Getting in touch with nature in Chicago

It’s no secret that I love exploring my own city. Now that my daughter is a bit older and can appreciate some more places and activities, I make it a point for the family to get out and do something fun on a regular basis. For our most recent episode of hometown travel, we got down on the farm – right in the middle of the city!

This last adventure found us at Green City Market, one of the country’s largest and best year-round farmer’s markets. It takes place on Wednesdays and Saturdays (7am-1pm) in Lincoln Park (approximately 1790 N. Clark). At Green City Market, one can find some of the best baked goods in the Chicago area, as well as organic fruits and veggies, and all-natural, antibiotic-free, and humanely raised meats. Beyond the dozens of tents occupied by vendors selling their goods lie open green areas. That’s where we sat for some time, enjoying the warm sunshine and sampling some of the goodies we bought.

SONY DSCWalking through and experiencing the market will not take up an entire day’s worth of time. So, to extend the adventure, head across the street to Farm-in-the-Zoo, part of Lincoln Park Zoo, to see gardening demonstrations or pet the animals (admission is free). We had the chance to feed hay to the dairy cows and to pet some goats (I have quite the soft spot for goats). We also saw a bunch of piglets that were just born last month – so cute! There are interactive, farm-related activities inside the barn, and even an enormous John Deere tractor, on which guests can have their pictures taken.

There are quite a few other options for encounters with the natural world close to Green City Market. Unless otherwise noted, all of these attractions are FREE!

Lincoln Park Zoo

The Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum (Admission: Adults, $9; Students and Seniors age 60+, $7; Children ages 3-12, $6; Children under 3, Free).

Lincoln Park Conservatory

Nature Boardwalk

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