When you live in a big city and don’t have a car, it can be difficult to escape. Stress levels are high and everybody is always moving a million miles an hour. Unless you want to drop a bundle on a luxe spa day, there are few places that make you truly feel like you’re releasing yourself from the chaos.
“We did not inherit the Earth from our forefathers, we are borrowing it from our descendants.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson
Thankfully, I found a little sanctuary: The Lincoln Park Conservatory, a large glass building that peaks up over the trees on the north side of Chicago. When you open the front door, a warm, tropical air replaces the crisp, January chill outside. You quickly realize that removing your layers is overwhelmingly necessary.
It feels and looks like a jungle – vines, palm trees, mango and coconut trees with fruit hanging just below the canopy. Cacao and coffee plants are tucked in the corners, and an exotic array of flowers and bushes from Africa, Asia and South America line the walkways. I couldn’t help but imagine a white sand beach at the end of the path.
Rooms of orchids and ferns shoot off from the main building. The verdant palette is extremely refreshing, especially during the gray winter months. My mind was instantly eased, and I began to feel completely at peace. Being surrounded by such beautiful life was renewing.
The best part…it’s totally free! There’s something special about being able to feel completely removed from the city’s chaos while still within it’s walls. It’s another thing when you don’t have to pay a dime. The Lincoln Park Conservatory is truly a sanctuary from the cold, concrete jungle. Another bonus is that the Lincoln Park Zoo is right around the corner.