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Lurie Garden
Photograph: Robin Carlson

Where to see spring flowers in Chicago

Find spring blooms and foliage in Chicago's best public parks, gardens and nature preserves in and around town

Written by
Nick Kotecki
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Chicago adopted the motto Urbs in Horto, Latin for “City in a Garden,” when the small settlement between the river and lake incorporated in 1837. Shortly after, a parcel of land that is now part of Grant Park was put aside “forever to remain vacant of buildings,” and the legacy of that philosophy lives on today.

Our many parks and gardens grow lush every year at this time with a plethora of things to do in spring, making them the perfect spot to drop in after enjoying one of the best brunches in Chicago. Some of the city's favorite green spaces are also some of Chicago's best attractions.

If you haven't taken the time to stop and smell the flora, now's the perfect time to explore Chicago’s gardens with this guide to the city’s spectacular flowers and foliage.

RECOMMENDED: Things to do in spring in Chicago

The best spots for spring flowers

  • Things to do
  • Literary events
  • Woodlawn

While the Wooded Island and its Japanese gardens are being renovated, you can still enjoy the cherry blossoms along the Columbia Basin just south of the Museum of Science and Industry. Look for blossoms to appear in early April or even earlier if the warm weather holds.

Lurie Garden
  • Things to do
  • Millennium Park

Head to Chicago’s front yard for views of the skyline and thousands of hand-planted flowers in the southeast corner of Millennium Park. Protected by two 15-foot hedges, the garden is home to more than 60 species of birds and one of the largest green rooftops in the world.

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Morton Arboretum
  • Things to do
  • Suburbs

For those craving an experience a little more au naturel, consider a visit to this preserve of approximately 1,700 acres of woodland, wildflower-strewn prairie and ponds. Sixteen miles of hiking trails wind through the grounds. 

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Garfield Park Conservatory
  • Attractions
  • Parks and gardens
  • East Garfield Park

Azaleas, spring bulbs and perennials complement the reds and blues of art collective Luftwerk’s LED light installation, Solarise: A Sea of All Colors.

Lincoln Park Conservatory
  • Attractions
  • Parks and gardens
  • Lincoln Park

At the Spring Flower Show, find a rotating selection of spring blooms, including the leafy descendants of the azaleas that bloomed at the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition. 

Volunteer at Chicago gardens

Kilbourn Park Organic Greenhouse
  • Things to do
  • Irving Park

Help weed and water the beds at the Chicago Park District’s only teaching greenhouse, and take care of one of the first public fruit tree orchards planted in a major U.S. city. 

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Humboldt Park Earth Day Clean-Up
  • Things to do
  • Humboldt Park

Join volunteers in one of Chicago’s biggest and most beautiful green spaces, Humboldt Park, to assist in cleaning and making improvements to the grounds. Work gloves and T-shirts provided on a first-come, first-served basis.

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