One of the most beautiful spots downtown is the old South Garden of the Art Institute, a quiet sanctuary perfect for a meditative lunch or a chat with a friend.
The South Garden has changed little over the decades, unlike the North Garden, which was redesigned and replanted about 15 years back.
The beauty of the South Garden lies in its simplicity. It contains one fountain and is planted, one might think unimaginatively, with thorn trees, which are now of some antiquity, and whose slow-growing and prickly branches now extend far enough to meet over the graveled ground, gradually forming an almost continuous canopy. In the summer, the dappled shade that the trees create is like something in a dream.
The garden, so inviting now, is equally beautiful in winter, when one can admire the tough, gnarly, black trees, sometimes brightened with berries or a blanket of snow.