Japanese bridge at Osaka Garden in Jackson Park. The Museum of Science and Industry is in the background.

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This 550-acre, lakefront green space is a gem. Designed by Frederick Law Olmsted, renowned creator of New York City's Central Park, it comprises bird-rich lagoons, busy boat harbors, sweet-smelling meadows, the Garden of the Phoenix, 63rd Street Beach and a golf course. Historically, it's where the city held the 1893 World’s Expo, when Chicago introduced the world to wonders such as the Ferris wheel, moving pictures and the zipper.

The Museum of Science & Industry sits in the park's northern reach. The new Barack Obama Presidential Center complex is set to open on the park's western edge between 60th and 63rd Sts sometime after 2021.

If you're looking for a nice walk, Jackson Park connects to Washington Park via a mile-long boulevard called the Midway Plaisance. The Plaisance itself is basically a park, home to an ice rink and college students kicking around soccer balls in the grassy expanse.