fine place to sit and smell the roses. Just south, the Institute of Puerto Rican Arts and Culture has cool free exhibits ongoing.

The park was built in 1869 and named for German naturalist Alexander von Humboldt. Landscape architect Jens Jensen gave it its 'prairie style' design, using native plants and stone, in the early 1900s. The park has gone through some rough times since then. It has only come into its own again in the past decade. While it’s family-filled by day, it’s still pretty rough and best avoided at night (unless there's a free outdoor movie or music event happening).

Street vendors and food trucks sell fried plantains, meat dumplings and other Puerto Rican specialities around the park's edges. Many congregate on Kedzie Ave at North Ave and at Hirsch St – sniff them out for a picnic. The annual Riot Fest punk music bash takes over the park in mid-September.

For more in-depth explorations, including the park's wee waterfall, wind turbine and picnic island, download the free audio tour at www.chicagoparkdistrict.com/audio-tours/humboldt-park.