Why we love it
In a city known for its extensive collection of green space (Chicago is the “city in a garden” after all), Garfield Park is truly one of a kind. The neighborhood’s namesake park first opened in 1874 and remains a sprawling urban oasis that’s a favorite of locals and visitors.
The park’s crown jewel is the Garfield Park Conservatory. Inside, you’ll find rooms dedicated to different botanical environments, including the desert house, fern room, tropical palm house, and more.
Beyond the park itself, Garfield Park is making a name for itself as an emerging hub for entrepreneurs. The Hatchery is an innovative incubator and commercial kitchen that’s home to more than 100 local food and beverage startups. The space hosts seasonal community markets in their outdoor plaza.
Explore like a local
- Check out the Garfield Park Conservatory calendar for cool events like yoga, art classes, or beer tastings in their stunning green house.
- Stop by the new community plaza that hosts a family-friendly outdoor roller rink in the summer.
- Try an authentic Chicago hot dog at The Original Maxwell Street or order a mountain of barbecue meats at Wiley’s Chicken and Ribs.
- Peek inside the Our Lady of Sorrows Basilica, known for its soaring interior.
Start your day meandering through the naturalistic Garfield Park grounds. The park was originally designed by legendary landscape architect Jens Jensen and remains an excellent example of his pioneering Prairie-style design.
The centerpiece of the park is the Garfield Fieldhouse — trust us, you won’t be able to miss it. The massive gold-domed structure is both dramatic and detailed, one of the few Chicago buildings designed in a Spanish Baroque style. It looks out over a fishing lagoon and a natural area that includes wetland, prairie, and savanna. The park also holds tennis courts, soccer fields, a playground, a swimming pool, and a flower garden.
On the north side of the park, you’ll find the Garfield Park Conservatory, also designed by Jensen. Completed in 1908, the striking glass structure was designed to emulate a “great Midwestern haystack”. Admission is always free, with donations accepted. Spend some time admiring the manicured outdoor gardens before heading inside. Wander between the themed rooms to see lush displays of exotic plants from all over the world — you’ll see why they call it landscape art under glass.
Next, continue your art exploration at345 Art Gallery. The modern space displays works by local artists and students that specialize in painting, wood burning, sculpture, and beyond. Check their calendar for upcoming events, like live music performances or paint-and-sip classes.
Chicago Greeter: free guided tours
Taste, shop and explore the neighborhoods with a friendly local as your guide. Explore rich histories, diverse cultural traditions and hidden treasures. See sides of the city you may not have adventured out to on your own, and take away a truly authentic Chicago experience. Greeter visits are customized based on your choice of neighborhoods, language and interests.Request a tour with a Chicago Greeter