Hello Chicago Millennium Park
Chicago is an amazing city that is full of bold architectures and popular public sculptures. To kickstart your visit in Chicago, you should first visit the Millennium Park. Formerly an industrial wasteland, it was turned into a public urban park in the early 2000s, representing the city’s forward-looking attitude in transforming old things into new.
When one conjures the thought of Chicago, one would be immediately associating it with this particular landmark: The Cloud Gate. Often called “The Bean” by the locals, it is a focal point of the city where locals and tourists gather alike to enjoy a different perspective of the city. It was sculpted by famous Indian-born British artist, Anish Kapoor, as part of the opening of the Millennium Park in Chicago. The best time to visit the Cloud Gate would probably be in the wee hours of the morning – 8am-10am, where you would not be trammeled by the hoards of tourists trying to get a good view of the Cloud Gate! But while at the Cloud Gate, do take time to view the other public sculptures that are equally as impressive.
The Jay Pritzker Pavilion was designed by Frank Gehry and hosts a series of music festival on a good day at this open lawn area. Unfortunately, it was the harshest of winter when I had visited Chicago, and there were no performances scheduled during this period. I am very sure that this place would come to live during summer, where many music performances will take place in this awe-inspiring field. Take time to appreciate the sculpture surrounding the roof of the stage area – which is highly distinctive of Gehry’s architectural curves and forms. If you happen to be in the area and come across a possible performance, be sure to catch it!
While I was not able to enjoy any music performances, I was in for a treat at the McCormick Tribune Ice Skating Rink. Open from mid-November to early-March, the ice-skating rink in the heart of the city is available for free (skate rentals at $10 applies). Families do enjoy this sweet treat in the cold winter, but do be warned about its immense popularity. If you are a beginner skater, it would probably be advisable not to skate during this period or you would incur the wrath of other skaters on the rink!
Catalan Artist, Jaume Plensa, helped to design this Crown Fountain, a highly interactive multimedia display which features the people of Chicago. Should the weather permits, you might even enjoy the spouting of water from their mouths – at the least expected time! You can enjoy this sculpture both in the day and night – but it is extremely popular at night for shooting silhouette against the interactive video display.
Admission to Millennium Park is free – except for ticketed performances at the Jay Pritzker Pavilion.
To get to the Millennium Park, you can take the CTA trains to Randolph/Wabash (Brown Line, Green Line, Orange Line, Pink Line, Purple Line), Madison/wabash (Brown Line, Green Line, Orange Line, Pink Line, Purple Line) or Lake (Red Line) and enjoy a leisurely walk.