Most days I feel comfortable saying that I’ve seen pretty much everything my home city has to offer. I’ve been to the tourist traps and the holes-in-the-walls. I’ve ventured to all corners of the city, and after 15 years in Chicago I thought I’d pretty much nailed down what to do and what not to do here.
But then I went to Lincoln Park Conservatory.
I have no idea why I’ve never been there.
It was a stupid cold and sleeting winter day in spring (read: late March in Chicago) and the weather threw a monkey-wrench in a scheduled pre-wedding “Meeting of the Moms.” In searching for indoor, get to know you activities, the conservatory seemed like a great alternative to window shopping in Andersonville, because moms like flowers, right?
More important than winning at a mom-friendly activity, the 120+ year old series of greenhouses, each dedicated to a different plant (with a Palm Room, Fern Room, and Orchid Room, among others) is a wonder to behold, a completely fascinating example of botanical and architectural excellence intertwined, and totally free.*
I think it’s pretty great I haven’t exhausted all this city has to offer and am still discovering things in the place where I live. I feel like I owe Lincoln Park Conservatory an apology. It’s not that I avoided you, I just honestly didn’t know you existed.
The question now is: what else have I been missing?
*Free assuming you make the effort to find street parking, ride a bike, or take public transit. The conservatory’s lot is a steep $25.