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Chicago is known for its stunning architecture, delicious food, and vibrant culture. But did you know that the city is also home to some of the most beautiful public gardens in the country? From the lush greenery of Lincoln Park to the serene Lurie Garden in Millennium Park, there are plenty of places to escape the hustle and bustle of the city and enjoy some natural beauty.
One of the best public gardens in Chicago is The Art Institute of Chicago’s South Garden. Located on the south side of the museum along Michigan Avenue, this simple and modern garden is uniquely built upon a parking garage. It is as peaceful as it is beautiful and includes an open courtyard with symmetrically placed trees surrounding it.
Another must-visit garden is the Lurie Garden in Millennium Park. This 2.5-acre garden transports you into a grassy flower bed while the chaotic city life melts from behind as you get closer to the garden’s center. It’s named after Ann Lurie, who donated the $10 million endowment. The garden features a mix of perennials, grasses, shrubs, and trees, making it a stunning display of nature’s beauty.
- The Art Institute of Chicago’s South Garden is a beautiful and modern garden built on top of a parking garage.
- Lurie Garden in Millennium Park is a 2.5-acre garden that features a mix of perennials, grasses, shrubs, and trees.
- Chicago is home to many public gardens that offer a peaceful escape from the city’s hustle and bustle.
Best Public Gardens In Chicago
Check out these top public gardens in Chicago, which will give you an all-around look at the best the city has to offer.
The Art Institute of Chicago’s South Garden
The Art Institute of Chicago’s South Garden is a beautiful and intimate garden located on top of a parking garage. The garden was designed by Dan Kiley and constructed between 1962 and 1967. It is one of Kiley’s best preserved commissions from that period. The garden provides a peaceful oasis in the heart of the city and is open to the public free of charge.
The South Garden is a significant landmark in the history of landscape architecture. It is an example of modernist design and a reflection of the architectural style of the Art Institute of Chicago. The garden is also an important part of the Art Institute’s history, as it was built on top of a parking garage that was constructed in the 1950s to accommodate the growing number of visitors to the museum.
|Crabapple Trees||A small to medium-sized tree with showy flowers in the spring and colorful fruit in the fall.|
|Boxwoods||A slow-growing evergreen shrub with glossy green leaves that can be pruned into a variety of shapes.|
|Yews||A coniferous tree or shrub with dark green needles and red berries.|
|Daylilies||A perennial plant with showy flowers that bloom in a variety of colors.|
|Hostas||A shade-loving perennial with large, textured leaves and spikes of flowers in the summer.|
|Phlox||A colorful perennial with fragrant flowers that bloom in the summer.|
The South Garden features a variety of plant species that are native to the Midwest, including crabapple trees, boxwoods, and yews. The garden also includes a number of perennials, such as daylilies, hostas, and phlox. The plantings are arranged in a geometric pattern, with the beds separated by paths of gravel and limestone. The garden’s design emphasizes simplicity, balance, and harmony.
The South Garden is a must-see destination for anyone visiting Chicago. It is a beautiful and tranquil retreat that offers a unique perspective on the city’s architecture and landscape. Whether you are a fan of modernist design or simply looking for a peaceful place to relax, the South Garden is sure to impress.
Chicago Botanic Garden
If you’re looking for a beautiful and peaceful place to escape the hustle and bustle of the city, then the Chicago Botanic Garden is an excellent choice when looking at public gardens in Chicago! Located in Glencoe, just 25 miles north of downtown Chicago, the garden is spread over 385 acres and features 27 distinct garden areas, each with its own unique theme and collection of plants.
Some of the most popular garden areas at the Chicago Botanic Garden include the English Walled Garden, the Japanese Garden, and the Rose Garden. The English Walled Garden is a classic European-style garden with a central fountain, manicured hedges, and colorful flower beds. The Japanese Garden is a tranquil space with a traditional teahouse, a waterfall, and a pond filled with koi fish. The Rose Garden is a favorite of many visitors, with its fragrant blooms and stunning array of colors.
Other garden areas worth exploring include the Waterfall Garden, the Sensory Garden, and the Native Plant Garden. The Waterfall Garden features a series of cascading waterfalls, while the Sensory Garden is designed to engage all five senses with its fragrant herbs, textured plants, and colorful flowers. The Native Plant Garden is a celebration of the natural beauty of the Midwest, with a wide variety of plants and flowers that are native to the region.
In addition to its beautiful gardens, the Chicago Botanic Garden also offers a wide range of educational programs for visitors of all ages. From guided tours and workshops to classes and lectures, there’s always something new to learn at the garden.
