a view of the lake from within Loyola Park chicago
Credit: Alanscottwalker/Wikimedia Commons via CC BY-SA 3.0

I like to lay out a blanket in a city park and smoke a fat Backwood under the sun just as much as the next guy. I don’t like the low hum of anxiety I feel when I’m smacked and alone around too many people who aren’t smoking too. Once I’m properly high, if I see a few middle school kids sitting under a tree nearby or notice the delicious waft of my strain traveling closer to a large family hosting a carne asada, my own anxiety ruins the high. But I’m determined to smoke outdoors.

The “private” beach on Pratt, aka the one that sits secluded behind some trees near the intersection of Sheridan and Pratt, is, frankly, my safe space. It’s only a safe space for two to three months at a time when it’s warm enough to go outside, but it’s intimate and quiet. The small beach is divided into three parts with a lot of trees and shrubs providing shade around the perimeter of the sand. The trees offer an abundance of places to choose to be tucked away and not be too visible. But even if you are in someone’s line of sight, Pratt is much more sparsely populated than Warren Park or Foster Beach, two other spots I’ve smoked at up north that always have me looking around jittery and concerned.

It’s a beach that gets forgotten by many Chicago residents who live too far away from Rogers Park to consider it as an option. Well, to that I say: More beach for me.

With a reminder that public consumption is still technically illegal in the city of Chicago, Tobey Prinz Beach Park (Pratt Beach) is located at 1045 W. Pratt

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