Lake Michigan and Labor Day Weekend

Chicago emptied out some over Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. Large rollerbags and their owners fill aisles of the Blue and Orange Lines. Some restaurants and independently-owned stores close for the long weekend or take a proper, well-deserved week away. The highways are even more congested than usual — to Rockford, to Wisconsin, to Indiana, to Iowa, to any place not-Chicago.

Those of us who remain, however, enjoy the last sweet breath of summertime — Labor Day Weekend.

Many of us, I predict, will spend some time this weekend at (or if you’re luckier, on) our city’s treasure… the Lake. That’s Lake Michigan.

[vimeo w=500&h=280]

This video vignette making the social media rounds quite deservedly underlines why, if you visit Chicago, you want to get on a boat.

But if you’re landlocked like 99% of us plebians, there are still plenty of ways to enjoy the Lake.

Because post-Great Chicago Fire, architect and urban planner Daniel Burnham put forth a vision of a lakefront greenspace for all to enjoy. This treasured greenspace is at once a few things in its magnificence: gymnasium, picnic area, bar, tanning bed, reading room, and above all in my eyes, spiritual center.

There’s the active set on the bike trail: runners in increasing wattages of florescent high performance clothing, rollerbladers with wide-legged strides that seem to warrant their own lane, bikers resplendent in spandex and calling out “On your left” to errant pedestians. Volleyballers string up their nets on the sand (yes, we have a beach). Softballers kick up dust on the diamonds, waiting for the pitch. We’ve got families, we’ve got folks on teams, in pairs and alone. The Lake is a place where we can be alone, and alone together.

We do swim in it. Notgonnalie, the water is not crystal clear. The guys, the gals strap on their suits and slather on their sunblock. Stay away from the water at the doggie beach and what I fondly call the soggy diaper area. You’ll know what I mean.

And there are innumerable of us, just looking out towards it, contemplating own own problems against its vastness or thinking about nothing at all upon its lovely breeze.

Added, August 31, 2014. Here are a few pictures I took on a bike ride yesterday.

Chicago Summers.

Oak Street Beach, John Hancock, Lake Shore Drive, Chicago, USA.


Sunset skies over Lake Michigan, Chicago. Perfect.


I’d stop to skip rocks with my feet in the water then noticed the sky changed colors again. Chicago, USA.


Sweet little dollops of a cloud. And everyone enjoying the day and the Lake. Chicago, USA.

#hyperlapse #chicago Lake Michigan, our treasure...

A post shared by Sarahlynn Pablo (@sarahlynneats) on

Rare wave clouds in the center left there.

Rare wave clouds in the center left there.


4 thoughts on “Lake Michigan and Labor Day Weekend

  1. Nice read as always. I’ve always appreciated the fact that throughout my life I never really lived more than about a mile from the lakeshore. I recall as a young adult learning that Chicago was much more of beach town than say, San Francisco. Chicago to me is undoubtably the most amazing city of the Industrial Age. For over a hundred years a city for the public. Now with such privitization underway the city has certainly taken a turn away from the people. It remains to be seen what the age of information will bring us. So far all I see is big brother. Nonetheless I was very happy to see Chicago revitalize the lakefront with a Burnham plan that was almost 100 years old that seemed to be a ghost of the past. Almost a homage to Chicago’s prior century of greatness.

    • Well said, friend. Thank you for the read and the comment. Indeed in the past I believe Chicago was much marketed as a beach town with all the cultural benefits of a big city. While I love Logan Square, I very much miss my Lake being right there out the window, outside my door whenever I need (turns out to be often).

      I hope the people in charge and the rest of us keep the best (or demand for) of our Industrial Age heritage and yet innovate for our times today.

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