Some of the most popular educational programs at the Chicago Botanic Garden include the Garden Chef Series, which features cooking demonstrations and tastings using fresh, seasonal ingredients from the garden, and the Nature Nights program, which offers hands-on activities and games for families with young children.
Whether you’re a seasoned gardener or simply looking for a peaceful place to relax and enjoy nature, the Chicago Botanic Garden is definitely worth a visit. With its stunning collection of plants and flowers, beautiful garden areas, and engaging educational programs, it’s a true gem of the Chicago area.
Lincoln Park Conservatory and Gardens
If you’re looking for a peaceful oasis in the middle of the city, the Lincoln Park Conservatory and Gardens is the perfect place for you. This beautiful garden is located in the heart of Lincoln Park and offers visitors a chance to escape the hustle and bustle of Chicago’s busy streets.
The conservatory is home to a vast collection of plants from all over the world, including exotic palms, ferns, and orchids. You can take a self-guided tour of the conservatory to explore the different rooms and see the various plants on display. The conservatory is also home to a beautiful orchid room, which is a must-see for any flower lover.
After you’ve explored the conservatory, take a stroll through the gardens outside. The gardens are home to a wide variety of plants and flowers, including colorful annuals and perennials. You can take a leisurely walk through the gardens and enjoy the beautiful scenery, or find a quiet spot to sit and relax.
One of the highlights of the garden is the Alfred Caldwell Lily Pool, which was originally designed in 1936. The pool is surrounded by beautiful native plants and is a peaceful spot to sit and reflect.
Overall, the Lincoln Park Conservatory and Gardens is a beautiful and peaceful oasis in the heart of Chicago. Whether you’re a nature lover or just looking for a quiet spot to relax, this garden is definitely worth a visit.
Lurie Garden in Millennium Park
If you’re looking for a tranquil escape in the midst of the bustling city, Lurie Garden in Millennium Park is the perfect place to unwind. This public garden is a hidden gem that offers a serene naturalistic setting for both humans and wildlife.
The garden’s design is a beautiful blend of modern and natural elements. It features a hardwood footbridge that floats above shallow water, creating two distinct rooms within the garden. The footbridge invites visitors to sit and dangle their toes in the water while enjoying the peaceful surroundings.
Lurie Garden is divided into four main elements: the Light Plate, the Dark Plate, the Shoulder Hedge, and the Seam. Each element represents a different aspect of the natural environment, from prairie grasses to woodland flowers. The garden’s design encourages visitors to explore and discover the unique beauty of each element.
One of the best things about Lurie Garden is that it offers something different in every season. In the spring, the garden comes alive with a riot of colorful blooms, including daffodils, tulips, and irises. In the summer, the garden is a lush oasis of greenery, with wildflowers and grasses swaying in the breeze.
Fall brings a stunning display of autumnal colors, as the leaves on the trees and shrubs turn from green to gold, red, and orange. And in the winter, the garden transforms into a peaceful winter wonderland, with snow-covered trees and shrubs creating a serene atmosphere.
Whether you’re a nature lover, a photography enthusiast, or just looking for a quiet place to relax, Lurie Garden in Millennium Park is a must-visit destination. With its beautiful design and ever-changing seasonal highlights, it’s the perfect place to escape the hustle and bustle of the city and connect with nature.
Jackson Park’s Osaka Garden
If you’re looking for a peaceful escape from the hustle and bustle of the city, Jackson Park’s Osaka Garden is a must-visit destination. This authentic Japanese garden is a gift to Chicago from Japan for the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition. It is located on the Wooded Island in Jackson Park, which was created by Frederick Law Olmsted, Sr. from a sandbar for the exposition as the setting for the Japanese Pavilion, the Ho-o-den.
The garden is designed to reflect the traditional Japanese strolling garden style, which is meant to be experienced while walking. The garden features a pavilion, moon bridge, and Shinto gate, all of which were built in Japan and then reconstructed in Chicago. The garden’s design includes a waterfall, a pond, and a variety of plants, including cherry trees, Japanese maples, and bamboo.
One of the best things about visiting Osaka Garden is the opportunity to spot wildlife. The garden is home to a variety of birds, including herons, ducks, and geese. You may also spot turtles, frogs, and fish in the pond. If you’re lucky, you might even see a snake or a muskrat.
Overall, Osaka Garden is a beautiful and peaceful place to visit in Chicago. Whether you’re looking to take a stroll, enjoy the scenery, or spot some wildlife, this garden is a must-visit destination.
