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The Park District of Highland Park is home to beautiful natural areas, historic parks and award winning beaches that physically define much of Highland Park’s physical character.  Together, these areas provide a unique mix of ecological, recreational, aesthetic and educational value that is an integral part of the historical, cultural and natural resources of the community. Find your closest park and start exploring TODAY!

Park Listing

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The Park District of Highland Park operates and manages over 700 acres of land in 44 park areas including three off-leash dog parks and four lakefront beaches.  Explore the district’s unique historic parks.  For a complete listing of parks, locations and amenities, click here

Visitor Information

  • Park are open from dawn to dusk
  • Play at your own risk
  • Dogs must be leashed and cleaned up after in all areas not designated as off-leash dog parks
  • No smoking (including e-cigarettes), firearms, or alcohol are allowed on park property
  • Permits are required for groups of twelve or more. For permit information, call 847.579.3125
  • Golfing is prohibited in park
  • No motorized vehicles on grass or paths
  • Glass containers are prohibited in park
  • Dumping and littering is prohibited in park
  • The Park District of Highland Park utilizes Strike Guard, a state-of-the art lightning detection system that sounds when lightning is in the area. Strike Guard sensors are located at: Sunset Valley Golf Course, Hidden Creek AquaPark, Deer Creek/Larry Fink Memorial Park, West Ridge Park, Park Avenue Boating Facility, Centennial Ice Arena , Sunset Woods Park, Recreation Center of Highland Park, and Heller Nature Center.
    Please take appropriate shelter when the warning signals are activated. If the weather is threatening but no warning signal is heard or seen, use good judgment and clear the area. Do not wait for the warning signal to activate.
  • In parks with athletic fields:
    • Permit holders have priority use as scheduled
    • Use of ball fields is prohibited if field conditions are unable to support play.

If you see equipment that is broken or a hazard in any part of the park, please call the safety hotline at 847.831-3968

For emergencies, call 911


For more information and a complete listing of park rules go to Park Ordinance Information

Progress is in Progress! 

The Park District will regularly post improvement updates happening in the parks. Below is a list of scheduled and/or ongoing projects.

Please contact with any questions.


Danny Cunniff Park

Gazebo and Fishing Dock

The fishing dock at Danny Cunniff Park is currently closed off due to changes in level on the dock platform.


The Park District is working with a structural engineering firm to evaluate the structural integrity of the 31-year-old gazebo and fishing dock.

Larry Fink Park

Tennis Court Improvements

The project will refresh the courts with a new color coat and striping.


The color and striping is to be completed by Mid-Ocotber. Courts are currently closed.

Cloverdale Park

Tennis Court Improvements

The project includes new tennis court permeter fencing and resurfacing of the courts.


  • Project Start: Early September
  • Target Completion: Mid-October

The courts will be closed during the time of construction. Updates to the timeline will be posted here.

Heller Nature Center

Teams Course

Heller Nature Center’s teams course has exciting updates! The project scope includes new course elements to enhance the team building program and the addition of crate staking to broaden adventure offerings. The project also includes accessible pathways and bus drop off and pick up.

New Elements

  • Crate stacking:  A fun alternative to rock wall climbing. Participants are harnessed in and are

    Crate Stacking with PDHP Trekkers Camp

    belayed by their team and a skilled staff member. The objective is to stack as many plastic milk crates as possible and stand on the top. The challenge is to place the next crate and transfer footings without losing balance or knocking over the whole tower.

  • Nitro Crossing: Participants must pass over an imaginary canyon transporting everyone safely using only a swinging rope and each other.
  • Wild Woozy: A unique low rope activity that challenges participants to move along a set of diverging cable as far as they can, while maintaining contact with a partner. The rest of the group provides the all-important safety net, by spotting.
  • Trestle Walk: Participant crosses by stepping on planks to complete activity.
  • Tension Traverse: Two ropes that go across from pole to pole at an angle and meet in the middle to form an X. The bottom portion of the rope is affixed to a foot cable.


