Chicago Botanic Garden

Explore the Garden

garden highlights

• Elm Allée

• Fountains

• Lake walk and water terrace

• Topiaried yews

• Commons

The Sower

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WALKS

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featured video

Watch the installation of a 40-foot tree on the Esplanade and see how Garden staff create the stunning outdoor light display for Wonderland Express.

The Esplanade

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The Esplanade

The Esplanade showcases dramatic elm allées and a pavilion lined with sheared cone topiaries and a row of waterspouts emerging from pools of water.

Conceived by one of the greatest landscape architects of the twentieth century, Dan Kiley (1912-2004), and designed by colleague Peter Morrow Meyer, the Esplanade is one of the Chicago Botanic Garden's most public spaces, bringing visitors down to the water in a most inviting way.

It is the "front door" to the Joseph Regenstein, Jr. School of the Garden originally designed by renowned architect Edward Larabee Barnes in 1975.

Kiley saw the Esplanade as an opportunity to create a great sense of place and arrival, offering visitors glimpses of vivid sweeps of color against the water and sky as they pass over the bridge outside the Visitor Center.

Visitors stroll past the lovely Crescent, brilliant with colorful annuals sloping down to the water, offering a beautiful view of the Smith Fountain.

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