You might know Chicago as the "Windy City" or the "City of Broad Shoulders", but one of our city's most appropriate nicknames is the "Garden City." Indeed our city's seal states clearly Urbs in Horto, Latin for "garden in city". As summer rolls around, the reason for this flowery nickname is evident: everywhere you turn, you'll see gardens big and small, in our backyards, on our parkways, even on our balconies and rooftops! If you want an intimate peek into the lovely gardens that shape our city, check out these celebrated summer garden walks.
Dearborn Garden Walk
- When: July 17; 12 p.m. - 5 p.m. (rain or shine)
- Start: Welcome Tables located at the Latin School, 49 W. North Ave.
- Admission: $35, $30 in advance
This lovely event is one of the country's oldest garden walks, offering garden enthusiasts a look inside the hidden gardens in one of Chicago's most history-filled neighborhoods. Every year, hundreds of visitors explore the Gold Coast's secret gardens, learn from local gardening experts and take part in guided sidewalk architectural tours as part of the Dearborn Garden Walk.
This year, the North Dearborn Association (NDA) announced the addition of a new garden that will be featured in an upcoming issue of Better Homes & Gardens magazine during the 58th annual Dearborn Garden Walk. Tickets include admission to 20 private gardens, a Dearborn Garden Walk program with a map for a self-guided tour, live jazz and classical music in select gardens, and guided architectural walking tours of historic Dearborn Parkway, special gardening seminars, and opportunities to talk with Master Gardeners about gardening questions.
For more information, visit: dearborngardenwalk.com or call (312) 632-1241.
Sheffield Music Festival & Garden Walk
- When: July 23-24; 11 a.m. - 5 p.m. (rain or shine)
- Start: Welcome Tables located at 2200 N. Webster & 1000 W. Sheffield
- Suggested Donation: $7; $10 after 3 p.m.
The annual Sheffield Music Festival & Garden Walk, sponsored by the Sheffield Neighborhood Association (SNA), features self-guided tours of more than 80 gardens, guided architectural tours, live entertainment by some of Chicago's and North America's finest bands, food and drink, and activities for children at the Kids' Corner. Pick up a guidebook, which contains the map and descriptions of the gardens, at the Garden Center on the lawn in front of St. Vincent de Paul Church. You'll find all the gardens located within the easily walkable boundaries of the Sheffield area of the Lincoln Park neighborhood.
Another exciting component of Sheffield Music Festival & Garden Walk is the 5th annual Chicago Craft Beer Festival, a stand-alone microbrew fest that showcases specialty, seasonal and small batch beers from local, regional and national craft brewers. The festival is held in tandem with the Garden Walk throughout the weekend.
For more information, visit: sheffieldgardenwalk.com
Bucktown Garden Walk
- When: August 6-7; 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. (rain or shine)
- Start: Welcome Tables located at Club Lucky, 1824 W. Wabansia
- Admission: $10 suggested donation
Each year over over 100 private gardens open their gates to visitors in Chicago's charming Bucktown neighborhood (North Ave. to Fullerton Ave.; Western Ave. to Ashland Ave.). A sponsored trolley transports them around this one square mile neighborhood, from garden to garden. Bucktown, named after the goats raised in the neighborhood during the 19th century, is a primarily residential neighborhood dotted with trendy boutiques, cafes and restaurants. The homes — and their gardens — are a delightful mix of both old and ultra modern.
For the kids, Lottie's Pub (1925 W. Cortland Ave.) will host a Garden Petting Zoo from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. The little ones can touch and feed a variety of small animals not usually found in urban gardens. Adults will want to carve out some time at Club Lucky, where live entertainment will be onstage all weekend long. Churchill Park with also host a nature-themed kid zone with arts, crafts and more.For more information, visit: bucktown.org/events/annual-events/
Want more sightseeing walks in Chicago? Read about Pay-What-Can Walking Tours in Chicago, or take a self guided tour of the city's top parks and gardens.