Visiting the Lurie Garden in Chicago

Updated on March 14, 2017
Lurie Garden in summer with skyscrapers in the background
Lurie Garden in summer with skyscrapers in the background | Source

A Garden in the Heart of the City

The Lurie Garden is a free, outdoor garden located just steps from the Modern Art Wing of the Art Institute of Chicago. Opened in June of 2004, it offers the viewer awesome views of the Chicago skyline as the backdrop for some truly lovely gardens that incorporate perennials, trees and, shrubs into its landscape. The gardens feature both sun and shade options that are plotted out in a grid pattern with multiple sections. The plots consist of many native plantings that attract pollinators and birds. Visitors can view these garden plots from any number of benches scattered throughout the garden or have a seat on one of several retaining walls that envelop each plot.

Pale Purple Coneflower
Pale Purple Coneflower | Source

Lurie Garden Location

A
Lurie Garden Chicago:
Lurie Garden, E Monroe St, Chicago, IL 60601, USA

get directions

White Coneflowers inside Lurie Garden
White Coneflowers inside Lurie Garden | Source

How the Garden Came to Be

The Lurie Garden is so named from a generous benefactor, Ann Lurie, in conjunction with the Robert and Ann Lurie Foundation. The foundation, which was formed after Robert Lurie's (a prominent real estate and investment banker in Chicago) untimely death at the age of 48 from colon cancer, donated an endowment of $10 million for the upkeep of the gardens. The 13.2 Million to build the park itself was raised by the Millennium Park Foundation by contributions from various private donors. Public support donations and the membership program help fund the garden's mission.

The plot on which it sits was once owned by the Illinois Central Rail yard and also housed a few parking lots. In 1997 it was made available for purchase and the city of Chicago purchased the plot for park development, thus giving the property back to the people as it was originally intended by the Chicago forefathers and a 1836 Board of Canal Commissions decree.

The land east of Michigan avenue between Randolph to the north and 11th street to the south was designated as "public ground". The decree says: "A common to remain forever open, clear and free of any buildings or other obstructions". This decree is protected by legislation from 4 Illinois Supreme Court rulings.

Coneflowers in late summer with view to the south
Coneflowers in late summer with view to the south | Source
A refreshing dip at lunch.
A refreshing dip at lunch. | Source
Purple Prairie Clover
Purple Prairie Clover | Source

Design Elements

As stated before, the garden is designed into several garden plots in both shade and sun, with trees and shrubs anchoring the design. Materials used in the creation of this garden are Geo-foam (lightweight polystyrene blocks used as fill) underneath the soil and hard scape elements like walkways, retaining walls, stairs etc. The retaining walls are constructed of local Midwestern limestone. There is a man-made stream that runs through the center of the garden that is clad in granite, which is very popular during the summer months with the locals on their lunch break. I myself have walked over to the garden many times to dip my toes in the cool water while eating my lunch and enjoying the garden and the weather!

Queen of the Prairie
Queen of the Prairie | Source

Types of Plants in the Garden

There is a very large assortment of plants located here and designed to bloom in succession from spring through late fall. The best times to visit are from June though September, where you will get several plants performing at their peak bloom time creating masses of flowers. See the chart below for season and what is blooming in each season.

Species Tulip in Spring
Species Tulip in Spring | Source

Lurie Garden Plants by Season

Spring
Summer
Fall/Winter
Prairie Smoke
Globe Thistle
Sea Oats
Virginia Bluebells
Giant Hyssop
Anemone
Species Tulips
Butterfly Weed
Switch Grass
Shooting Star
Foxglove
Bluestem
Peony
Catmint
Rattlesnake Master
Wild White Indigo
Pale Coneflower
Tennesee Coneflower
Allium
Liatris (white & Purple types)
Purple Coneflower
Giant Tulip
Daylily
Wood Aster
Muscari
Bee Balm
Purple Love Grass
Windflower
Oregano
Toad Lily
Crocus
Queen of the Prairie
Compass Plant
Persian Lily
Joe Pye Weed
White False Indigo
Mountain Mint
Culver's Root
Betony
Glory of the Snow
Meadow Sage
Skullcap
Daffodil
Phlox
Yellow Coneflower
 
Sea Holly
Golden Alexanders
 
Iron Weed
Goatsbeard
 
Swamp Milkweed
Russian Sage
 
Goldenrod
 
 
Wild Quinine
 
 
Purple Prairie Clover
 
 
Common Milkweed
 
Late summer garden with red daylilies and purple coneflower.  Art Institute modern wing in the background.
Late summer garden with red daylilies and purple coneflower. Art Institute modern wing in the background. | Source
Swath of Alliums in the foreground with Rattlesnake master and Russian Sage in the background
Swath of Alliums in the foreground with Rattlesnake master and Russian Sage in the background | Source
Phlox with Culver's Root
Phlox with Culver's Root | Source

Important Information for your Visit

It is important to note, while the gardens are free and open to the public the majority of the time, it is wise to check ahead of time to make sure the gardens are open. Large events held in Millennium Park and Grant Park, like Lollapalooza, can temporarily close the garden. This is for the safety of the plants to make sure they aren't getting trampled by large crowds. You can check the status of accessibility by going to their website: http://www.luriegarden.org/

Visit Often for Changing Views

The Lurie Garden is one of those places that you cannot visit just once; the landscape is constantly changing throughout the year. Visit often to view the garden in all seasons. The best part about the garden aside from the interesting and native plants is that it is FREE! So even if you are on a tight budget, you can easily take public transit downtown (the CTA and Metra have service very close to the garden) and stop by for a visit. There are also several other public artworks downtown you can visit for free, so you can turn your afternoon into a self-guided sightseeing tour of the iconic city works.

Rattlesnake Master
Rattlesnake Master | Source
Globe Thistle
Globe Thistle | Source

Questions & Answers

    Comments

      0 of 8192 characters used
      Post Comment

      • LisaRoppolo profile imageAUTHOR

        Lisa Roppolo 

        18 months ago from Joliet, IL

        Thanks, it is really a gem right in the heart of the city!

      • Coffeequeeen profile image

        Louise Powles 

        18 months ago from Norfolk, England

        It certainly looks a beautiful place to visit. If I ever get the chance to visit Chicago, I'll pay Lurie Garden a visit. The flowers look lovely. =)

      working

      This website uses cookies

      As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, wanderwisdom.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

      For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://wanderwisdom.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

      Show Details
      Necessary
      HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
      LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
      Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
      AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
      HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
      HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
      Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
      CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
      Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
      Features
      Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
      Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
      Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
      Marketing
      Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
      Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
      Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
      Statistics
      Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
      ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
      Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)