Visit the Gardens of Chicago, Illinois
Garden Design's Self-Guided Day Trip to Chicago, Illinois
Chicago may be best known for its hot dogs, deep dish pizzas, Maxwell Street Polish Sausage, jazz music, and the 1920’s gangster Al Capone. However, the city also boasts interesting architecture and art, including the iconic Willis Tower (formerly known as the Sears Tower) and the Bean (more correctly called Cloud Gate), a stainless steel, kidney-bean-shaped sculpture in Millennium Park.
For garden lovers, Millennium Park is a also a great starting point for a day exploring three of Chicago’s diverse parks, and Lisa Hilgenberg, horticulturalist at Chicago Botanic Garden, is the perfect guide. You don’t even need to drive, as the local train service makes this day trip carefree.
Lisa suggests you begin your day at the Lurie Garden, set within Millennium Park. This urban oasis connects naturalistic planting to the city’s history with a plant selection that was designed by renowned Dutch landscape designer Piet Oudolf. From here, a short train ride will take you to Garfield Park Conservatory, a 2-acre glasshouse styled to reflect the mid-western prairie landscape, with plant collections grown in naturalistic settings. The final stop of the day will be the Chicago Botanic Garden, where Lisa assures us that there is something for every gardener—from expansive rose displays to a popular Railroad Garden—while the aim of the garden is to educate as well as inspire.