Welcome to Chicago "The City In a Garden"
Sunday, June 13, 2021
5 Days/4 Nights
Thursday, June 17, 2021
DAY 1 - Sunday, June 13:
Your “City in a Garden” adventure begins with your mid-morning arrival at the O'Hare International Airport where you will be greeted by your full-time tour manager. Board your private motor coach for a 1:00 pm arrival at Chicago's renowned Old Town Art Fair situated in the heart of the charming Old Town Triangle Historical District. The Old Town Art Fair has been voted America's #1 Art Fair! The Fair features Fine Art - exclusively - and allows only original pieces created by the artists themselves.
Here you will find displays of 250 nationally acclaimed artists, a garden walk, live music and a Food Court featuring unique choices from Old Town restaurants, along with Chicago classics, beer, wine and more!
While at the Fair, take a peek into the charming and delightful Old Town Triangle neighborhood. Over 50 gardens will be in bloom and on display, many of them private and viewable only during the Art Fair. Descriptions of the gardens are displayed throughout the Garden Walk. You’ll also discover historical information, fun facts and anecdotes about the homes, architecture and past and present residents.
The afternoon is at your leisure to explore the Art Fair and Garden Walk. Have lunch on your own in the Food Court.
Late afternoon, board the coach and travel to your hotel and home for four nights, the historic Millennium Knickerbocker. Established in 1927, the hotel has had many identities, including a Penthouse casino and speakeasy once run by the Capone family. You’ll find markers of this iconic history all around the hotel as the old world meets the new. This full-service property is located just off Magnificent Mile, home to over 400 retailers and high-end shops. You are certain to appreciate the European style and gracious service, both trademarks of this elegant hotel.
After you have settled in to your rooms, join a staff member and embark on a tour through this historic property. Witness the Crystal Ballroom and the secret stairway from the top floor of the penthouse where Al Capone’s brother ran a speakeasy and casino during Prohibition. Learn how in 1970, Hugh Hefner and Playboy Enterprises purchased the property and operated it as Playboy Towers until 1979. The hotel revels in history and the staff is proud to share it with you.
After the tour, have a beverage in the lounge, relax in your room or head out to explore some of the shops.
Your dinner destination is located less than a 10-minute walk from the hotel. The iconic Rosebud on Rush has been host to celebrities, politicians and global leaders and retains an authenticity and a high level of quality and service that has become an industry standard. Dine on Italian fare and savor the flavors of Rosebud Traditions.
DAY 2 - Monday, June 14:
Start your day with an included breakfast served in the hotel’s lovely NiX Restaurant.
Then, board the coach and head out for a day immersed in gardens, parks, art and ages-old tradition.
Your first stop is at the Shakespeare Garden located on the campus of Northwestern University. In 1915, the Drama League of America recommended the construction of Shakespeare gardens to commemorate the 300th anniversary of the playwright's death.
Planned in 1915 and completed in 1929, the garden was the first Shakespeare Garden in the United States. The garden was designed by landscape architect Jens Jensen and was constructed by the Garden Club of Evanston, which still maintains the area. In 1988, the garden was listed on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places.
The garden is divided into eight flowerbeds. The four outer beds are designed informally, while the four inner beds are formal gardens. The borders of the garden are lined with hawthorn trees, many of which were imported from France when the garden was first planted. The more than fifty varieties of plants in the garden were either mentioned in Shakespeare's works, common in the Tudor period in England or are cultivars of plants in the other two categories. The garden also includes a fountain with a plaque honoring Shakespeare.
Board the coach and head back to the city where you will arrive at the Lincoln Park neighborhood and meet your local guide. Lincoln Park is a designated community area on the North Side of Chicago and it is one of the most affluent neighborhoods in Chicago. Its namesake, Lincoln Park, contains the Lincoln Park Zoo, Lincoln Park Conservatory, the Chicago History Museum, the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum, the Alfred Caldwell Lily Pool, the North Pond Nature Sanctuary, North Avenue Beach, playing fields, a very prominent statue of General Ulysses S. Grant, as well as a famous statue of Abraham Lincoln.
Your stop features a visit to the renowned Alfred Caldwell Lily Pool, an important example of Prairie School landscape architecture. The moment you step through the Fullerton Gate, you will enter a hidden garden of unmatched beauty. Only bird songs and the sound of a gentle waterfall break the restful silence. Follow the stone walk encircling the lily pool and discover a pavilion, council ring and diverse native plantings. This is the vision of landscape architect, Alfred Caldwell: “a hidden garden for the people of Chicago designed to resemble a river meandering through a great midwestern prairie.” Your guide will share the fascinating history of this very special spot on earth.
