10 Best Places To Fly A Drone In Illinois (2024)

David Cassiel

In this article, we’ve scouted out the best places to fly a drone in Illinois.

Illinois is a fantastic vacation spot in the summer, but the state’s numerous cultural attractions and fantastic shopping make it a delightful location to come year-round.

The most popular city is Chicago, attracts drone pilots and tourists from all around the country and the world. The greatest dining, shopping, and cultural opportunities in the state may be found in the city.

The state capital of Springfield is another city with a ton of attractions, including the Dana-Thomas House and the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum.

In this article, I will reveal to you where to fly your drone in Illinois, as well as where it is permitted and not permitted by the law to fly a drone. I will also offer regulatory guidance to assist you in maintaining compliance with federal, state, and local laws.

Regulations In Illinois

The federal drone laws governing drone operations in Illinois, which were created by the Federal Aviation Administration, classify drone operations as either recreational or commercial.

Federal Regulations In Illinois

Recreational drone pilots are subject to the FAA rules for recreational flyers, which require them to register their drones if they weigh more than 250 g and complete The Recreational UAS Safety Test (TRUST) before they can operate their drone for recreational purposes in the United States of America.

Commercial drone pilots are subject to FAA rules for commercial pilots, which require them to follow The Part 107 regulations, complete a multiple-choice exam, and earn a drone pilot certification from the FAA before they can operate their drone for commercial purposes in the United States of America.

Downtown Chicago Skyscraper Cityscape along the Chicago River. Typical yellow Tourboat cruising on the Chicago River towards the Michigan Lake. Chicago, Illinois, USA.
Best places to fly a drone in illinois.
Downtown Chicago Skyscraper Cityscape along the Chicago River.

When flying within five miles of an airport, drone pilots are no longer needed to independently contact air traffic control. Instead, to obtain airspace authorization to fly in regulated airspace near and above numerous airports, both commercial and leisure fliers can use the automated LAANC system. You must apply for airspace authorization if you are operating in Class B, C, D, or E regulated airspace. In areas where LAANC is not available, you can use FAA Drone Zone or LAANC.

Interested in becoming an FAA-certified drone pilot so you can operate under the Part 107 regulations and make money flying your drone? Check out our industry-leading online training course over at Drone Pilot Ground School.

State and Local Regulations In Illinois

Here is an in-depth guide to the drone laws in Illinois that we put together. Be sure to check them out to see the state and local drone laws you need to adhere to in Arkansas. You should always exercise sound judgment when in doubt and adhere to the FAA’s regulations.

DISCLAIMER: Nothing on this website should be construed as legal advice and is solely provided for informative reasons. If there is anything we missed or if you have any further questions, please contact us at info [at] droneller [dot] com, and we will do our best to assist you.

Best Places To Fly A Drone In Chicago, Illinois

Here are my top recommendations for where to fly a drone in Chicago, Illinois. These places were chosen because of their accessibility, airspace constraints, and tourist attractions.

1. Blue Star Memorial Woods

E Lake Ave, Glenview, IL 60025, United States

The junction of Wilmette Avenue and Harms Road is the ideal place to enter the Blue Star Memorial Woods. There are several hiking and biking paths in this thickly wooded area, as well as old bunkers and a river that cuts through the forest.

Blue Star Memorial Woods is an excellent place to practice flying FPV drones or just fly drones for fun. Finding a pleasant, peaceful area should be simple because the forest is typically not that busy.

2. Chicago Riverwalk

Chicago Riverwalk, Chicago, IL 60601, USA

The Chicago Riverwalk is a large, multi-purpose public area in Chicago that stretches from Lake Michigan and Lake Shore Drive west to Lake Street. It is situated on the south bank of the Chicago River’s branch.

Restaurants, bars, cafés, little parks, boat and kayak rentals, a Vietnam War monument, and other facilities may be found along the Chicago Riverwalk. Drone pilots who want to capture beautiful cityscapes are drawn there by the numerous river crossings and nearby buildings.

