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Lunch Hour Tranquility in the Loop

In a time when we are constantly bombarded by social media, high expectations, commitments and deadlines, tranquility is not easy to come by. And that doesn’t bode well for living heartily and productively. But what if we use our lunch break to regain our deeper self?

Beyond a mere escape from the daily noise and routine, a moment of peace and solitude every day promotes personal as well professional growth through self-exploration and self-understanding. Thus, we have rounded up our favorite lunch hour spots that can help you find your Zen in the Chicago Loop.

Millennium Park

Millennium Park is known for its state-of-the-art collection of architecture, landscape design and art that provide the backdrop for vibrant cultural programs. Behind its touristy areas, however, you will find a tranquil spot behind—east of—the Crown Fountain under the trees. Channel your inner voice with the faded sound of children and fountain as a soundtrack.

Chicago Riverwalk

The 1.25-mile long path along the main branch of the Chicago River is a recreational destination, weaving the life of the river into the urban fabric of the city. Sit on the steps, or grab an alfresco lunch at one of the vendors that offer innovative food and beverage as you gawk on the mesmerizing water and world-class architecture.

North Stanley McCormick Memorial Court

This garden is one of the many extensions of the Art Institute of Chicago and has a distinct characteristic and artwork. With its mature shading trees, sunny lawn and creative sculptures, the North Stanley McCormick Memorial Court is a great spot to embrace outdoor self-absorption in the midst of art and nature.

Lurie Garden

Lurie Garden is designed to combine naturalistic plantings and ecologically sensitive maintenance practices to create an urban oasis for city dwellers and wildlife alike. Here, you will find respite and inspiration in four seasons. In early spring, sun-hungry bulbs and perennials stretch through the soil and begin anew. Summer and fall teem with the flutter of butterflies and birds. Winter’s seed heads and ornamental grasses capture snow and ice, creating graceful art forms.

Cancer Survivors’ Garden

Completed in 1996, the Cancer Survivors’ Garden is considered a hidden treasure in the city. It was designed to be a celebration of life and give hope in the midst of a memorable garden setting. The contemplative garden design represents a metaphorical process of recognition and self-knowledge that is crucial to healing. The three main garden rooms represent the three main states of healing: acceptance, support and celebration.

Hero Coffee

Sandwiched between two towering buildings on East Jackson Boulevard (22 E. Jackson Blvd.), it takes a watchful eye to notice this humble coffee shop deep in the alley. Pickwick's compact space washed in warm lighting with exposed brick wall offers a delightful ambiance to listen to your thoughts and feelings while sipping on in-house roasted coffee.

Exelon Plaza

Once called the First National Plaza, Exelon Plaza is paved in light gray granite and has two levels. Decorated with numerous raised planters with shrubs and flowering trees and public art, the Chicago Plaza allows you to tune out the noise and sit peacefully in the heart of the Chicago Loop, and within proximity from your workplace.

Lakefront Trail

Whether you want to stroll down the trail or sit on a bench under a tree, the lakefront offers serenity that can recalibrate your body and mind for a productive afternoon. Enjoy a cool summer breeze while enjoying the breathtaking view of the Chicago skyline and Lake Michigan.

If your lunch break is short, you can grab some greens from one of the vegan and vegetarian restaurants in the Loop and eat alfresco in one of the aforementioned serene spots.

Are there other tranquil spots you go to in the Loop? Share in the comment box below.


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