State Street Going Car-Free for Open Streets Oct. 1

by crandell | 09/06/2011

What happens when people are freed from the confines of cars and crowded sidewalks and invited to take over the street? You can find out October 1 at Open Streets on State Street!

Chicago Loop Alliance (CLA), in partnership with Active Transportation Alliance (Active Trans), will transform a seven-block stretch of State Street, from Lake to Van Buren, into the ultimate urban playground for all ages, Saturday, October 1, from 10 a.m. - 3 p.m.

"Imagine State Street with joggers instead of taxi cabs and skaters instead of buses and an impromptu Yoga class instead of a traffic jam," said Active Trans Open Streets Manager Julia Kim. "We’re encouraging people to ride bikes, take a stroll, and embrace the dramatic beauty of Chicago. Open Streets brings communities together to have fun and lead active lifestyles."

The first-ever Open Streets on State Street will create a safe public space in a car-free setting where communities can connect, families and friends can exercise and play, and businesses can engage with the public. Open Streets, presented by the Illinois Center for Broadcasting, is modeled after similar car-free events held in cities around the world from New York, San Francisco and Los Angeles, to Bogota, Colombia, which holds its iconic "Ciclovia" event every Sunday of the year.

A sampling of the recreational programming being offered to the public, free of charge, at Open Streets on State Street includes:

  • Mobile skate park: While most public places prohibit skateboarding, Open Streets encourages people of all ages and ability levels to take a lesson from Character Skateboards and the Chicago Youth Skateboarding Project and watch pros skate on this street course that includes ramps, a half pipe.
  • Imagination Playground: Children, ages 3 and older, can explore this award-winning, 500-square-foot movable playground that includes blocks, crates, carts, sand and water. This innovative playground encourages children and their families to pursue healthy, safe, and educational play.
  • Scavenger hunt: discover the “hidden gems” of State Street and learn about the Loop’s history and architecture through this urban scavenger hunt. Volunteers will be on hand to assist and award a range of prizes for winners.
  • Break dancing demos: Chicago’s most acclaimed break-dancing crew, Brickheadz, will showcase some spinning, hopping, and sliding on hands, heads, shoulders and elbows. The crew will also be available for lessons for aspiring B-boys and B-girls.
  • Yoga classes: CorePower instructors will be on hand to lead impromptu yoga classes.
  • Dunking booth: Settle the score the old-fashioned way: by sending someone splashing into 500 gallons of water.

Open Streets on State Street is the culminating celebration of the summer-long "GO DO GOOD" campaign, launched by Chicago Loop Alliance and the United Way of Metropolitan Chicago in May. The campaign has become a city-wide movement inspiring the public to "do good" in tandem with artist Kay Rosen’s six-story GO DO GOOD mural on State Street, commissioned by CLA for Art Loop 2011. The public is encouraged to stop by United Way’s booth at Open Streets to learn about opportunities to do good in one’s community.

For more info, visit