Next, you’re off to the rooftop garden at McCormick Place, the largest convention center in North America. Architects planned a green roof to mitigate the environmental impact of the building, and went a step further by creating a charming terrace event space with skyline views. More than 8,000 pounds of produce are grown on the 2.5-acre roof space each year for SAVOR...Chicago, the convention center's food service provider and Windy City Harvest program partner.The garden is home to nearly 100 different varieties of vegetables, fruits, herbs, edible flowers, perennials, native prairie flowers and a small orchard plus 20,000 honeybees, butterflies and worms. The garden is partially maintained with members of the Cook County transitional program designed for ex-inmates who want to learn the basics of agriculture.
Board the coach after your visit and travel just a short distance to your next destination, The Art Institute of Chicago. Say goodbye to your guide upon arrival. The Institute, founded in 1879, is one of the oldest and largest art museums in the United States with a permanent collection of nearly 300,000 works of art. Its collection, stewarded by 11 curatorial departments, is encyclopedic, and includes iconic works such as Georges Seurat's A Sunday on La Grande Jatte, Pablo Picasso's The Old Guitarist, Edward Hopper's Nighthawks and Grant Wood's American Gothic. The Art Institute also has a conservation science department, five conservation laboratories and one of the largest art history and architecture libraries in the country—the Ryerson and Burnham Libraries.
Begin your visit with lunch on your own at the Museum Café or the Balcony Café. Then, enjoy time on your own to explore the exhibits of interest.
After a busy start to the day, it’s time for a little relaxation. Depart the Institute and walk across the street to Russian Tea Time, one of Chicago’s culinary landmarks. Owner and Chef, Klara Muchnik, was born and raised in Ukraine. In 1990, Klara and her family immigrated to the U.S. and settled in Chicago. Klara dreamt of opening a restaurant that combined her Russian roots with the rich culinary flavors of the former Soviet Republics, and Russian Tea Time was born. Sit back and savor the flavors of a pot of fine tea, beginnings, savories and sweets.
After tea, your last stop of the day is a “must see and do” for any visitor to Chicago…. the Architecture River Cruise. During this 45-minute narrated tour you will witness Chicago’s legendary architecture and learn of the exceptional designers who created this ever-changing legacy.
When your cruise ends at 5:30 pm, board the coach and travel a short distance to your hotel. The remainder of the day is at your leisure. You may want to venture out to explore the shops and discover your new favorite restaurant for dinner on your own. Or, you may simply relax and have dinner at the hotel’s restaurant.
DAY 3 - Tuesday, June 15:
Following breakfast at the hotel, you will be joined by award-winning author, noted historian and consultant for the Chicago Park District, Julia S. Bachrach. She served as historian and planning supervisor to the Chicago Park District for more than two decades. Her books include The City in a Garden: A History of Chicago’s Parks and Inspired by Nature: The Garfield Park Conservatory and Chicago’s West Side. She previously taught courses at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and the Illinois Institute of Technology. She received the 2015 Distinguished Service Award from the American Institute of Architecture-Chicago. You are in for an enjoyable and informative day as you head out with Julia to explore themes and places of Chicago and its surrounding region.
Your first visit is at the Frank Lloyd Wright Home and Studio. Along the ride, Julia will offer commentary about Wright’s personal history and how he became one of the most influential architects of the 20thcentury. At the age of 22, Frank Lloyd Wright purchased the property and built the home in 1889 with a $5,000 loan from his employer, Louis Sullivan. In the studio, Wright and associated architects advanced the Prairie School of Architecture and designed many notable structures. Your visit includes a one-hour guided tour of the home and studio.
When you depart the Frank Lloyd Wright Home and Studio, follow Julia on a windshield/walking tour of the Frank Lloyd Wright/Prairie School of Architecture Historic District. Witness some of the 25 buildings in Oak Park that were designed or remodeled by the iconic American architect.
Your next stop is at Columbus Park. Along the way to the park, you’ll make a stop for a “to-go-lunch” so you may have a picnic in the park!
The park consists of 144 acres and is considered the masterpiece of Jens Jensen, known as dean of Prairie-style landscape architecture. The park features a meandering lagoon designed to emulate a prairie river, complete with cascades and gentle waterfalls constructed of stratified stone. Native plants were used throughout, even at the player’s green where outdoor performances were held with backstage dressing rooms created with native vegetation. There is also a large Fieldhouse, playgrounds, a 9-hole golf course, biking and running trails and the beautiful “Refectory” building, In 2003 the park was designated a National Historic Landmark. After your picnic lunch, follow Julia on a walking tour of this lovely park and learn the history of its making.
