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Pokémon Go is Getting Chicagoans Outside in a Big Way

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Parks throughout Chicago are seeing a huge influx of visitors since the release of Pokémon Go

Have you taken a stroll through your neighborhood park lately? Odds are you’ve probably seen a few people standing around looking at their phones. It’s only been a couple of weeks since Pokémon Go hit the various app stores but it’s already made a huge impact not only on Nintendo’s bottom line, but how people are interacting with public spaces. The game forces people to get outside, explore various parks and hot spots around their city, and yes, to interact with strangers. Chicago parks are seeing an influx of people seeking Pokémon, as some of the more rare ones can only be found in certain areas.

I can't believe we actually had a legit Pokemon party. LOL @mrdannyhe #pokemongo #pokemongochicago

A photo posted by lana (@lana__gia) on

This past weekend, thousands of people gathered at Millennium Park for Chicago’s first official Pokémon Go meet up. However, due to the number of people at the event combined with the launch in Canada, Pokémon Go’s servers were down for most of the afternoon. It didn’t stop people from attending and repping their team though.

#pokemongo #pokemongochicago #pokemongochi

A photo posted by Mattist (@mattistk) on

There are also a couple of Facebook groups and even a Reddit group where Chicagoans can share screenshots, tips on where to catch rare Pokémon, and photos showing dozens of people hanging out in Humboldt Park during the evenings trying to catch Pikachus.

And while there have been many positive benefits of the Pokémon Go craze, there are certainly some issues. Some gyms are located in bizarre places like alleys and in front of peoples’ homes, causing concerns for security and safety. Other popular Pokéstops and gyms have become covered with garbage.

While the Pokémon Go craze is exactly that—a craze—it’ll certainly keep Chicagoans outdoors for the rest of the summer. It’s been a long time since Chicago parks have seen so much consistent action, but the trend will likely continue so long as there are rare Pokémon hidden in them.