With very little snow on the ground but ever-dropping temperatures, the tropical oasis of the Garfield Park Conservatory felt great last Thursday. Located in Chicago's "up and coming" neighborhood of Garfield Park, the conservatory is only a short drive from my apartment and has been on my roommates' and my to do lists for some time now. It's totally free, and features several rooms filled with palm trees, ferns, cacti, and special seasonal flowers.
Their Holiday Flower show is over now, to be replaced with the Spring show, but we did get to see the room filled with evergreens and poinsettias. My favorite was either the Desert House or the Fern Room.
Walking around what is essentially a giant greenhouse felt like an escape from reality--from the smell of dirt to the sound of waterfalls, it was hard to believe that traffic and skyscrapers were right outside. Fun trivia about the Garfield Park Conservatory: The Dilemma, which is set in Chicago, includes scenes filmed here. (See seconds .59-1.09 in the trailer.)