The Cloud Gate aka the 'Bean'
Chicago IL 60601
- Mon: 6am-11pm
- Tue: 6am-11pm
- Wed: 6am-11pm
- Thu: 6am-11pm
- Fri: 6am-11pm
- Sat: 6am-11pm
- Sun: 6am-11pm
Cloud Gate, or "The Bean" as Chicagoans fondly call it, is the giant, mirrored, bean-shaped sculpture in downtown's Millennium Park that's become as iconic to the city as Willis Tower. People take artsy selfies in front of it. Kids climb around and under its 12-foot arch. And visitors from all over the world glance up at it to see themselves and the city reflected back at them -- the skyscrapers, the people and the lake.
Parking and public transportation to Cloud Gate
Parking is available at the Millennium Park, Grant Park or East Monroe garages. It's served by 10 different bus lines, or take any of the L trains to the Randolph/Wabash or Madison/Wabash stops and walk two blocks east. See the city of Chicago's website for a full list of transportation options.
Best and worst time to go to Cloud Gate
While weekends in summer can be busy here, there is no bad time to go. It's open from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. every day, and there's plenty of room around the 66x33 foot sculpture. It's even pretty on a grey winter day.
Admission to Cloud Gate
Free admission. Every day between May and October, the Millennium Park Greeters offer free 45-minute tours of the park at 11:30 a.m. and 1 p.m. No advance reservations required.
Must see/do at Cloud Gate
Take cool photos! The touchable sculpture's mirrored surface is perfect for both creative selfies or artsy city pictures.
Other things to see near Cloud Gate
Stroll through the park and see the huge century-old Buckingham Fountain along the lakefront, and the modern Crown Fountain, where video towers of Chicago faces spew water and make a fun kids play area. Walk through the four-season Lurie Garden, or head down Michigan Avenue and visit the world famous Art Institute of Chicago.
Inside tips for visitors to Cloud Gate
Millennium Park's Jay Pritzker Pavilion often has free concerts. Check the schedule beforehand, and consider bringing your lunch or dinner and watching the show from the large lawn seating area.
Author's bio: Jamie Bartosch is a freelance travel writer, an award-winning newspaper reporter, and a lifelong Chicagoan. Follow her on Twitter at @jsbartosch or see jamiebartosch.com