Chicago Botanic Garden
Stretching across 385 acres (155 hectares, and home to millions of plants, the Chicago Botanic Garden is one of the city’s loveliest green retreats. Located roughly 20 miles (33 kilometers north of downtown, the garden has been open to the public since 1972. It comprises 27 different gardens and four natural areas.
Ranked among Chicago’s most popular tourist destinations, the Chicago Botanic Garden attracts upwards of 1 million visitors each year. Situated across nine different islands, and boasting 6 miles (10 kilometers) of lakeshore, the garden is one of the most tranquil and picturesque destinations in Chicagoland. Its highlight collections range from bonsai and rose gardens to a sensory garden and plant science center. As a complement to its living museum, the Chicago Botanic Garden also does important conservation work.
The Chicago Botanic Garden features on North Shore tour itineraries, and it’s also easy to plan your own trip to the landmark.
Things to know before you go
- The Chicago Botanic Garden offers free admission for all visitors.
- The garden operates on-site parking; book yours in advance for a discounted rate.
- The GardenGuide smartphone app is free to download, and includes an event calendar, interactive map, guide to what’s in bloom, and more.
- Most areas of the garden are accessible to wheelchair users (including the tram tours); wheelchairs and electric scooters are additionally available to rent.
- The Chicago Botanic Garden hosts several eateries, including the Garden View Café, the Garden Grille, the Rose Terrace Beer Garden, and TrueJuice.
- Head to the Garden Shop for toys, gardening supplies, terrariums, bulbs and plants, and more.
How to get there
It is possible to reach the Chicago Botanic Garden via public transportation. Numerous Metra trains run between downtown Chicago’s Ogilvie Transportation Center and the Braeside Metra station each day; upon arrival, it’s a short walk or cab ride to the garden. Between mid-May and early September, trolley service also runs between the Glencoe Metra station and the garden during the days.
When to get there
The Chicago Botanic Garden is open every day of the year, though its hours vary depending on the seasons (and its various restaurants and facilities also have their own hours). It’s advised to research precise opening times in advance of your visit. The garden additionally hosts a number of special events throughout the year, from cooking and photography classes to guided walks and exhibitions.
Looking for a simple way to discover the garden’s highlights? The Chicago Botanic Garden hosts tram tours daily from April–October, which cover a 2.3-mile (3.7-kilometer) loop.
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