Best People-Watching - 2013
The Chain of Lakes
Did we choose the Chain of Lakes as winner in this category solely because of the opportunity it provides to ogle buff, nearly naked bodies as they run, skate, and sunbathe near the water during summer? No — not entirely. But we'll admit that's a big part of the reason, especially as the lakes afford such good cover for observing your fellow citizens. The area is beautiful even without people in the picture, and as long as you're not obnoxious about your staring, it's hard for passersby to know exactly which part of the scenery you're checking out. And the lakes attract pretty much everyone to their lovely shores: young and old, singes and families, people of all local cultures. Even in the winter you'll find plenty of humanity in the area, keeping up on their exercise and enjoying the relative peace and quiet. You could even happen upon a professional dance performance out on the ice of Lake Harriet (there was one this past winter), or ice fishermen bundled in their snowsuits on Calhoun. But of course it's when the water isn't frozen that you'll find the most to see: sailors, kayakers, lovebirds out for a stroll. Just keep this in mind as you sit on a bench taking it all in: If you can't spot the weirdo in the crowd, it's you.