Chicago, Illinois, might be known for its top-notch museums and other urban attractions, but its location in the heart of the Great Lakes region means the city is also a wonderful place to stay if you enjoy spending time outdoors. Surrounding the city are some delightful green spaces to explore, as well as the scenic shores of Lake Michigan.
Chicago Botanic Garden
Overlooking the lake 20 miles north of downtown hotels in Chicago, in the village of Glencoe, is the 385-acre Chicago Botanic Garden. Choose hotels near the Chicago Botanic Garden, and you'll be able to spend a whole day exploring its six miles of lake shore and nine islands that comprise more than 30 distinct gardens and natural areas. Among them are an English oak meadow, a rose garden, a fruit and vegetable garden, and a bonsai collection. Enjoy the heady scents and tactile leaves and blooms in the Sensory Garden. Bring a camera to capture the waterlilies and lotuses in the serene Aquatic Garden. If you're visiting with children, don't miss the Model Railroad Garden, where 18 model trains pass by miniature American landmarks. Kids can also borrow free Discovery Backpacks full of tools to help them identify plants and animals. Narrated tram tours run through the garden from late April through October. For more of the great outdoors within easy reach of hotels close to Chicago Botanic Garden, go boating, kayaking, fishing, or hiking in the Skokie Lagoons Forest Preserve. Its 894 acres include scenic pools, channels, and islands, as well as picnic areas and trails. Seven miles from the garden is the Kohl Children's Museum. Its fun, hands-on exhibits are designed to promote learning.
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