1. Garfield Park Conservatory

    Beneath glass-domed roofs, flora from around the world thrives in spacious greenhouses. Information panels give the lowdown as you stroll through the conservatory’s six indoor areas that include a Children’s Garden and the Sweet House (containing plants such as cacao, sugar cane, etc).

    • 300 N. Central Park Ave.

    • 312 746 5100

    • El station: Conservatory-Central Park Dr. (green line)

    • Open 9am– 5pm daily, Thu 9am–8pm

    • Free

    • DA

  2. Chicago Botanic Garden

    About 25 miles (40 km) north of Chicago, this attraction comprises 385 acres (155 ha) of natural habitats and beautifully landscaped gardens. Some of the most popular are the romantic Rose Garden, the tranquil island-based Japanese Garden, and the charming English Walled Garden.

    • 1000 Lake Cook Rd. Glencoe

    • 1 847 835 5440

    • Metra station: Glencoe

    • Open 8am–sunset daily

    • Adm.

    • DA

    Chicago Botanic Garden
  3. Historic Pullman District

    This industrial town was conceived in the 1880s by railroad magnate George Pullman for his workers. The planned utopia had apartments, shops, a hospital, and a hotel, but failed after a strike in 1894, when a decrease in wages made rents unaffordable.

    • Metra Station: Pullman/111th St.

    Visitor Center

    • 11141 S. Cottage Grove Ave.

    • open 11am–3pm Tue–Sun

    • 1 773 785 8901

    • DA

    Church window, Historic Pullman District
  4. Illinois Institute of Technology (IIT)

    In 1940, Ludwig Mies van der Rohe planned the campus of this new university. He also designed around 20 of the buildings, which demonstrate his design philosophies. Stop by the on-campus visitor center for information and docent-guided or self-guided tours.

    • 3201 S. State St. (Visitor Center)

    • 312 567 3000

    • El station: 35th-Bronzeville-IIT (green line)

    • Tours $5

    • DA

  5. Sheridan Road

    This lakefront road’s low speed limit is perfect for gawping at the palatial, architecturally diverse homes that line it as you drive north to Evanston and beyond. Art buffs might like to stop at the Evanston Art Center at Harley Clarke House – one of the oldest and largest community visual art centers in Illinois.

    • From Rogers Park to Lake Bluff

    Evanston Art Center

    • 2603 N. Sheridan Rd.

    • 847 475 5300

    • open 10am–10pm Mon–Thu, 10am–1pm Fri & Sat, 1–4pm Sun

    • Free

  6. Bronzeville

    A bronze memorial at Martin Luther King, Jr. Drive and 35th Street honors the journey many African-Americans made to this neighborhood as they fled the oppression of the South in the early 20th century. Nearby, sidewalk plaques celebrate local luminaries. Chicago’s answer to Harlem offers jazz and blues in its clubs, graceful mansions aplenty, and lots of fine soul food.

    • El station: 35th-Bronzeville-IIT (green line)

  7. Baha’i Temple

    This exquisite white structure is one of eight temples of the Baha’i faith worldwide. Its nine doors symbolize how people can come to God from any direction. At night, spotlights enhance its ethereal beauty.

    • 100 Linden Ave, Wilmette

    • El station: Linden Ave

    • Visitors’ Center open 10am–8pm daily (Oct–May to 5pm); Temple open 7am–10pm daily

    • 1 847 853 2300

    • Free

    • DA

    Baha’i Temple
  8. Historic Long Grove

    Thanks to strict regulations, the 19th-century heritage of this quaint town 30 miles (48 km) northwest of Chicago has been preserved. The candy-filled Long Grove Confectionery store is a local institution. Annual events include the popular Chocolate Festival.

    • At Route 83 & Old Route 53

    • Visitor Center 1 847 634 0888

    • Open Mon–Sat 10am–5pm, 11am–5pm Sun

  9. Brookfield Zoo

    Over 5,900 animals live together in themed, naturalistic environments at this popular zoo. Zones include Tropic World, where thunderstorms occur regularly (you stay dry) and Habitat Africa, whose new Forest exhibit has shy okapi and a recreated African village. In Be A Bird House, see what kind of bird you’d be on a machine that measures your flapping ability.

    • 3300 Golf Rd, Brookfield

    • Metra station: Hollywood

    • Open 10am–5pm daily

    • 1 708 485 2200

    • Adm. (2 and under, free)

    • DA

  10. Evanston

    Just north of Chicago, this dynamic suburb brims with acclaimed restaurants, galleries, and independent shops. Northwestern University’s Mary and Leigh Block Museum of Art and Sculpture Garden is well worth a visit, as is the historic Grosse Point Lighthouse and Maritime Museum.

    • Visitors Bureau 1 847 328 1500

    • El station: Davis

    Grosse Point Lighthouse, Evanston
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