If you’ve got an extra day to spend next time you are in Chicago, see if you can’t work in a trip, just 25 miles north of downtown. Two of my favorite places will make your Chicago trip so much more memorable – the Chicago Botanic Gardens and Ravinia Festival.
Chicago Botanic Gardens
More than a million people come each year to wander and wonder at the 26 mature gardens and four raw, natural areas in the Garden. With 385 acres, nine mini-islands and six miles of shoreline, there’s an abundance to see and to enjoy.
With so many gardens, it seems they could have run out of names, but you’ll find them all here on this interactive map. For an interactive map of Chicago Botanic Gardens, click here.
Young boys in your party? Before they complain, tell them there’s a Model Railroad Garden (#25) and the pathways are marvelous places to ride their bikes.
One of our favorites was the Japanese Gardens, set on their own island. Another was the English Walled Garden. So many to see and to enjoy.
While admission to the gardens is free (Yeah!) parking is a tad expensive. Cars are $25, vans are $30 and gulp, RV’s are $65.
For more information, see the Chicago Botanic Garden website: http://www.chicagobotanic.org/ It’s located at 1000 Lake Cook Road; Glencoe, IL 60022 Phone 847.835.5440.
Just minutes away from the garden, and right on the rail line from Chicago is Ravinia Festival. It’s the oldest outdoor music festival in the nation with 120 to 150 live concerts each summer from June through September. You’ll also find the Chicago Symphony Orchestra here for the summer season.
Whatever music genre gets you going, you’ll probably find it here at Ravinia. From One Republic to Crosby Stills and Nash, from Ramsey Lewis to the Julliard String Quartet, you’re sure to find something of interest.
Plan on packing a picnic and enjoy an evening on the lawn, or dine at one the many eateries and then sit in the pavilion. Combo packages are available with dinner and tickets for a cost-savings package.
The lawn experience is where it’s at. Although you can’t see the stage from most areas, there is a fabulous sound system so you’ll enjoy the performance where ever you are.
Want to be like the locals? Pull a wagon full of food and beverages with you and include a candelabra for illumination and mood. (Seriously.) No grills or beer kegs.
Check their upcoming schedule and find your way to Ravinia Music Festival; 418 Sheridan Road; Highland Park, IL 60035; Phone 847.266.5000.
Maureen Bardwell and her photojournalist husband Doug love to travel the world in search of those unique, off the beaten track restaurants, bakeries, wineries, and local craft shops. If you’ve got a favorite you’d like to see mentioned here, drop us a line. To get our stories delivered to your inbox, click the RSS feed or the “Subscribe” button above or follow Doug on Facebook , Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+ or our blog.