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One never knows what to expect on the first day of spring in the Windy City.  Today’s snowy, windy and foggy weather calls for a special getaway.  How about a walk through prehistoric ferns beneath trickling waterfalls; stop and smell the tulips and marvel at the pinks, whites and blues of the giant Hydrangeas all inside the warmth of the historic Garfield Park Conservatory.  You can spend the entire day at the Conservatory, shop, grab a sandwich, salad and dessert at the Gift Shop, attend workshops, a plant clinic, a craft program and more.  9a.m. to 5p.m. FREE Admission and Parking (just south of the main entrance), 300 North Central Park Avenue, (312) 746 5100.

Head to Wicker Park for dinner at SPRING RESTAURANT.  The seasonal menu offers contemporary America fare with a strong Asian influence.  Among the favorite choices are a crispy pork belly, grilled duck, and a Lemon Grass and Coconut. Soup that is soooo good.  The restaurant has a full wine menu along with a creative selection of cocktails. $$$, Street parking available, but challenging, watch for neighbor only permit parking signs on side streets. 2039 W. North Avenue, (773) 395 7100. 

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