Though there’s a lot to love about Chicago, sometimes living in such a big city can get you feeling as grey as your concrete surroundings. It’s at these times that you start fantasizing about escaping to some lush distant forest—isn’t there somewhere you can go to get away from all the bustle for a minute, collect your thoughts, and enjoy a bit of greenery?
Luckily, you don’t need to get away to any far-off place after all. Chicago is home to a wide array of nature preserves and parks, many of which feature beautiful flower beds that are a treat both for the eyes and for the soul.
Here are just a few of Chicago’s most beautiful parks for those visitors who want to relax, see some flowers, and reconnect with nature.
North Park Village Nature Center
Among the parks in Chicago, this one has a unique history. Started in the 1800s as the tree nursery that would provide all of the trees for the 1893 World’s Fair, and then in the early 1900s was used as a sanitarium for sick patients. Later, plans to raze the land to turn it into strip malls were halted by community protest, and today it is maintained as a protected natural area.
Of all the parks on this list, this one has the most varied natural landscape. A stroll down its paths will take you through prairie, wetland, forest, and oak savanna. Along the way, you’ll see plenty of wildlife, including possibly some rare birds, as this is a popular spot for birdwatching.
The park is also home to the Harvest Festival, City Wilds Fest, and Maple Syrup Festival, the latter of which taps into the very trees that were planted there as part of the nursery, centuries back.
This park has some nice landscapes, including outdoor gardens and a fishing lagoon, but, paradoxical as it may sound, here the nature is best experienced indoors.
The Garfield Park Conservatory is home to one of the world’s largest indoor gardens, featuring vast flower displays arranged in recreations of their natural climates and settings. The Conservatory also often hosts a vast array of programs, from educational activities to children to the Movies in the Parks series of film screenings.
Nearby, the Desert House holds yet more flora for you to admire. It features one of the largest collections of cacti and succulents in the area.
While Jackson Park features beautiful French statues and a multitude of facilities for activities including golf, tennis, and basketball, we know that your real reason for getting away to a park is to catch a rare chance to be in nature for a bit.
To that end, this park boasts hundreds of acres, several lagoons, dozens of bird species, and a vegetable and flower garden. Other notable features include Bobolink Meadows, a recreated prairieland area that serves as a haven for birds and butterflies, and the Osaka Garden, a Japanese-style garden hidden away on the Wooded Island.
These are just a couple of the hundreds of parks all around Chicago. If you’re looking to learn more about how you can experience nature in the city, or how you can get involved to help bring more greenery to the city, then Chicago Gateway Green is here and happy to answer your questions. Simply contact us or give us a call at (312) 527-9621. Help us build a greener Chicago, so that you never feel like you have to get away in the first place.
Chicago Gateway Green
1000 N Milwaukee Ave Suite 302
Chicago IL 60642