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A snowy path with a row of tall trees framing the walkway.
Milton Lee Olive Park near Navy Pier in Chicago.
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Chicago’s best places to cry in public

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Milton Lee Olive Park near Navy Pier in Chicago.
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Chicago, like many other cities, can be chaotic. Places with overbearing, tall towers and crowded, bustling sidewalks were not designed to be serene. I mean, we built an expressway along one of the most peaceful slices of real estate we have—the lakefront.

Alas, there are little safe spaces, quiet corners, and secret spots tucked away. We all need a moment to breathe, or cry, sometimes—and this list should help those who are looking for a place their hectic life on pause.

Connect with nature, escape in a stack of books, or keep out of sight in a dark theater. Weepers, criers, and anyone out of sorts are welcome—its okay to be down. What other urban places do you visit to gain perspective? Here are spots where New York, Boston, San Francisco, D.C., Philly, Detroit, and Seattle criers find particularly comforting.

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1. Skokie Lagoons

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The Cook County forest preserves offer 70,000 acres of wilderness around Chicago. Within the Erickson Woods, the Skokie Lagoons are a retreat for those who need nature to recharge. Unlike Chicago parks, there isn’t any skyline within sight. You might even find a spot on the trail where your truly alone, and let out a good cry.

2. Kathy Osterman Beach

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5800 N Lake Shore Dr
Chicago, IL 60660

This Edgewater neighborhood beach is perfect for scenic stroll to clear the mind. Walk out on the concrete breakwater to the mini lighthouse or find a spot to watch Lake Michigan near the nature area that attracts migratory birds.

3. Sunken Gardens Park

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It’s one of the tiniest parks in Chicago, but there’s something satisfying about sulking in a place like Sunken Garden Park. The Ravenswood Manor park sits right next to a piece of the Chicago River with lots of wildlife like owls, herons, and rabbits too.

4. The Logan Theatre

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2646 N Milwaukee Ave
Chicago, IL 60647
(773) 342-5555
Visit Website

Don’t want to be truly alone? Head to this neighborhood’s iconic movie theater with old school confections, late night showings, and a lounge. Architecture buffs can admire the restored stained glass arch at the entrance, restored marble walls, and a decorative relief panel from the cinema’s original 1915 interior.

5. Nature Boardwalk at Lincoln Park Zoo

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2121 N Stockton Dr
Chicago, IL 60614

The amber grasses and winding boardwalk are perfect scene for contemplation. Take a seat at a bench and gaze at the city’s skyline.

6. Navy Pier

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600 E Grand Ave
Chicago, IL 60611
(312) 595-7437
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Some might prefer to get lost in the crowd with their melancholy—Navy Pier is the place to do it. If you’re looking for a moment to let some tears fall in solitude, try a quiet corner of the Ohio Street Beach or Milton Lee Olive Park which are just adjacent to the pier. Other places you might be able to find some quiet could be the tropical Crystal Gardens or a car on the Centennial Wheel.

7. Daley Center Law Library

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50 W Washington St
Chicago, IL 60602
(312) 603-3054
Visit Website

Just need some silence? While a law library isn’t a place you can sob, it’ll do just fine for those seeking solitude. Located in the center of the Loop, you can take a moment to regroup in the rows of books during your work week.

8. An L train platform

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Ever just miss your train? The L platform is a ghost town. And actually, the same goes for any of the Metra stops. While public transportation might be a source of agony, if you time it right, it could be your moment of solace.

9. Palmisano Nature Park

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2700 S Halsted St
Chicago, IL 60608
(312) 747-6497
Visit Website

This Bridgeport park has quite a history: First, it was a coral reef, then a quarry, a landfill, and finally a park. Perhaps, its transformation over the years can inspire visitors to make their own changes. Discovering a new place could be just what you need to get out of that funk.

10. Wooded Island

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S Cornell Dr
Chicago, IL 60637
(773) 256-0903
Visit Website

Jackson Park contains meadows, gardens, walking paths, beaches, harbors, and lakefront views. One of the most peaceful areas is Wooded Island with the Japanese gardens, wooden footbridges, and bird-watching spots.

