2014 is a big year for Chicago. In addition to ushering in new attractions, exciting theatrical debuts, and inspiring art exhibits, this summer also marks the 10th anniversary of one of their most famous landmarks, the iconic Millennium Park! It’s one of the most visited Chicago attractions each year, attracting millions of visitors from all over the world.
This 24.5-acre urban paradise was first imagined in 1997, when Mayor Richard Daley envisioned replacing old rail yards and dead space with a centrally located public space for Chicagoans to come together for art, music, and outdoor fun. In conjunction with renowned architect and visionary designer Frank Gehry, the city designed a truly modern park space that would include a music pavilion, public works of art, elaborate fountains, bike paths, and cultivated gardens. The park officially opened to the public in July of 2004.
Today, Millennium Park is the heart of Chicago. It’s filled with state-of-the-art modern architecture, stunning landscape design, and compelling art installations – including the famous “Cloud Gate” sculpture, affectionately known as “the Bean.” (If you’ve been to Chicago before, you probably have a picture of yourself in front of the Bean. I know I do!) It’s also host to dozens of local events, from the popular “Taste of Chicago” food festival to a series of free concerts held in the Priztker Pavilion on summer evenings.
Millennium Park is celebrating this landmark anniversary by offering a special array of free events, concerts, festivals, and activities for the whole family. Chicagoans and visitors alike will enjoy this vibrant, dynamic public space and all it has to offer. Pack a picnic dinner and a bottle of wine and take in a free concert with friends. Bring the kids (in bathing suits!) to play in the famous Crown Fountain, an interactive video sculpture that pours cool water to the stones below. Wander through the Lurie Garden and marvel at the variety of flora that flourish in heart of downtown Chicago. Check out www.millenniumpark.org for the latest information on current Chicago attractions in the park.
Make Millennium Park the centerpiece of your explorations, and visit other nearby attractions without stressing about planning or getting around. Stop by the adjacent Art Institute of Chicago to explore the newly redesigned Impressionist Galleries. Pick up a walking tour at the Chicago Architecture Foundation (just across Michigan Ave), or a narrated North Side tour with Gray Line Chicago (around the corner on Monroe Street). Whatever you’re interested in, you’ll find something to love about Millennium Park. Don’t miss out on a visit to this Chicago icon this summer!