The Windy City may be famed for its skyscrapers, culture and sports franchises as iconic as they come, don’t neglect what the city has to offer for nature lovers.
While it may be tempting to solely stick to the streets, there are so many opportunities to get closer to mother nature that any visitor should consider staples of their next visit. Whether you’re thinking about renting an RV in the Chicago area or simply want a break from the concrete jungle, we’ve got you covered with the following six spots.
Garfield Park Conservatory
There’s perhaps no better place to get up close and personal with plant life than one of the nation’s top conservatories. From greenhouses dedicated to desert cacti to twelve acres of outdoor gardens, Garden Park Conservatory is a plant-lover’s playground. The conservatory is likewise the perfect place to bring the kids, with a dedicated children’s garden with tons of interactive displays.
Chicago Botanic Garden
Offering free admission, this garden is so massive that one of the best ways to see it is by tram! Find your zen in the aquatic garden or the intimate Spider Island, the Chicago Botanic Garden is a great place to take a stroll and get lost in the marvels of nature. The garden boasts regular events and exhibitions, so make sure to check out what’s in bloom prior to stopping by.
Oak Street Beach
A prime place to stop by during the summer, Oak Street Beach offers a unique vibe by being smack dab next to downtown Chicago and its many attractions. Grab a drink, snag a hot dog and take a break along the pier overlooking the vast cityscape. Need we say more?
Looking to log some serious miles on the pavement while on vacation? No problem. Chicago’s Lakefront Trail is 22 miles long, striding the Indiana border as bikers are afforded an amazing view of the city skyline. A great way to see the city and get outdoors, the trail is friendly to joggers and walkers as well.
Montrose Point Bird Sanctuary
Nature lovers traditionally don’t shy away from the opportunity to get close to local wildlife, and the Montrose Point Bird Sanctuary does not disappoint in that department. With over 300 species of birds scattered throughout the sanctuary’s “Magic Hedge” trail, there are tons of awesome photo ops and chances to see some one-of-a-kind wildlife. As an added bonus, this spot offers yet another amazing view of the city proper (especially during dusk).
North Park Village Nature Center
If you’re on the hunt to see more than just birds, the North Park Village Nature Center might just be the place for you. You can spot entire families of deer on any given trail, this 46-acre nature preserve is among the most tranquil in the city. Complete with an educational facility, this center provides a quiet family experience for those looking to simply reflect with nature and learn a thing or two along the way.
There’s no shortage of things to do in Chicago, so why spend your entire trip cooped up indoors? With these six spots in mind, you can enjoy the outdoors and the beautiful sites of the city at the same time.