The tradition of Grant Park dates back to Chicago's inception - literally. In 1836, a year before Chicago was incorporated as a city, a note was found on a subdivision map declaring a patch of land along Lake Michigan, "Public Ground -- A Common to Remain Forever Open, Clear and Free of any Buildings, or Other Obstruction whatever."
The note became official when, in 1844, the city council made "Lake Park" an approved endorsement. After the Great Chicago Fire of 1871 greatly extended the land east of Michigan Avenue with landfill, the area between Randolph Street and Roosevelt Road became Grant Park. By 1901 it was a beautifully landscaped area of trees and public walkways developed on top of rubble left in the wake of the Great Chicago Fire.
Today, it's a beautiful stretch of land that separates commercial construction from the lakefront and a popular hub for Chicagoans and visitors. Combined with the city's storied architecture, Grant Park provides on-lookers with the most breathtaking skyline in the world.
Located on the corner of Adams Street and Michigan Avenue, The Art Institute of Chicago calls Grant Park home. Chicago's famed art museum boasts over 250 thousand pieces, a modern art wing, and a rotating series of once-in-a-lifetime exhibitions.
The Park was opened in 2004 and has quickly become of the world's most celebrated attractions. The Park hosts countless charms. Cloud Gate (or "The Bean") is Anish Kapoor's seamless masterpiece. Kapoor's curvilinear, steel structure has become our city's signature landmark. The Jay Pritzker Pavilion, with its massive stage and state-of-the-art sound system, is one of the most enjoyable outdoor concert venues in existence. And a walk through the stunning Lurie Garden will reveal jaw-dropping botanical beauty not matter what the season.
Then there's the iconic Buckingham Fountain and its ability to propel water 150-feet in the air. Surrounded by a seasonal garden, the Fountain demonstrates a geyser spectacle every hour and a choreographed light and music show at night.
Grant Park is also home to a mob of softball diamonds, miles of bike path, and an extensive collection of public art pieces. Most fitting of all the pieces is a bust of retail magnate Aaron Montgomery Ward who, with his own fortune, fought to keep Grant Park "free, open, and clear."