Garden in a City in a Garden

Often there doesn’t seem to be much horto in Chicago’s urbs unless you live along the lakefront. Even in neighborhoods as close as the West Loop, such iconic city amenities as a park bench are in tragically short supply.

One of the few places a person can sit and enjoy summer in the city without being required to purchase a beverages is the plaza in front of Riverside Plaza (2 North Riverside Plaza).  It’s a block-long open space with massive planters that have ugly wooden benches bolted to them. The planters are well landscaped and helps showcase the art deco creatures (griffins?) that adorn the former Chicago Daily News building.

From there, you can enjoy views of some of the city’s skyscraper old (The Civic Opera Building) and new (Boeing Headquarters, Chicago Mercantile Exchange).  Sadly, there is no view of the river from the benches, or for short people at all.  The plaza is separated from the river by a five-foot-tall concrete wall.

One word of advice: Avoid the plaza at 10:00am.  That’s when the smokers flood out of Riverside Plaza to share their addiction.

Author: Editor

Editor founded the Chicago Architecture Blog in 2003, after a long career in journalism. He can be reached at

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