Osaka Garden of Jackson Park
Tucked away into a corner of Jackson Park is another Chicago original, the Japanese Osaka Gardens, a gift to the city of Chicago during the Chicago World’s Fair. This garden is the best place to watch migratory birds head south and back north because they use the lagoons the gardens reside in as a major resting spot.
Garfield Park Conservatory
If you are looking for a beautiful oasis in the middle of the city, Garfield Park Conservatory is a must-visit destination. This stunning botanical conservatory is one of the largest in the country and is home to some of the most exquisite plant species from around the world.
The indoor gardens at Garfield Park Conservatory are a true sight to behold. With over 120,000 square feet of indoor space, there is something for everyone to enjoy. The indoor gardens are divided into different rooms, each with its own unique theme and collection of plants.
One of the most popular rooms is the Palm House, which features towering palm trees and other tropical plants. The Aroid House is another favorite, with its collection of unique and exotic plants from the aroid family. Other rooms include the Desert House, the Fern Room, and the Show House, which features seasonal displays and exhibits.
In addition to the indoor gardens, Garfield Park Conservatory also has several outdoor gardens that are worth exploring. The Monet Garden is a beautiful tribute to the famous French painter, with its colorful flowers and water features. The Sensory Garden is another highlight, with its collection of fragrant plants that are sure to delight your senses.
Other outdoor gardens include the City Garden, which features a variety of plants that are well-suited to urban environments, and the Demonstration Garden, where you can learn about sustainable gardening practices.
Whether you are a plant enthusiast or simply looking for a peaceful escape from the hustle and bustle of the city, Garfield Park Conservatory is a must-visit destination. With its stunning indoor and outdoor gardens, there is something for everyone to enjoy.
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Chicago is a city of parks and gardens, offering a perfect escape from the hustle and bustle of city life. From the stunning Chicago Botanic Garden to the serene Oz Park, there is a garden for everyone to enjoy.
If you’re looking for a peaceful and tranquil setting, head to the Lincoln Park Conservatory or the Garfield Park Conservatory. Both offer beautiful indoor gardens that are perfect for a rainy day.
For those who want to take in some history and culture, the Lurie Garden and the South Garden at the Art Institute of Chicago are great options. The Lurie Garden is a modern garden that celebrates Chicago’s rich cultural history, while the South Garden is a simple and elegant garden built upon a parking garage.
If you’re traveling with kids, the Lincoln Park Zoo and the Maggie Daley Park are great options. The Lincoln Park Zoo offers a variety of animals to see, while the Maggie Daley Park has a playground, climbing walls, and a skating ribbon.
No matter what your interests are, Chicago’s public gardens offer a wonderful way to spend a day. So pack a picnic, grab a book, and enjoy the beauty of the Windy City’s gardens.
Can you think of a great Chicago garden that we missed? Please let us know!
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Frequently Asked Questions
What are some of the best public gardens to visit in Chicago?
Chicago is home to many beautiful public gardens, and some of the best ones to visit include the Chicago Botanic Garden, the Garfield Park Conservatory, the Lincoln Park Conservatory, and the Lurie Garden.
What makes the Chicago Botanic Garden a popular destination?
The Chicago Botanic Garden is a popular destination because of its stunning collection of plants and flowers. The garden features 27 display gardens and four natural areas spread across 385 acres. Visitors can enjoy a variety of events and activities throughout the year, including tours, classes, and workshops.
Are there any free public gardens to enjoy in Chicago?
Yes, there are several free public gardens to enjoy in Chicago, including the Lincoln Park Conservatory, the Garfield Park Conservatory, and the Lurie Garden. These gardens offer visitors the opportunity to explore beautiful landscapes and learn about different types of plants and flowers without spending a dime.
What are some of the must-see features of the Chicago Conservatory?
The Chicago Conservatory is home to a variety of beautiful plants and flowers, and some of the must-see features include the Palm House, the Fern Room, the Orchid Room, and the Show House. Visitors can also explore the outdoor gardens and the Children’s Garden, which features interactive exhibits and hands-on activities for kids.
Where can I find indoor gardens to visit in Chicago?
If you’re looking for indoor gardens to visit in Chicago, some of the best options include the Lincoln Park Conservatory, the Garfield Park Conservatory, and the Chicago Conservatory. These gardens offer visitors the opportunity to explore beautiful landscapes and learn about different types of plants and flowers in a controlled indoor environment.
How long should I plan to spend at the Chicago Botanic Garden?
The amount of time you should plan to spend at the Chicago Botanic Garden depends on your interests and what you want to see. If you’re interested in exploring all of the gardens and natural areas, you should plan to spend at least a full day at the garden. However, if you’re short on time, you can still enjoy some of the highlights in just a few hours.