The Project is complete! See completed pictures below.

New Crate Stacking Element at the Heller Nature Center Teams Course

New Wild Woozy Element at the Heller Nature Center Teams Course

Teams Course accessible paths

Interested in the Heller Teams Course? Contact Heller Nature Center (847-433-6901) for more information and to book a teams experience.

Kennedy Park

Basketball Court Improvements

The project includes repaving of the court, coloring and striping.



Old Elm Park

Tennis Court Improvements

The project includes new tennis court permeter fencing, resurfacing of the courts, and striping for tennis and pickleball.


Paving is done fence done waiting for color


  • Project Start: Early September
  • Target Completion: Mid-  October

The courts will be closed during the time of construction. Updates to the timeline will be posted here.

Woodridge Park

Basketball Court Improvements

The project will refresh the court with a new color coat and striping.


The color and striping is to be completed by Mid-Ocotber.

For more information on other larger projects visit the Capital Project Update page.

General Park Use Permits

Groups of 12 or more wishing to use park grounds or picnic in the park are required to secure a permit prior to their visit. There is designated group picnicking in Danny Cunniff, Larry Fink Memorial, Rosewood and Sunset Woods Parks. Sunset Woods Park has two open-sided pavilions available for use by groups of up to 100, and Danny Cunniff Park has a pavilion for groups of 50 or less. The District’s park ranger and City police patrol and check for valid permit holders. Only residents may make reservations beginning Monday, March 6. Open reservations start Wednesday, April 5.

 Permit Process  & Fees
Applications for permits must be done in-person at West Ridge Center, 636 Ridge Road, at least 10 days prior to the picnic date to secure a permit. Application hours: Mon-Thu, 8:30am-6:30pm
Fri, 8:30am-5pm
Sat, 9am-noon

Athletic Field Use Permits

 NEW! For the safety of our dog park members and their pets, an electronic fob system has been installed at the Debbie Gottlieb Beitler Dog Park at Larry Fink Memorial Park.

Two  dog parks and one dog beach are available to registered members:

  • Debbie Gottlieb Beitler Dog Park at Larry Fink Memorial Park – open year round (701 Deer Creek Parkway)  a relaxed park-like atmosphere with two off-leash exercise areas, depending on the size of your dog.
  • Moraine Beach – open mid-April through mid-November* (2501 Sheridan Road)  a beautiful view and opportunity for your dog to cool off in Lake Michigan.
  • Highland Park Golf Learning Center – open mid-December through mid-March* (2205 Skokie Valley Highway)  a large venue for your dog to run off some of that cabin fever energy. There are two off-leash exercise areas available, depending on the size of your dog.                                                                                                                                    

   *Opening and closing dates are weather dependent.

Woofstock_30Membership Registration

  • Membership is required for admittance in the dog parks and beach. You will receive a key fob membership card within then business days of registration. You must carry this key fob membership card with you when visiting all off-leash dog park areas.
  • Registration can be completed online or in person at Heller Nature Center.
  • Membership is valid for a 12-month period from date of purchase.

Membership Fees

  • Resident: $50 first dog ($25 each additional dog). Must provide 2016-17 City of Highland Park dog tag number.
  • Nonresident: $150 first dog ($75 each additional dog). Must provide current rabies vaccination tag number. A parking sticker will be provided for use of Moraine Beach dog park.

Hours of Operation

  • Dog parks and beach are are open from dawn until dusk 7 days a week.
  • The parks and beach will close periodically for cleaning and maintenance.


  • Locked off-leash exercise area, accessible only with key fob membership card at Debbie Gottlieb Park.
  • Wash station available mid-April through October at Moraine Beach and Debbie Gottlieb Park.
  • Picnic tables & benches at Debbie Gottlieb Park.
  • Pickup bag dispensers and trash receptacles.

The dog parks and beach are the ONLY Park District locations that dogs are allowed off-leash.  We want all of our guests to have fun and be safe; rules and regulations will be strictly enforced. Dog owner cooperation and compliance is the key to the success of this program.

