I spent four years exploring Chicago and can’t believe I never found this place until now.

Tucked away northwest of downtown Chicago, the Garfield Park Conservatory brings you to a serene, enchanting series of indoor gardens and sculptures. It is within the top five largest conservatories in the United States with over 10,000 different types of plant species. Whether you’re a local or tourist, make sure to add this place to your bucket-list.

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Exploring “The Palm Room” (photo by: Bree Drozd).

Imagine an art gallery combined with a tropical forest; that’s the immediate impression I got as I stepped into the entrance of “the Palm Room”.  A diversity of foliage is juxtaposed with a massive, chrome structure, designed by a local artist. I loved the contrast of a modern sculpture within a lush garden of exotic plants.

In addition to the “Palm Room”, there are seven other rooms stretched out across the two-acre indoor gardens. My favorites were the “The Desert House”, filled with cacti and succulents, and the “Fern Room”, which was designed to illustrate what Chicago’s swampy landscape looked like millions of years ago.

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“The Fern Room” (photo by Alex Cote).

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“The Water Room” (photo by Alex Cote).

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Succulent Flower in the “Desert House” (photo by Alex Cote).

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Succulents (photo by Alex Cote).

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“The Desert House” (photo by: Alex Cote).

 

In the summer months, the 10-acre outdoor gardens are open as well, including the Monet Gardens and the Lily Pool.

Perhaps what makes the gardens so noteworthy are the extraordinary events, such as the light show and the Art Institute of Chicago’s fashion show.

The conservatory even offers a variety of programs and resources to community members. If you’re wanting to incorporate more sustainability into your summer, check out the beekeeping basics and composting 101 classes. The second Wednesday of every month the conservatory offers a lecture series about the environment in the city. Sounds like an awesome way to meet environmentalists alike!

The Chicago community and culture truly shines through at Garfield Park Conservatory. My visit reminded me to slow down from the fast-paced city life and enjoy the little things.

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Have you ever been to Garfield Park Conservatory? Do you plan to visit? Comment below!

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