HUMBOLDT PARK — Chicago's only inland beach will open to the public Friday, according to Chicago Park District officials.
The beach is part of 219 total park acres, including the field house and fitness center, two gymnasiums and meeting rooms and a lagoon. A former lagoon itself, the beach is drained and refilled each year during summer months.
The beach opening coincides with the 32nd annual Puerto Rican Festival. The community event celebrating Puerto Rican culture and heritage will kick off at Division and California streets and run from 3 to 10 p.m. Thursday and Friday, and 12 to 10 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.
Additional features of the park, named for Alexander Von Humboldt, a German naturalist and geographer, include an artificial turf soccer field, junior soccer field, lagoon, a replica of the Chicago Cubs stadium (“Little Cubs Field") and the Puerto Rican Arts and Culture Museum. There are also baseball fields, tennis courts and playgrounds.
With the support of the community, Puerto Rican leaders in Chicago leased the historic Humboldt Park stables near Paseo Boricua that house the Institute of Puerto Rican Arts and Culture. It is the only museum in the nation that is completely dedicated to the history of Puerto Rican culture.