Lake Shore Drive playlist

Lake Shore Drive, facing south and approaching Oak Street.


More travelers are taking to the open road these days, whether out of a sense of safety or the fact that many borders and air routes are temporarily closed. Music can provide the perfect companion, even when one’s journey is local in nature. Here’s one driving playlist, which salutes Chicago’s lakefront.

Lake Shore Drive, a 16-mile sweep alongside beaches, grassy parkland and magnificent architecture, is the focus of this exhilarating playlist. It begins with sunrise over Lake Michigan, accompanied by Carl Nielsen’s Helios Overture. Heading south, the journey passes Lincoln Park Zoo (Saint-Saëns’s Carnival Of The Animals) and Navy Pier, with its annual July Fourth celebrations (Stravinsky’s Fireworks).

Listen for tributes to the Art Institute of Chicago (selections from Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition), the Museum of Science and Industry (Richard Strauss’ Of Science and Learning from Also sprach Zarathustra), and the urban — even Parisian — glamour of the Gold Coast (Gershwin’s An American in Paris). Selections by Prokofiev and Augusta Read Thomas celebrate both composers’ guest appearances at Orchestra Hall. After the muscular sweep of Tchaikovsky’s Fourth Symphony, the journey ends at Soldier Field with, naturally, the Chicago Bears’ fight song.