Millennium Park is one of Chicago's newest attractions. The 24.5 acre park was built between 1997 and 2004 over what had been a rail yard. Today it receives more than 4,000,000 guests annually and is a treasured part of Chicago. Many consider it the most important municipal project since the Colombian Exhibition ended in 1893.
The park has several unique features, and is home to many intriguing public art installations. The Jay Pritzker Pavilion was designed by architect Frank Gehry. It is home to the Grant Park Music Festival and other free concerts, and has a capacity of more than 11,000. The serpentine pedestrian bridge over Columbus Drive is another highlight.
The main attractions here, though, are the Crown Fountain and the Cloud Gate. The Crown Fountain is a truly unique work of public art, and is something that needs to be seen in person. Two 15m tall glass monoliths bookend a reflecting pool. On the inner face of the towers, LED screens projects images of visitors with water appearing to stream from their mouth. It operates from May through October. The Cloud Gate is a massive, stainless steel, kidney-bean shaped sculpture by Indian artist Anish Kapoor. It's a great photo op, as the reflections create some crazy visual effects. Visitors can walk underneath, hence the Gate.
It might not seem like much, but Millennium Park really is a magical place. There is a reason why it's so popular. It's a great place to chill out and absorb the atmosphere.
Address: 201 East Randolph Street
Train: Madison/Wabash, Randolph (Metra)