Travel Magazine

Chicago’s Hidden Gems: Unique Parks and Gardens

By Urbanmatter Chicago @UMatterChicago

Even though the Chicago weather has been very unpredictable lately, spring is the time when the grass glistens and the flowers bloom. Spending time outdoors is a great way to take a break from your busy schedule and get some fresh air. Take a walk with friends or spend the day to yourself and enjoy the beautiful scenery that these unique spots have to offer.

North Park Village Nature CenterNorth Park Village Nature Center

5801 N. Pulaski Rd.

This hidden gem is known for its amazing walking path and trails. It features a 46-acre nature preserve and if you have more time to spare, you can visit their educational facility to learn more about the park and all that resides in it. They also have a discovery room that consists of hands-on displays and items that can be found in the park.

Garfield Park Conservatory
Garfield Park Conservatory

300 North Central Park Ave.

This is one of the world’s largest gardens and it is even listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The conservatory has beautiful outdoor gardens and there are even Display Houses that exhibit many different types of plants in each. Their Horticulture Hall is perfect for special events and it is named one of Chicago’s top ten event venues. Admission into the conservatory is free but they do encourage and accept donations.

Chicago Botanic Garden

Chicago Botanic Garden

1000 Lake Cook Road

Glencoe, IL

The Chicago Botanic Garden is a living plant museum that has 25 display gardens and is surrounded by four natural habitats. If you love nature, this truly is the place to be. This is about a half hour away from downtown Chicago, but we added it to the list because it’s worth trip. If you enjoy your visit and live nearby, you can become a member of the park. This would give you free parking and other awesome member’s only benefits. Not interested in a membership? Even if you’re not a member, admission to the garden is free.

Alfred Caldwell Lily Pool
Alfred Caldwell Lily Pool

100 W Fullerton Pkwy

Our favorite of the bunch. This beautiful landmark is so quiet and relaxing. It is said that this garden was meant to resemble a river winding through a great Midwestern prairie. This garden is rarely busy, giving you a perfect place to read, nap, or meditate.

Lurie Garden Millennium Park
Lurie Garden

Millennium Park

If you reside in Chicago, Lurie Garden might be a regular spot for you and we had to add it to this list for that reason. Located in the heart of the Loop, this garden is a popular, yet very peaceful place to get away from the chaos of the city. Be aware that on a beautiful day, the paths can get very crowded.


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