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Best Memorial Day Walks, Runs And Parades In Chicago

By Jacqueline Runice

If Memorial Day means burgers on the grill and the sight of your neighbor's pale, hairy legs emerging for the summer, why not consider really celebrating at a parade that commemorates brave soldiers or, at least, get your IT bands in gear for an official run or walk. Kick off summer in the city by biking on LSD, running your keister off or taking a moment to honor those who sacrificed for our country.

Bike the Drive

Biking is a serious cardiovascular workout that does wonders for your lower half and clears your head of  mental debris. Better yet? Glide down Lake Shore Drive, minus road raging drivers and exhaust fumes, with around 25,000 other biking enthusiasts during Bike the Drive, a once-a-year opportunity to enjoy Chicago's skyline when Lake Shore Drive is closed to cars and open to pollution-free two-wheeled vehicles. On one Sunday morning of the year, cycle on all lanes of Lake Shore Drive for a 30-mile route (there's also a 15-mile option if you began training last week or so). It's held rain or shine, so don't turn back home if you see a couple of raindrops, and there are rest stops with water, food and facilities, too. The event begins at 5:30 a.m. on May 27 and there's a post-ride festival at Butler Field. By the way, Chicago has been named the #1 bicycling city in the country by Bicycling Magazine.

Soldier Field 10 Mile
Soldier Field
1410 S Museum Campus Drive
Chicago, IL 60605
(312) 235-7000

On May 26, the USATF-certified Soldier Field 10 mile steps off on a course that highlights the city's iconic attractions and finishes in Soldier Field. There will be aid stations along course routes and a post-race party that includes music, food and congratulations with a Soldier Field 10 Mile medal for all finishers.  A 15-minute mile pace or faster is required for the race.

Ridge Run & Parade
Ridge Park
9625 S. Longwood Drive
Chicago, IL 60643
(773) 233–3100

The 41st Annual Ridge Run takes place on Memorial Day, Monday, May 28, 2018 as more than 3,000 sets of hamstrings meet in Beverly/Morgan Park for the 10K run, 5K run/walk and Youth Mile hosted by the Beverly Area Planning Association with Little Company of Mary Hospital sponsoring the race. Ridge Run features thousands of area neighbors playing tunes, supplying water and cheering on runners along the route. The course runs through the center of the gorgeous residential Ridge Historic District and offers the challenge of Chicago's highest hill. The Beverly Hills/Morgan Park/Mount Greenwood Memorial Day Parade, one of Chicago's oldest community parades, follow Ridge Run.

Related:  Best Locally Owned Coffee Shops In Chicago

Chicago's Memorial Day Parade
Daley Plaza to State Street between Lake and Van Buren Street
Chicago, IL 60601
(312) 744-3316

Chicago's Memorial Day Parade honors those Americans who made the ultimate sacrifice in defense of the United States and it's particularly poignant this year when the country is so divided. The Wreath Laying Ceremony  takes place at 11a.m. on Daley Plaza (Dearborn and Washington St). The parade begins at noon and proceeds south to State St. traveling between Lake and Van Buren St. The ceremony honors those fallen as well as Gold Star family members who have lost a loved one in combat or while on active duty. Families receive Gold Star Lapel Pins and the Next of Kin Lapel Pins as symbols of honor which will be worn  in remembrance of their loved ones.

Salute, Inc. Memorial Day Weekend 10K/5K
Recreation Park
500 E. Miner St.
Arlington Heights, IL 60004
(847) 359-8811

Salute, Inc has punctuated Memorial Day weekend for the past 15 years, allowing runners to offer more than bragging rights. This is the race that actually started SALUTE, INC. as a charity organization that assists military families. The race, either a 5K or 10K run or a 5K walk, takes place on May 27 and starts and ends at Recreation Park in Arlington Heights. There's a free pancake breakfast to everyone registered (gotta love the carbs) and spectators can purchase their pancake breakfast for $5. There will be water stations at each mile of the professionally timed USAT certified course and expect flat roads. Trophies go to top male and female finishers at the conclusion of the race and the top three finishers in each age category snag a medal.Arlington Heights Mayor Tom Hayes, a veteran and long distance runner, will donate $5 to SALUTE, INC. for anyone who beats his time.

Related: Best Places To Meet New People In Chicago

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