Board the coach and travel back into the city where you will arrive at Millennium Park mid afternoon. The park features a variety of public art and it has become the number one tourist attraction in the Midwestern United States. It features the Jay Pritzker Pavilion, Cloud Gate, the Crown Fountain, the Lurie Garden and various other attractions. Follow Julia as you learn the history of this landmark and witness the amazing artwork and architecture. Say goodbye to Julia after your time in the park.
By this time, you’ll be ready to refresh. Head back to the hotel, sip a beverage in the lounge or simply relax in your room.
Your dinner destination is at a French bistro where time stops and the joie de vivre come alive. Chef Dominique will welcome you into ‘his home” where the food is authentic, the service simple and the atmosphere convivial. Return to the hotel after dinner.
DAY 4 - Wednesday, June 16:
Your first stop after breakfast in the hotel is at the Japanese Garden, referred to as the Garden of the Phoenix or the Osaka Garden. This garden symbolizes the mutual respect and friendship that Japan and the United States initiated more than 120 years ago. In 1893, on Jackson Park's Wooded Island, the Japanese Government built the Phoenix Temple (Ho-o-den) as its pavilion for the World's Columbian Exposition. The Ho-o-den introduced Japan's artistic heritage to Americans and remained as a gift to Chicago after the fair ended.
This garden is one of the hidden gems of Chicago that looks out over shimmering water at green rushes and pristine woodland. A gravel path winds through 2 acres of greenery, with Japanese maples, glossy grasses and pines pruned to look as if they have sprung from ancient manuscripts. Strong ties and deep respect for Japanese relations in our nation are represented by Yoko Ono’s Sky Landing sculpture situated at the entrance to the garden. Sky Landing is a forest of a dozen 12-foot-tall polished, stainless steel lotus petals that rise from the ground at the base of two grass-covered, crescent-shaped mounds of earth. Your visit includes a self-guided tour of the grounds.
Depart the park late morning and travel for an included lunch served in an historic building. Lawry’s the Prime Rib occupies the 1890’s McCormick Mansion that became the renowned Kungshold Puppet Theater. The Italian Renaissance-style home was designed by the architectural firm of Cowles and Ohrenstein and cost $125,000. When the new mansion was unveiled, its massive fireplaces, splendid woodwork and central majestic winding staircase were the talk of the city. Throughout the 1890’s and early 1900’s, the McCormicks hosted brilliant functions and elegant dinners that made Mrs. McCormick famed as one of the city’s great hostesses.
Upon arrival, you will have a history talk about the McCormick family, the Lawry family and the mansion itself. Then take a seat and savor the flavors of Lawry’s Famous Spinning Bowl Salad followed by an entrée and dessert.
After lunch, you’re off for an afternoon at the Chicago Botanic Garden, a 385-acre living plant museum situated on nine islands in the Cook County Forest Preserves. It features 27 display gardens in four natural habitats and a renowned Bonsai collection. The garden opened more than 45 years ago and it has matured into one of the world’s great living museums and conservation science centers. Within the nine laboratories of the Garden's Daniel F. and Ada L. Rice Plant Conservation Science Center, scientists and graduate students conduct a wide array of plant research. The Garden is one of only 17 public gardens accredited by the American Association of Museums. Its Lenhardt Library contains 150,000 volumes—including one of the nation's best collections of rare botanical books.The Chicago Botanic Garden traces its origins back to the Chicago Horticultural Society, founded in 1890.
Your visit begins with a 35-minute narrated tram tour that travels 2.6 miles and shows the entire garden grounds. You will see highlights of 81 acres of lakes, 9 garden islands and panoramic views. After your tour, there will be time to explore on your own and to visit the lovely gift shop. Depart the garden late afternoon and return to the hotel.
This evening, get ready for love, chaos and dinner at Teatro ZinZanni when you enter a realm where reality and dreams converge. An experience unlike any other, Teatro ZinZanni is a three-hour whirlwind of international cirque, comedy and cabaret served with a multi-course feast. The fast-paced action unfolds around, above and alongside the guests. World-class acrobats, musicians, divas, illusionists, madmen and aerialists fill the intimate Spiegeltent ZaZou, a unique jewel box mirror tent located in the heart of Chicago’s Downtown Theater District. What a great way to celebrate your last evening in Chicago!
DAY 5 - Thursday, June 17:
Check out of your rooms after breakfast in the hotel. Before you leave Chicago, you simply must visit the Garfield Park Conservatory, one of the largest and most stunning botanical conservatories in the nation. Often referred to as “landscape art under glass,” the Conservatory showcases thousands of plant species from around the world throughout eight indoor display gardens and more than 10 acres of outdoor gardens. Your visit includes a one-hour guided tour followed by time to explore on your own and to visit the gift shop.
Make your way home with fond memories of the “City in a Garden” and how it grew on you. Your souvenir gift will help you harvest your memories in years to come.