Lincoln Park Conservatory

This glass structure filled with exotic plants is the perfect place to spend a quiet afternoon.

The Lincoln Park Conservatory is divided into several rooms packed with exotic plants, including palms, ferns, orchids and much more. Stroll the paths that wind through the gardens, read the informative plaques and rest on the benches built for quiet reflection. Anyone with an interest in plants or photography could easily spend several hours working their way through this peaceful glass hothouse. This airy Victorian glass structure with distinctive arched roofs was designed and built between 1890 and 1895. At the time, horticulture was quite popular, and Chicago had five conservatories. Today, three remain and the Conservatory is known as a horticulture research center as well as a tourist destination.

Learn about the plants in detail and get some tips for your own garden while exploring the four main rooms. The Show House changes four times a year with seasonal flower displays. The Orchid Room features epyphytes (plants that grow on plants), such as orchids and moss. There’s a Fern Room, with old and rare ferns, and a tropical Palm House.

The outdoor gardens that surround the Conservatory are planted with flowers in May and last until mid-October. They are at their peak in July and August. The indoor gardens last year-round, and volunteers offer informative tours. Entrance is free.

Centrally located in Chicago’s popular Lincoln Park, this is an easy destination to get to by public transport or car.