Stroll Through Chicago’s Gardens With Douglas Hoerr


Douglas Hoerr

Douglas Hoerr

Douglas Hoerr

Douglas Hoerr

Douglas Hoerr

Founding Partner, Hoerr Schaudt Landscape Architects

Growing up on an Indiana farm spurred Douglas Hoerr‘s love for the possibilities that laid within the land. He took that passion to England, where he honed his craft in regal gardens, and eventually settled in Chicago as a founding partner at Hoerr Schaudt Landscape Architects. The firm has created some of the city’s most memorable green spaces, including Michigan Avenue’s streetscape and the dwarf conifer collection at the Chicago Botanic Garden. In the private sector, Hoerr has worked with legendary architects like Robert A.M. Stern, Peter Bohlin and Peter Gluck. “Chicago is a world-class city where we have access to a treasure of cultural institutions and a wealth of outstanding architects and interior designers,” he says. “Great design doesn’t happen in a vacuum, and being able to cross-pollinate with these sister arts stimulates me and my talented staff.”

9 a.m. Start your day at Little Goat Diner, Chef Stephanie Izard’s Fulton Market restaurant, which has a huge menu of creative gourmet takes on comfort-food classics. Order the Okonomiyaki, a version of Osaka street food with pork belly, and don’t think about leaving without getting a cinnamon roll.

10 a.m. Visit Garfield Park Conservatory, a Jens Jensen-designed facility with nearly 2 acres of plants on display. As if that’s not enough, there are 12 acres of outdoor gardens to enjoy as well.

12 p.m. Drop by our studio, just east of Fulton Market in Chicago’s Greektown neighborhood, to see the latest projects on the boards. Our office is an open floor plan that encourages collaboration and interaction between our designers, horticulturalists and construction specialists. In the materials lab, you can see and feel what are quite literally the building blocks of our projects–stone, brick, concrete and metals we use to bring our landscapes to life.

1 p.m. I hope you’re not on a diet, because our next stop is Au Cheval, which houses one of Chicago’s favorite burgers. But the fried chicken is underrated–it’s worth saving some extra room.

2 p.m. Head to Millennium Park and stroll through Lurie Garden, which celebrates the city’s shift from marshland to green space. It’s fantastic in any season.

4 p.m. Walk to the Art Institute of Chicago‘s South Garden, an urban oasis right on Michigan Avenue and a great example of landscape architect Dan Kiley’s work. The whole plaza is under a canopy thanks to low-branching trees, making it a perfect spot to take a break.

5 p.m. It’s time for a cocktail at The Aviary, which is the sister bar to Alinea–one of the most important restaurants in Chicago. The Aviary takes drinks seriously; each is intricately made and served in a way that is truly a work of art.

6 p.m. Have dinner at El Che Bar, Chef John Manion’s self-proclaimed love letter to his Argentine voyages. Forget sitting in the dining room, though–the absolute best place to enjoy your delicious 10-course meal is at the chef’s counter within view of the open flame on the impressive 12-foot-long grill.

8 p.m. To close out the night, take in a show at Buddy Guy’s Legends, a classic blues club that’s keeping the genre alive and well in Chicago. The venue has great up-and-coming acts playing seven nights a week, and if you’re lucky, you’ll catch Guy there.