North Shore Channel Trail
The Lakefront Bike Path is a nightmare of clueless pedestrians, stray dogs, unleashed children, and selfie-obsessed tourists. The Bloomingdale Trail/The 606 is worse: it has all the disadvantages of the Lakefront Path, with extra downsides all its own (its narrow confines leave nowhere for dogs to go but snarling at each other, and two sets of walking-three-abreast nitwits can totally block it). The city’s best bike path is the usually deserted North Shore Channel trail, which winds through little-used city and suburban parks along the canal. Starting at Lawrence Avenue, just west of California, head north, and after crossing Argyle, underpasses make cross-streets irrelevant all the way up to Lincoln. An awkward loop around there gets you west of the canal, and then you can ride miles north through Evanston and Skokie on a wide path with very few other people. Loads of native plant gardens, birds and wildlife, and very few people: a misanthrope’s heaven.
Best of Chicago 2015