Just beyond the zoo's northeast border is a lovely botanical garden housed in a soaring glass-domed structure. Inside are four great halls filled with thousands of plants. If you're visiting Chicago in the wintertime, I can't think of a better prescription for mood elevation than this lush haven of greenery. The Palm House features giant palms and rubber trees (including a 50-ft. fiddle-leaf rubber tree dating back to 1891); the Fernery nurtures plants that grow close to the forest floor; and the Tropical House is a shiny symphony of flowering trees, vines, and bamboo. The fourth environment is the Show House, where seasonal flower shows take place.
Even better than the plants inside, however, might be what lies outside the front doors. The expansive lawn, with its French garden and lovely fountain on the conservatory's south side, is one of the best places in town for an informal picnic (especially nice if you're visiting the zoo and want to avoid the congestion at its food concession venues).
The Lincoln Park Conservatory has a sister facility on the city's West Side, in Garfield Park, that is even more impressive. In fact, the 2-acre Garfield Park Conservatory, 300 N. Central Park Ave. (tel. 312/746-5100), designed by the great landscape architect Jens Jensen in 1907, is one of the largest gardens under glass in the world. Unfortunately, it's surrounded by a rather blighted neighborhood with a high crime rate, so I recommend driving there rather than using public transportation. It's open 365 days a year from 9am to 5pm.
Allow a half-hour for the Lincoln Park Conservatory.
- © Frommer's 2013
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Ask Chicago Locals about Lincoln Park Conservatory
- Recommended 2009
- Recommended 2010
- tel: 312/742-7736
- 2391 N Stockton Dr
- Fullerton Ave. (at Stockton Dr.)
- Chicago, IL 60614
- Daily 9am-5pm
- User Rating