As far as I’m concerned, the Art Institute gardens are one of the best-kept secrets at the museum. Which is hard to believe since the award-winning North Garden is right at the corner of Monroe and Michigan. But it’s a veritable urban oasis. With lush greenery and flowers in full bloom, stop by to walk amongst the fantastically named Mount Everest and Purple Sensation Allium (see image above), which are actually from the onion family!
If you don’t have time to actually go in the museum, the North Garden holds sculptures by modern masters like Henry Moore and David Smith, as well as a nearly hidden granite sculpture by German artist Ulrich Rückriem. But you can’t miss Alexander Calder’s bright Flying Dragon (far left side of the image above), a steel sculpture painted in Calder’s signature “Calder Red.” I always thought this was supposed to represent mythical dragons, but recently discovered that it is (a little more aptly) inspired by dragonflies in flight.
And if you work in the Loop, the gardens are a great place for lunch. BYO or pick up a sandwich at our new North Garden Bistro (starting June 3).
So now that I’ve ruined my favorite secret spot, I’ll see you there!