I am UIC: Another artful escape

Garfield Park Conservatory. Photo: Abigail Floresca

Sometimes, the best thinking and brainstorming is done in the process of escape. When I spend consecutive weeks traveling back and forth from my apartment, to work, to school, to work, then back to my apartment, I get incredibly bored. I lose track of my thoughts and I start daydreaming out of control. Routine may be efficient for most, but my soul is so restless, and I happen to live in such a bustling city. I felt compelled to share my favorite place to escape: the Garfield Park Conservatory.

Located off the Green Line in East Garfield Park, this HUGE, beautiful plant conservatory is my secret weapon against the dreariest day. Open 9-5 every day of the week (and even later on Wednesdays) the dense greenery draws people from all over the city. Did I mention that it is FREE? This is my favorite place to think and breathe. On weekdays, in the mornings especially, the whole conservatory is pretty much empty. Nothing is heard besides the rushing of water, occasional birds and your own thoughts. The peace almost startles you when you first walk in.

Living in an urban space, constantly listening to car horns, sirens, planes, and people, it’s hard for me to find any kind of rest. This is why I love the Garfield Park Conservatory so much. Here, I have found a place to rest, to think and to recollect my often-racing thoughts. Moreover, you must visit. It’s so close to UIC; I encourage you to take advantage of the richness that Chicago offers. Visit, write a poem, smell a flower, sing a song or just rest in the serene stillness that really can’t be found anywhere else in the city. I guarantee that it is so worth it. Enjoy!


Abigail Floresca is a junior majoring in criminology, law and justice with a minor in professional writing. Writing is how she connects, processes, expresses and relates to the rest of the world. Increasingly aware of the power of storytelling in bringing about change and reform, Abigail earnestly seeks to find a way to incorporate a perfect blend of writing and social work within the criminal justice system — she dreams of bringing about a positive change, one story at a time. At UIC, she is involved in campus ministry; conducts research with the criminology, law and justice department; interns with the Chicago Justice Project, and loves exploring new places downtown. 

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