Spring Has Sprung in the Windy City
Take advantage of the best Spring on record in 20 years to visit Chicago before Summertime high season rates hit. Incredible gardens are blooming everywhere! Spring came 6 weeks early to Chicago this year, and it's never been better to visit. During the “shoulder season” February-May, you'll find cheaper hotel rates along with spa & restaurant deals as those businesses ramp up their Summer season. Many great last minute hotel prices are available on websites like Priceline. If you're looking for a weekend jaunt to take in all the best of City Life, like restaurants, theatre, opera, etc., try Chicago right now for a great deal on good times.
2012 is shaping up to be Chicago's mildest weather in twenty years. Even though the days are 80F and evenings are 60F, rain and cooler temperatures are still a possibility. Make sure to bring clothing and gear for all types of weather in Springtime Chicago.
Chicago is full of tight-knit, active neighborhoods and communities. It is a family friendly city, and many families raise their children right in the heart of this urban center. The early fabulous weather is causing this amazing city full of nice people to burst out of their Winter hibernation and take to the streets. The lakefront is packed with people on the weekends, and restaurant patios are crowded. Unlike the US coastal cities, Chicago is one of the furthest Northern cities where you can sit out on a restaurant patio day or night, and not freeze to death. So, if you like people watching and taking in the atmosphere of a place, visit Chicago right now. It's never a better time to see this incredible collection of beautiful buildings and parks come alive.
In my neighborhood alone, the flowers & trees are all blooming at once. When you take to your feet or a bicycle and tour around Chicago's neighborhoods, you'll see gardens and blooms like this:
If gardens and birding are your thing, you must visit the Chicago Botanic Gardens. It's 385 acres houses 24 display gardens and 4 natural areas. The garden started as the Chicago Horticultural Society in 1890. After a few successful showings, the society hosted the chrysanthemum display at the World's Columbian Exposition. Influenced by Fredrick Law Olmsted, the fair's chief landscape architect, and other city leaders wanting to beautify Chicago, the society agreed to open a park. The gardens have hosted world-renowned plant and agriculture experts and been partnered with Northwestern University for many years.
Right now, the best Spring walk for plant lovers is the Bulb Garden, Regenstein Center, and Landscape Gardens. The best walk for birders is in the McDonald Woods and the Lakeside Gardens. The Chicago Botanic Garden is open 8AM til Sunset seven days a week, and is free to the public. Instead of admission you'll be charged a parking fee starting at $20 per car if you drive to the garden. From the downtown or “Loop” area of Chicago, grab the Union Pacific North Metra Line train at Ogilvie Transportation Center on Madison. You can walk to the garden when you exit at the Braeside Station, but it's about a mile. You can call a taxi, or exit at the Park Avenue Glencoe Station, and take PACE bus #213 marked “Northbrook Court”. Bus service is not available on Sundays or Holidays. For more transportation information, visit the garden's website.