Here in Chicagoland, the weather outside can be frightful — but the winter scenes can be oh, so delightful! From the city to the suburbs, our region has plenty of locations where you can find gorgeous winter landscapes perfect for making the most of the season.
Especially now, seeking out these stunning winter vistas can be a great opportunity to get a new perspective and a bit of fresh air. Ready to really rediscover the beauty of Chicagoland in this unusual winter season? Bundle up and fire up the GPS as you walk or a drive through these gorgeous winter landscapes:
Situated on the lakefront just south of Grant Park sits Museum Campus, an impressive 57-acre area named for the three museums that sit within its bounds. The museums themselves, the Shedd Aquarium, the Field Museum and the Adler Planetarium, are still closed or have very limited visiting hours, but you can still drive and walk around the gorgeous grounds of the campus — which are lined with large trees, sweeping grass lots, and impressive architecture.
Park in one of the lots, and head to the planetarium. From there, you will get one of the best views of Chicago’s skyline, and a gorgeous view of Lake Michigan in all its winter glory. If you’re lucky enough to go when it’s snowing, you’ll feel like you’re in a souvenir snow globe of the second city! On a clear day, you can also look to the southeast and see buildings as far away as Indiana. The hill next to Soldier Field on Museum Campus is also a legendary spot for sledding.
Chicago Botanic Garden
The Chicago Botanic Garden is located in Glencoe, just north of Chicago and easily accessible by car or public transportation. While summer is usually the most popular time for strolling through the many unique gardens that make up the grounds, diehard fans know that you can find some of the most magical scenes during the winter months.
The Botanic Garden consists of various gardens hosting plants native to different regions of the world, including some winter-hardy trees that seem to enjoy being covered in snow. Explore the park, and you’ll find picturesque winter scenes around every corner, from snow-capped trees to bridges that carry you over semi-frozen ponds full of ducks and geese.
Visitors are currently permitted in a limited capacity. More information about visiting hours and safety measures can be found on the Chicago Botanic Garden website.
Arthur L. Janura Forest Preserve
In the early 1900s, Cook County was expanding rapidly and people saw the need to preserve natural places to enjoy as respite from busy city life. The Cook County Forest Preserves were created for this mission, making them one of the oldest forest preserve districts in the US. Today, residents across northern Illinois turn to the Preserves to enjoy beautiful landscapes and escape from the business of everyday life.
The Arthur L.Janura Forest Preserve is accessible from multiple suburban communities, including Elgin, Hoffman Estates, Streamwood, and South Barrington. It is home to the 6-acre Bode Lake and more than 20 miles of paved and unpaved hiking and biking on the Poplar Creek Trail.
Visitors will love the variety of scenery available in the winter, including two horse farms, multiple lakes and ponds, sprawling prairies, and gorgeous untouched woods. If you visit at the right times, you may also see local wildlife, including deer and coyotes, in the fields!
The Morton Arboretum
The Morton Arboretum in Lisle is a great place to go as a family to experience some snowy day activities. Situated on 1,700 acres, the arboretum is the perfect place to spend a day relaxing and rejuvenating in the great outdoors.
You do have to plan your visit to the Morton Arboretum in advance, so be prepared to experience all different types of winter weather. If you do experience snow, you can rent snowshoes and cross-country skis to travel around the grounds.
Even without snow, the arboretum is a peaceful place to experience a gorgeous, tree-filled landscape. Bundle up and explore the many trails, and encourage your family to try and identify as many different birds and animals as possible.
Waterfall Glen Forest Preserve
Although it’s known to be fairly flat and covered with farmland, the Chicagoland region is actually home to some incredibly impressive waterfalls, including the Rocky Glen Waterfall in the Waterfall Glen Forest Preserve in DuPage County.
Within the Waterfall Glen Forest Preserve, visitors will find more than 11 miles of trails winding through forests, prairies, and savannah. Trails pass by lakes and ponds and over creeks and streams, providing a gentle audio backdrop for cross country skiing, walking, or running.
During the winter months, the trails are less crowded, which makes this area a peaceful place to spend time recharging in nature.
Ready to Live In the Heart of It All?
Looking to find a home near one of Chicagoland’s many forest preserves and woodlands? Want to live in a neighborhood that embraces winter wonder? We get you.
At Baird & Warner, our agents are hyperlocal experts who can help you find the spot that’s just right, while making the entire real estate process easier at every step of the way. And with mortgage and title services in-house, our One-Stop Shop takes the stress out of closing on your new home, so you can get back to enjoying the fresh air in no time.