Views of Chicago
Montrose harbor is a large recreation area just north of downtown Chicago. Montrose point juts out into lake Michigan and provides unobstructed views of the city skyline. You can see Navy Pier, the Hancock Building, and the Willis (always Sears in my mind) Tower in one panoramic view. It’s a prime location for photography and the lake and wide open sky offer great opportunities for reflections off the water.
Photographers and nature lovers alike love this spot for enjoying the sunrise. The shape of Montrose point allows you to have the best view of the sunrise no matter the time of year. In the winter when the sunrise is more to the southeast, the point offers great views over the lake in that direction. In the summer months when the sun rises more to the northeast, the beach and dunes create a perfect foreground for enjoying the first rays of sunlight.
The Montrose Point Bird Sanctuary is a great spot to get a dose of nature. The wooded area is a resting and feeding spot for over 300 difference species of birds throughout the year. I’m not much of a ‘birder’ but I do enjoy walking the winding paths through the sanctuary and spotting a few birds, squirrels, and rabbits. The Butterfly Meadow borders the southern edge of the sanctuary and has many different native flowers and and grasses which are in peak bloom in late summer and fall. My favorite part about the bird sanctuary is how secluded you feel while walking the paths. You feel miles away from the city, yet you still get peaks of the skyline through the trees.
Montrose Beach Dunes
Between the bird sanctuary and the beach you will find Montrose Beach Dunes Natural Area. The rolling dunes are planted with different types of dune grass and a few native trees. Narrow walking paths wind through the dunes and you get different views of Lake Michigan with each turn. This is another great place to enjoy a peaceful stroll and enjoy a bit of nature.
The last reason I love Montrose Harbor is the accessibility. The harbor and connecting parks make up a huge area along the lakefront. Access to the park is relatively easy by car, bike, or on foot and there is plenty of free parking. The CTA Red Line is also relatively close and would be a short walk. The amount of recreation area combined with how accessible it is for many Chicagoans makes Montrose Harbor a real gem.