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Parks

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!

Parks are open with some restrictions.  Please see the General Parks Information page for details.

Park Listing

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All Park District of Highland Park playgrounds are now open. We are committed to the health and safety of everyone who visits our parks.   Please follow these safety guidelines:

  • Be sure to use hand sanitizer before and after use.
  • As a reminder, do not visit parks, playgrounds, or Park District facilities if you have, or are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms.     
  • Park bathrooms and water fountains remain closed until further notice. 

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

  • Parks 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 parks
  • No motorized vehicles on grass or paths
  • Glass containers are prohibited in parks
  • Dumping and littering are prohibited in our parks. 
  • 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
    • The 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. Thank you for your patience as the District makes improvements to the parks.

Please contact planning@pdhp.org with any questions.

 


Danny Cunniff Park

Additional Pickleball Striping

Pickleball lines will be added to the north bay of tennis courts at Danny Cunniff Park as well as net anchors to adjust the net. Once complete the courts can be used to play pickleball and tennis.   

Courts 1-4 will be closed starting Tuesday, October 19 through Wednesday, October 20 to stripe the courts.  Thank you for your patience!

Questions? Please contact Mike Evans, Landscape Architect, at mevans@pdhp.org.


 Millard Park

Portion of the Bluff Path and Benches Temporarily Closed.

Portions of the bluff path at Millard Park, as well as the benches directly along the bluff, are temporarily blocked off due to erosion on the bluff and possible unstable conditions at the top of the bluff.  Please follow detour signs for available paths through the park.

Bluff Management:

Bluffs are naturally an ecosystem of disturbance. Once made unstable through failure at the toe or slippage on the slope, bluff disturbance tends to continue until the area reaches its “angle of repose” or relative stability. This may appear as a small surficial slump on the bluff or full toe to crest slip failures.

Current Efforts:

The District is working with an engineering and geotechnical firm to evaluate the trajectory of this natural process to determine recommended management for public safety and protection of resources. During the evaluation, because the stability of the bluff is unknown, the path is closed.

Questions? Please contact Dan Voss, Director of Parks, at dvoss@pdhp.org.

 Click here to review the District’s Beach Management Plan.


The Preserve

Highland Park Woods Restoration 

Park District staff and volunteers have been removing invasive buckthorn shrubs in Highland Park Woods, the woodland area on the east side of Community Park. With the removal of invasive species and the return of sunlight to the woodland floor, we look forward to enjoying the regeneration of native wildflowers in spring!

If you are interested in volunteer workdays, please contact Liz Ricketts at ericketts@pdhp.org.


Sunset Woods Tree Care

This fall, the District treated/retreated approximately 65 trees in Sunset Woods Park identified as susceptible to, or recovering from, Armillaria fungal disease. Of these, approximately 20 trees were also treated to control the two-lined chestnut borer. Health of the trees will be monitored during the growing season in 2021 and next steps determined.

Questions? Please contact Rebecca Grill, Natural Areas Manager, at rgrill@pdhp.org.

For more information about Armillaria click here.

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 ambassador and City police patrol and check for valid permit holders.

Permit Process  & Fees
Applications for permits must be done in-person at the Recreation Center of Highland Park, 1207 Park Avenue West, at least 10 days prior to the picnic date to secure a permit. Application hours:

Mon-Thu: 5:30 am – 7:30 pm
Fri: 5:30 am – 2 pm
Sat & Sun: 7 am – 1 pm

 

Dog parks are available to registered members:

Debbie Gottlieb Beitler Dog Park 
(in Larry Fink Memorial Park, 701 Deer Creek Parkway)
Open year round.  A relaxed park-like atmosphere with two off-leash exercise areas, depending on the size of your dog. 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.

Moraine Dog Beach
Currently Closed. Due to heavy rains in the area and for the safety of our residents, Moraine Dog Beach is closed.  Portions of the path leading to the beach have eroded. 

Highland Park Golf Learning Center (2205 Skokie Valley Highway)
Open mid-December through mid-March (dates are weather dependent).   A large outdoor 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.                   


Woofstock_30Membership Registration

  • Membership is required for admittance in the dog parks. You will receive a key fob membership card within ten 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.
  • Membership is valid for a 12-month period from date of purchase.

Membership Fees

  • Resident: $50 first dog ($25 each additional dog). Must provide 2020-21 City of Highland Park dog tag number.
  • Nonresident: $150 first dog ($75 each additional dog). Must provide current rabies vaccination tag number.

Hours of Operation

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

DSC02883Amenities

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

The dog parks 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

Membership may be revoked if rule is violated.

  • 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.
  • Designated small dog areas are reserved for dogs 25 pounds or less.
  • 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.

The sled hill and outdoor rinks are closed for the season.  See you next winter. 

Outdoor Ice Skating  

 For status updates on the Sunset Woods Park outdoor skating rink, please check the Rainout Line 

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.