- Mon: 6am-11pm
- Tue: 6am-11pm
- Wed: 6am-11pm
- Thu: 6am-11pm
- Fri: 6am-11pm
- Sat: 6am-11pm
- Sun: 6am-11pm
A crowning achievement in urban redevelopment, Millennium Park is a must-visit 25-acre green oasis in the heart of Chicago's bustling downtown. Once a dirty railroad yard, it now features numerous sculptures, gardens, fountains and a spectacular Frank Gehry-designed amphitheater. It's a perfect place for a picnic, people watching or catching a free concert.
How to get to Millennium Park
The park is downtown, bounded north and south by Randolph and Monroe Streets, east and west by Michigan Ave. and Columbus Drive. Public transit is super simple: take the Blue Line to Washington, the Brown Line to Madison/Wabash or the Red Line to Lake. The platoon of buses serving Michigan Avenue all have designated Millennium Park stops.
Admission to Millennium Park
The park is free and open to the public from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. daily.
Must see and must do at Millennium Park
The park's most famous attraction is a reflective sculpture entitled 'Cloud Gate' but widely known as "the Bean," whose shiny kidney shape has been a gathering place and a photo-op since it was completed in 2006.
Nearby, mirthful and shoeless kids and adults can be seen (and heard!) frolicking around a large reflecting fountain that digitally displays a thousand portraits of park visitors daily, water seeming to spurt from their mouths.
At the northeast end of the park, Architect Frank Gehry's Jay Pritzer Pavilion imposes its will on its surroundings like a large sculptural ship of some modern metallic fleet. Grand in both size and design it hosts music, theatre and dance, including the Grant Park Music Festival, an internationally renowned free summer concert series. Lurie Garden, the greenest spot in the oasis, offers tours and lectures in the summer.
Food carts are easy to come by and there is a sit-down terrace restaurant, Park Grill.
Places to visit nearby Millennium Park
The BP Pedestrian Bridge, also designed by Gehry, winds and meanders, connecting Millennium Park to Daley Bicentennial Plaza. The neighboring Art Institute also synchs up with Millennium Park via its own 625-foot futuristic walkway, offering some of the best panoramic photo-ops in the city. A few blocks north is the southern tip of Michigan Avenue's Magnificent Mile of shops.
Author's bio: Carrie Miller is an award-winning investigative reporter and Chicago transplant. When she's not writing about her adopted city, she writes about how climate change is affecting food, wine and travel.