11. South Shore Nature Sanctuary

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7059 S South Shore Dr
Chicago, IL 60649
(773) 256-0149
Visit Website

The closest you’ll get to wilderness in Chicago—native trees, grasses and wildflowers grow atop a peninsula of rubble. A winding path leads to a stone fire circle which feels like a the perfect place for a true, gut-wrenching cry.

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1. Skokie Lagoons

Skokie Lagoons, Illinois

The Cook County forest preserves offer 70,000 acres of wilderness around Chicago. Within the Erickson Woods, the Skokie Lagoons are a retreat for those who need nature to recharge. Unlike Chicago parks, there isn’t any skyline within sight. You might even find a spot on the trail where your truly alone, and let out a good cry.

2. Kathy Osterman Beach

5800 N Lake Shore Dr, Chicago, IL 60660

This Edgewater neighborhood beach is perfect for scenic stroll to clear the mind. Walk out on the concrete breakwater to the mini lighthouse or find a spot to watch Lake Michigan near the nature area that attracts migratory birds.

5800 N Lake Shore Dr
Chicago, IL 60660

3. Sunken Gardens Park

Chicago, IL 60625

It’s one of the tiniest parks in Chicago, but there’s something satisfying about sulking in a place like Sunken Garden Park. The Ravenswood Manor park sits right next to a piece of the Chicago River with lots of wildlife like owls, herons, and rabbits too.

4. The Logan Theatre

2646 N Milwaukee Ave, Chicago, IL 60647

Don’t want to be truly alone? Head to this neighborhood’s iconic movie theater with old school confections, late night showings, and a lounge. Architecture buffs can admire the restored stained glass arch at the entrance, restored marble walls, and a decorative relief panel from the cinema’s original 1915 interior.

2646 N Milwaukee Ave
Chicago, IL 60647

5. Nature Boardwalk at Lincoln Park Zoo

2121 N Stockton Dr, Chicago, IL 60614

The amber grasses and winding boardwalk are perfect scene for contemplation. Take a seat at a bench and gaze at the city’s skyline.

2121 N Stockton Dr
Chicago, IL 60614

6. Navy Pier

600 E Grand Ave, Chicago, IL 60611

Some might prefer to get lost in the crowd with their melancholy—Navy Pier is the place to do it. If you’re looking for a moment to let some tears fall in solitude, try a quiet corner of the Ohio Street Beach or Milton Lee Olive Park which are just adjacent to the pier. Other places you might be able to find some quiet could be the tropical Crystal Gardens or a car on the Centennial Wheel.

600 E Grand Ave
Chicago, IL 60611

7. Daley Center Law Library

50 W Washington St, Chicago, IL 60602

Just need some silence? While a law library isn’t a place you can sob, it’ll do just fine for those seeking solitude. Located in the center of the Loop, you can take a moment to regroup in the rows of books during your work week.

50 W Washington St
Chicago, IL 60602

8. An L train platform

Chicago, IL 60602

Ever just miss your train? The L platform is a ghost town. And actually, the same goes for any of the Metra stops. While public transportation might be a source of agony, if you time it right, it could be your moment of solace.

9. Palmisano Nature Park

2700 S Halsted St, Chicago, IL 60608

This Bridgeport park has quite a history: First, it was a coral reef, then a quarry, a landfill, and finally a park. Perhaps, its transformation over the years can inspire visitors to make their own changes. Discovering a new place could be just what you need to get out of that funk.

2700 S Halsted St
Chicago, IL 60608

10. Wooded Island

S Cornell Dr, Chicago, IL 60637

Jackson Park contains meadows, gardens, walking paths, beaches, harbors, and lakefront views. One of the most peaceful areas is Wooded Island with the Japanese gardens, wooden footbridges, and bird-watching spots.

S Cornell Dr
Chicago, IL 60637

11. South Shore Nature Sanctuary

7059 S South Shore Dr, Chicago, IL 60649

The closest you’ll get to wilderness in Chicago—native trees, grasses and wildflowers grow atop a peninsula of rubble. A winding path leads to a stone fire circle which feels like a the perfect place for a true, gut-wrenching cry.

7059 S South Shore Dr
Chicago, IL 60649