Rules and Regulations

  • Presentation of your key fob membership card is required for use of the parks and is not transferable.
  • Owners/handlers are solely responsible for damage or injury caused by their dogs to another dog, person or park property.
  • Dogs must be fully immunized and display City of Highland Park and rabies tags.
  • Maximum of two dogs per person on any single visit.
  • Dogs known to be aggressive are prohibited. Be prepared to leash your dog if it becomes aggressive.
  • Dogs must wear collars at all times. Spiked or pinch collars are prohibited.
  • Owners are responsible for immediately cleaning up and properly disposing of waste.
  • Children must be at least 10 years of age to enter the off-leash area and must be closely supervised.
  • Appropriate dog park behavior: no running, no chasing dogs, and no petting of other dogs unless permission is requested from owner first.
  • Food is prohibited in the off-leash area.
  • • Dogs must be leashed at all times when outside the off-leash area. Fines up to $500. City Ord. 61-09, J.35, p. 193-219 (Passed 10/26/09), Park District Ordinance No. 01-04, SECTION 2.03.

At any given time, the Park District is managing and working on numerous projects to maintain and improve our nine facilities and 44 parks and natural areas. The Capital Plan is designed to outline current and anticipated needs of the district, as well as provide a window into ongoing or in-progress projects. Below is a listing of current projects. Check back for details and progress. For improvements at your neighborhood park click here.

Park Avenue Beach Breakwater/Barge Project

Sunset Valley Golf Course Renovation

For information on major projects recently completed, click on the link below.

Kennedy Park Playground Replacement Project

Parks & Golf Operations Center

Recreation Center of Highland Park Renovation

Rosewood Beach Improvements

Sleepy Hollow Bridge Replacement

For future projects and long range planning efforts check out PDHP’s master plan Greenprint 2024, approved in December 2015.

Outdoor Ice Skating  

The outdoor rink is closed for the 2018 season.

Sunset Woods ParkSW_IceRink_trees
1801 Sunset Road
Hours: 9am-9pm daily (rink is lit by existing park lights)

Skating is free and the rink is sectioned off to allow for separate hockey and recreational skating. Groups should be considerate of one another. NEW! For the safety of our patrons, helmets are required in the hockey rink.

There is no supervision or skate rental at the outdoor rink. Anyone using the ice rink should be aware that the risk of injury is present. The Park District encourages everyone to participate in this activity in a safe manner and suggests that children be supervised by a responsible adult.

Seasonal Opening of the Outdoor Rink

When weather conditions allow (an average temperature of 20 degrees Fahrenheit or colder for 5 consecutive days, 5-6 inches of ground frost), park district staff will begin flooding the ice rink at Sunset Woods Park. It takes four 24-hour days to spray and freeze the water to create a base and finish ice.

Throughout the season, the rink may be closed for snow removal or unsafe ice conditions. Sign up for the Rainout Line and get up-to-date information on the outdoor rink status.

Outdoor Sled Hill 

Danny Cunniff Park
2700 Trail Way Street (located toward the back of the park, just south of Centennial Ice Arena)
Hours: No set hoursWinterFest_Sledders_49

The sled hill is free and open to the public. Please be aware that there is no supervision or warming facility at the sled hill. The Park District of Highland Park encourages everyone to participate in this activity in a safe manner and to follow these safety guidelines:

  • Children should be supervised by a responsible adult.
  • The user assumes full responsibility for determining if the Sled
  • Hill is safe to use.
  • Use the Sled Hill at your own risk.
  • Walk to the top of the Sled Hill along the fenced sides of the hill to avoid collisions.
  • Use caution when sledding and be considerate of others.
  • Sled down the hill only when it is clear of other sledders.

Throughout the season, the sled hill may be closed from time to time. Sign up for the Rainout Line and get up-to-date information on the sled hill and outdoor ice rink status.