3. Grant Park

337 E Randolph St, Chicago, IL 60601, USA

Grant Park is a large urban park in Chicago, Illinois, spanning 319 acres (1.29 km2). The park’s attractions include Millennium Park, Buckingham Fountain, the Art Institute of Chicago, and the Museum Campus, all of which are situated inside the city’s central business district.

Drone pilots enjoy this location for its breathtaking views of the metropolitan skyline, especially at dusk. The possibilities for airborne filming are further enhanced by the well-kept gardens and expansive vistas of Lake Michigan.

4. Midlothian Meadows

W 155th St, Midlothian, IL 60445, United States

The Midlothian Meadows is one of the few outdoor leisure locations in Cook County that has been approved for drone use. However, because of its small size, the park may become congested on popular days. It includes great paved routes, densely wooded parts, and a lovely view of a nearby creek. Midlothian Meadow is a drone-flying area; however, exercise caution while using it to fly above people.

5. Montrose Beach Lake

4400 N Shore Dr, Chicago, IL 60640, USA

Montrose Beach is situated close to Uptown at 4400 N. Lake Shore Drive (Montrose Ave. at Lake Michigan). Customers of this well-liked beach may take advantage of services including snack stands, kayak and volleyball rentals, showers, and bathrooms.

Drone flying and drone cinematography are made possible by the broad expanses near the lake. You can also explore Montrose Harbor, which is located behind the main beach, if you’d like something a little less traditional.

It’s important to remember that Montrose Beach serves as a natural refuge for migratory birds. Please keep an eye out for birds, especially while they are migrating, which begins in mid-September.

6. Navy Pier

600 E Grand Ave, Chicago, IL 60611, United States

Formerly a naval training facility, Chicago’s Navy Pier is now a bustling business district. At the extreme end of the pier, in the direction of the Chicago Harbor Lighthouse, is the ideal location to launch a drone. As you take off from the pier, you can see the boutiques, ferris wheel, and boats parked there; the scene is even more beautiful at night.

7. Ned Brown Model Airplane Flying Field

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All RC aircraft and drones are welcome in the Ned Brown Model Airplane Flying Fields approved zones. These specified areas are the ideal settings for connecting with like-minded individuals and honing one’s flying abilities. The Ned Brown Forest Preserve lies nearby in Rolling Meadows, Illinois; thus the name of the place. To fly here, new candidates must be registered AMA members.

8. Thatcher Woods

8030 Chicago Ave, Maywood, IL 60153, United States

Thatcher Woods has residual floodplain woodland, savanna, and grassland and is a cross-section of the Des Plaines River Valley. It offers awesome spots for drone flights with its 245-acre floodplain forest.

Thatcher Woods also provides an excellent view for bird watching, which means drone pilots have to be aware of their surroundings and fly with a visual observer.

9. Thorn Creek Model Airplane Flying Field

18746 Vollbrecht Rd., Chicago Heights, IL 60411, United States

The Thorn Creek Model Airplane Flying Field in Chicago Heights is an AMA flying field operated by the Thorn Creek RC Club. If you enjoy flying with other individuals who share your hobbies, here is the perfect place to do it. To fly here, you’ll probably need to be a member of the RC Club, which will require paying an extra membership fee.

10. Promontory Point Peninsula

5491 S Shore Dr, Chicago, IL 60615, USA

Promontory Point (known locally as “The Point”) is a remarkable 12-acre man-made peninsula jutting into Lake Michigan, which is located in Chicago’s Burnham Park.

Some of the most breathtaking views of the lake and the distant Chicago cityscape may be seen from the high center meadow. Here, there is a ton of room for flying drones and a variety of backdrops for filming that include towering buildings and the blue sea.

Final Thoughts on Where To Fly A Drone In Illinois

So there you have it: the best places to fly a drone in Illinois!

I hope you have a great time exploring the beautiful landscape of Illinois from above. You can also check out where to fly a drone in other states and cities in the United States.

Always remember to obey the federal, state, and local drone laws in Illinois to avoid having issues with the law and authorities.

And don’t forget to share this article with a friend and other drone pilots who will benefit from this information using the share icons below.

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