One of my summer pleasures is taking advantage of visiting the Chicago Botanic Garden in the evening. In the summer, the garden stays open until 9PM, slightly after sunset, which gives you plenty of time to amble around and explore. A stroll through the gardens can be the perfect way to start off a date night or just a tranquil way to end a busy summer day. Here are the reasons that we LOVE summer evenings at the Chicago Botanic Garden:
- Fewer visitors: The later you arrive in the evening, the crowds tend to dwindle. You will find that you have parts of the garden to yourself.
- New views: The changing light will let you see your favorite sections of the garden with fresh, new perspectives.
- Great time to take pictures: With fewer guests, it is easier to zoom in for that perfect shot.
- More animals are out: The calm and stillness that descends upon the garden encourages more animals to come out. We have seen many types of birds including egrets, herons, cormorants, starlings, cardinals and more. We have also seen rabbits, squirrels, chipmunks and raccoons.
- Weddings: There may be a wedding going on when you visit. Of course, this may result in an area being blocked off but you may be able to admire a bit of the celebration in a lovely setting!
- Cooler temperatures: Cooler temperatures mean that you can enjoy the garden a little longer!
- Tranquility: The stillness and calm that descends on the garden will soothe your soul.
Things to know:
- Check the calendar: Once in awhile the garden is closed for a special event, so check the calendar before heading out.
- Prepare for mosquitoes: Just as you would prepare for any other outdoor location, be sure to protect yourself from mosquitoes.
- Consider bringing a jacket: The temperature may drop a bit, so bring a jacket with you.
- Take advantage of musical events: Carillon concerts on Mondays, Music on the Esplanade on Tuedays, Dancin' Sprouts on Wednesday, Hot Summer Nights on Thursday--there are plenty of opportunities for a little extra fun! Lights on Evening Island further enhance the evening experience! The Garden Grille stays open until 9PM for a nice meal before or after a concert.
- Admission: Admission to the garden is free, parking is $25 per car during weekdays and $30 on weekends and holidays. Parking is free for members.
An evening at the Chicago Botanic Gardens is a serene experience and a great way to begin a date night. It can also be what your family needs to calm down at the end of a day. The peace is definitely what we need after a crazy, summer day whether we visit on a date night or a family!