Sometimes a person just needs a little patch of peace in their busy day. A place to be alone for a while without the distractions of the day to weigh on their weary mind. In a big, boisterous, electric city like Chicago, it can be difficult to find some peaceful places to chill out. After living here for twelve years, I have rounded up a list of eight peaceful places where I like to enjoy some quiet time alone and recharge my batteries. Follow me to the following cool, Chicago spots:
One of the loveliest and underrated peaceful places in Chicago is Humboldt Park. It is a sprawling oasis on the west side of the city with a 207-acre park as its crowning jewel. The Boathouse Cafe inside the park is a great spot to chill out over a tasty meal and cocktails as the sun transitions from early morning to dusk. While Humboldt Park provides peace during the day, the Boathouse Cafe hosts specially themed events like a rodeo night and a Bossa Nova night on Wednesday.
Garfield Park Conservatory
Chicago, like many large cities, has a couple of conservatories where you can bliss out among some gorgeous plants and flowers. Garfield Park Conservatory is usually less crowded than the Lincoln Park Conservatory, and so it makes my list of awesome, peaceful places in Chicago. Just hop on the CTA Green Line to the Garfield Park Conservatory ‘L’ stop, and you’re there! I enjoy spending time here by myself on cold winter days, especially. It is the perfect staycation day in the Windy City. If you are feeling more social, check out the special events like “Beer Under Glass,” Wine Under Glass,” “Music Under Glass,” and “Fleurotica” (a floral fashion show).
PRO TIP: Read my article about how to spend 48 Hours in Chicago Alone.
While everyone else is descending upon Cloud Gate (a.k.a “The Bean”) and Crown Fountain in Millennium Park you should duck into Lurie Garden. This elegant spot is off of the main lawn in Millennium Park near the modern wing of the Chicago Art Institute. The plants and flowers change with the seasons and the colors pop amidst the stellar Chicago skyline. There is a zen body of water where you can dip your toes. Honestly, I love to come here with my morning coffee and breathe in the aroma of this lovely garden before my day begins.
Chicago Art Institute, South Garden
Perhaps my favorite garden in Chicago with a zen-like feel is the South Garden at the Chicago Art Institute. Most people stroll right by this peaceful place in favor of Millennium Park or Grant Park. South Garden is located near the south lion which guards the entrance of the Chicago Art Institute on Michigan Avenue. This little nook features the beautiful Fountain of the Great Lakes, canopy-like honey locust trees and reflective pools into which you can gaze and sort through the cobwebs in your busy mind.
Asado Coffee – Pickwick Lane
Last year, I wrote a blog about Chicago’s Hidden Eats for my Feeding Off The Rails site. Asado Coffee on Pickwick Lane off of Jackson Avenue in Chicago’s Loop made that list. Asado Coffee is not only hidden; it is one of the most peaceful places in downtown Chicago. Why? Blink, and you will miss it! Located just steps from the corner of Jackson and Wabash Avenues, Asado Coffee is situated down an alley which was once home to a stable that survived the Great Chicago Fire of 1871. Once you buy your caffeinated beverage and a pastry from this teeny, tiny spot, grab a chair in the alley (there is no room to sit or stand inside!) under a string of lights and watch the world go by. While everyone else in Chicago’s Loop is rushing around, you can hide away for a while.
Spirit of Music Garden, Grant Park
If you find yourself in Chicago’s South Loop and the noisy crowds have you losing your mind, head over to the Spirit of Music Garden in Grant Park. Spirit of Music Garden is home to my favorite free summer event, Chicago Summerdance. During the weekdays, this peaceful place is the perfect spot to meditate in the middle of the city away from the larger crowds. It’s also beautifully landscaped.
Chicago Women’s Park & Gardens
Chicago Women’s Park & Gardens is my absolute favorite peaceful place to relax and tune out the world and it happens to be in my neighborhood. This little gem in the beautiful Prairie District near Soldier Field is home to Chicago’s oldest houses (Clarke House and Glessner House). Tours are available of these two iconic Chicago homes. There is a pretty fountain in the center of this park where I love to take my morning coffee or an afternoon snack. I always feel refreshed and calm, after spending some time here.
12th Street Beach
Chicago boasts many wonderful beaches along the 18 miles of stunning lakefront. However, if you are looking to avoid the larger more crowded Oak Street Beach, North Avenue Beach and others, head to the petite 12th Street Beach in the South Loop. This peaceful place near Soldier Field and Museum Campus is my pick for some peace and quiet with a side of sand. The crescent moon shape of this little oasis gives it a cozy feel away from the crowds. This beach has a concession where you can purchase food and drinks while you take in the sun. It also happens to be in my neighborhood, so I am very protective of it. Please clean up after yourself while you are there and have fun!
How are you feeling? Relaxed yet? If not, head out to these eight peaceful places in Chicago and chill out. You’ll thank me.
ROAM. REVEL. REPEAT.