Everything you need to know about visiting the Garfield Park Conservatory (300 N Central Park Ave, Chicago IL 60624)
Described as "landscape art under glass" when it opened in 1908, the conservatory, while being one of the largest in the world, also boasts revolutionary architecture. With the building’s haystack shape and walls of stratified stonework, landscape architect Jens Jensen considered the Fern Room in particular, with its “prairie waterfall”—a stone and water element within a glass structure—to be one of his greatest achievements. About 120,000 plants representing some 600 species occupy the conservatory’s 1.6 acres, and four times a year flower shows premiere to herald the change in seasons.
Plan your visit
The Garfield Park Conservatory is free and open 365 days a year, but there is a requested donation at the door. Once inside, you'll be able to walk through various rooms that showcase specific plant types. The Desert House is filled with prickly succulents and cacti, the Fern Room is jam-packed with lush ferns and the Aroid House is home to popular houseplants. Come summer, the outdoor gardens, which amount to a whopping 12 acres of land, offer a total sensory experience that will transport you somewhere else—if only for the day.
Beyond a routine visit, plant enthusiasts are encouraged to come back for family programming, adult programs, exhibits and installations plants sales and more. The conservatory offers beekeeping demonstrations, composting workshops and yoga with goats. If beer is more your jam, you'll want to mark your calendar for Beer Under Glass, the annual kick-off event for Chicago Craft Beer week that's hosted inside the conservatory.
Our Chicago editorial team is constantly updating and reviewing the best attractions, activities and venues across the city, so that you're always in the know, with the best of Chicago at your fingertips. Chicago was most recently updated with new tips on June 27, 2017.