Lurie Garden

The Lurie Garden is a leader in cutting-edge design, responsible gardening practices and dynamic public programming in an urban environment. The garden offers a four-season experience blending Chicago’s past, present and future with bold design, dramatic form and intimate spaces. An urban model of responsible horticulture, the Lurie Garden provides a healthy habitat for a wide variety of plants and wildlife. Diverse groups of people from all over the world enjoy the garden’s rich palate of free educational experiences. Created by the founders of Millennium Park, the Lurie Garden is owned by the City of Chicago, managed by Millennium Park Foundation, and is sustained by a generous endowment from Ann Lurie.

The five-acre Lurie Garden pays homage to the City’s motto, “Urbs in Horto” (City in a Garden), which refers to Chicago’s transformation from its flat and marshy origins to a bold and powerful city. Designed by landscape architects Gustafson Guthrie Nichols Ltd., Seattle, Wash., and perennial planting design by world-renowned artist Piet Oudolf, The Netherlands, the Lurie Garden offers visitors a rich and total sensory experience.
The Lurie Garden features a complex layering of thousands of plants. Filled with more than 240 varieties – all perennials – approximately 65 percent of the Lurie Garden’s species are native to North America, some to Illinois. The Lurie Garden’s perennial beds are entirely chemical free, providing necessary shelter for migratory birds and beneficial insects. Because of its abundant plant material and protected shrub habitats, it is home to several animal species, as well as butterflies, honeybees and songbirds.

Highlights of the garden include the dramatically lit, 15-foot-high “shoulder” hedge. This physical representation of Carl Sandburg’s famous description of the “City of Big Shoulders” encloses the garden on two sides and protects the delicate perennial garden. A graceful hardwood footbridge over shallow water divides the garden diagonally between “dark” and “light” plates. The Dark Plate, referencing the moist, mysterious past of the site, offers an experience of immersion in a volume of robustly textured plants. The Light Plate, referencing Chicago’s modern and artistic control of nature, provides an exhilarating experience of surveying a bright and clean, controlled landscape.

The Lurie Garden offers free, educational programs, presentations and events to families, adults and children throughout the year. These programs aim to inspire an interest in and enjoyment of the natural world and many incorporate discovery and application within the garden itself. We consider the garden to be our best-teaching tool regarding concepts of landscape design, gardening practices, ecology, art and science. All programs and events are developed with an eye towards the vision and mission of Lurie Garden. Register for programs at

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For membership inquires go to Lurie Garden Membership.