April Showers Bring May Flowers: The Haute 5 Parks and Gardens in Chicago

When Chicago was incorporated in 1837, it chose the motto Urbs in Horto, a Latin phrase which translates to a “City in a Garden.” As a result, Chicagoans and visitors alike are privileged to be surrounded by some of the best gardens and parks in the country that bloom year-round. The foliage and greenery play a big part in what sets Chicago apart from other major metropolitan cities, plus, of course, our fabulous food and Midwest charm.

Chicago Botanic Gardens

The Chicago Botanic Gardens cover 385 acres with 23 display gardens and three native habitats situated on nine islands that are surrounded by lakes and lagoons. With thousands of tulips and colorful spring blossoms in bloom, make sure you visit the three island gardens, Evening Island, Fruit and Vegetables and Japanese.

The Chicago Botanic Gardens, 1000 Lake Cook Rd. in Glencoe, IL.

Oak Park Conservatory

The Oak Park Conservatory was started as a community effort in 1914 with plants from around the world, brought back by residents. Today, it houses 8,000 square feet of growing areas, making it the third largest conservatory in the Chicago area. It is often used as a meeting place for Chicago area plant enthusiasts, including the begonia, gesneriad,  cactus and succulent societies.

Oak Park Conservatory, 615 Garfield St. in Oak Park, IL.

Osaka Japanese Garden

The Osaka Japanese Garden was created in 1893 as part of the World Colombian Exposition to show the city’s appreciation to Japan for gifting the now Museum of Science and Industry. Designed by landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted, The Osaka Japanese Garden is a walled sanctuary within the larger Jackson Park. The principle design is a strolling Japanese hillside garden (kyuushiki) to stimulate your senses as you come around each twisting, looping turn and move past masking plants and trees.

Osaka Garden, located on Wooded Island (Paul H. Douglas Nature Sanctuary) in Jackson Park, Chicago.

Garfield Park Conservatory

This two-acre conservatory is one of the largest in the world with one of the biggest collections of plant species in North America. Enjoy lush fern gardens and the popular Palm Room, with over seven dozen different varieties of palm trees.

Garfield Park Conservatory, 300 N. Central Park Ave. in Chicago.

Lincoln Park Conservatory

Constructed by Joseph L. Silsbee in the Victorian era, the goal was to provide a little “tropical paradise” within the city. The Lincoln Park Conservatory is made up of four halls of gardens and 15 growing houses, always green and lush, it is open year-round. And situated right around the corner from the Lincoln Park Zoo, makes a fun little day.

Lincoln Park Conservatory, 2391 N. Stockton Dr. in Chicago.