Plunge Day Info!

Thank you for being a part of this wonderful day! This fundraiser is extremely important to the thousands of Special Olympics Chicago/Special Children's Charities athletes that the Chicago Polar Plunge benefits. You are what makes this day possible, so thank you! We want to make sure you are properly prepared. Below are some helpful reminders to get you ready! 

Itinerary for March 3, 2024:

8:00 AM Beach and registration opens

9:45 AM Opening ceremony

10:00–11:15 AM Plunge waves


North Avenue Beach
1601 N. Lake Shore Drive
Chicago, IL 60614

Getting There

The Chicago Polar Plunge is located at North Avenue Beach, 1600 N. Jean-Baptiste Pointe DuSable Lake Shore Drive. Whether you're coming from the north or the south, there is only one entrance. You won't be able to miss us.

Public Transportation

There are several buses that can take you to North Avenue Beach, including the 22 Clark, the 72 North, and the 9 Ashland. You can also take the Red Line to Clark & Division and walk 1 mile to the beach.


Free parking is available at Lincoln Park Zoo. The lot is located at Fullerton Parkway and Cannon Drive (2400 North Cannon Drive, Chicago, IL 60614).

Metered parking is also available along Cannon Drive.

Check in and Registration

Skip the lines on Sunday by checking in early! The registration tent will be open at North Avenue Beach on Friday and Saturday for early registration. Pick up your wristband and t-shirt and be ready to plunge on Sunday - no line, no wait. Please be sure to meet your fundraising minimum prior to arriving on the beach.

If you are part of a team, your Team Captain can check in on behalf of your entire team. Please note that large teams of 15+ must pick their packet up on Friday or Saturday.

Early Registration Hours

Friday, March 1
3:00–6:00 pm

Saturday, March 2
10:00 am–2:00 pm

Day-Of Registration Hours

Sunday, March 3
8:00–10:00 am

What to bring

We recommend bringing a bag that has a warm change of clothes, shoes, and an extra towel. There are changing tents along the beach for your privacy and convenience.

As far as what to wear in the water, less is better. However, all plungers MUST WEAR SHOES.

Please bring your bags and dry items with you as you enter the warming corrals. Volunteers will direct you to leave your bags on a tarp. After you take the plunge and exit the water, they will be waiting for you where you left them on the dry tarp. Try to keep personal belongings to a minimum. *Special Olympics Chicago/Special Children's Charities is not responsible for any lost or stolen items. Please leave all belongings at your own risk.

Costumes are encouraged! We have a costume contest with prizes for the best dressed of the morning.


Come early to take advantage of our amenities! There is plenty to see and do at the beach before and after you Plunge.

  • Complimentary coffee tent courtesy of Areas and GID Industries
  • Complimentary water from Polar Beverage and ConAgra Brands
  • Official Chicago Polar Plunge swag from Lemolade
  • Selfie stations along the beach

Q: Can I still plunge if I do not raise the $200?

A: All Plungers must raise the $200 fundraising minimum in order to participate. This event is, first and foremost, a fundraiser benefitting Special Olympics Chicago/Special Children's Charities. Please be sure to meet your minimum prior to arriving on the beach.

Q: When is my wave time?

A: If you are part of a team, your wave time is listed on your team's fundraising page. If you are an individual plunger, your wave time is included in your registration confirmation email. If you are unsure of your wave time, reach out to us at

Q: When should I arrive?

A: We recommend arriving at North Avenue Beach at least 30 minutes prior to your wave time. The registration tent opens at 8:00 am on Sunday. We offer early check-in on Friday and Saturday to avoid the Sunday rush. See the schedule below for more info.

Q: Can I move a donation from my team's fundraising page to my individual fundraising page?

A: Yes. Please email and include your name, your team's name, and the donor's name and we can move the donation.

Q: Can I bring friends/family?

A: Spectators are welcome. This event is open to the public. If they would like to Plunge, make sure they register online and meet their $200 fundraising minimum before arriving at North Avenue Beach.

Click here for more FAQ's

Play it safe! Remember there is no diving allowed!

You should expect to have an absolute blast! Also, expect a very large crowd filled with tons of energy. The actual plunge is short and sweet, but you may have to wait in line before you jump in the water.

See you soon, Plungers!