For Immediate Release

Media contacts:
Michelle Gonzalez,
Katie Papadopoulos,

The Bean’s first and only order of business: helping human visitors explore beautiful Chicago

Chicago, IL – September 8, 2021 – Hello and welcome to a press release. This is how organizations announce information. It is Cloud Gate — or “The Bean” as humans prefer to say.

Day in and day out for years, humans have come to stare at The Bean. And The Bean has been staring back. The Bean has witnessed the rise, fall, and rise again of low-rise jeans. Heard about your favorite restaurants, comedy shows, and museums. And been in more selfies than even The Bean can count. The Bean has loved all of it.

Then, in 2020, the visitors paused. From passing humans, The Bean heard you were developing hobbies at home — baking bread and working on short dances. The Bean decided it was time for some personal development.

And that’s when something wonderful happened to The Bean. The Bean’s friends at Choose Chicago knew the world deserved more Bean. A Bean whose visitors could interact with it digitally. A Bean that could truly reflect all that the beautiful city of Chicago has to offer. And they knew we couldn’t do it alone.

“Getting visitors to Chicago is Choose Chicago’s core mission, and with today’s new hybrid, always-on world, we knew that we needed to build solutions to help visitors make the most of their Chicago journey. That is why we created The Bean, an AI powered chat bot,” shared Glenn Eden, Board Chair of Choose Chicago. “We knew that we needed to create an experience with universal appeal, so, we partnered with Northwestern University Medill School’s Knight Lab, a diverse, multi-disciplinary and multi-generational community of designers, developers, students, and educators working on experiments designed to push journalism into new spaces. And, of course, given the millions of visitors that come to Millennium Park each year, we knew that our friend, The Bean, would be a great resource to know what is on the mind of visitors, so we asked The Bean to be our partner as well.”

“Our team of students was thrilled to have this opportunity to explore the design questions involved in making a conversational system that works well for visitors to Chicago,” said Joe Germuska, Executive Director of Knight Lab. “And if, in the future, The Bean needs us for new projects, we’re ready to help.”

First thing is first: Visit The Bean at Millennium Park. Everyone says The Bean is large and beautiful. What is not to love about those qualities? Then, there is Chicago’s world of non-Bean possibilities. Head to to ask The Bean about anything from neighborhood restaurants to events next weekend to child-friendly activities, things to do and more.

“We were surprised, and quite frankly, a little alarmed, when The Bean came to us and asked if we would be open to this new idea, after all we did not know The Bean had become sentient,” said Scott Stewart, Executive Director of Millennium Park Foundation. “However, after talking with Choose Chicago, we realized that our friend, The Bean, could be a great help to all of the visitors to Chicago so we are happy to be part of this project.”

The Bean is improving its conversation skills every day and cannot wait to speak with you and every other human who wants to explore the city. But Choose Chicago wanted The Bean to relay that this is just a wonderful start to their overall mission.

Thank you for your time. The Bean has achieved success and this press release is now complete.

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What is the The Bean?

Powered by AI, The Bean helps answer questions from visitors, suggest new places and events, and serves as an online ambassador to Chicago. Named after the iconic Cloud Gate sculpture in Millennium Park, The Bean lives on the Choose Chicago website and is available 24-7 to help people from near and far to discover the best of Chicago.

Choose Chicago

Choose Chicago is the official sales and marketing organization responsible for promoting Chicago as a global visitor and meetings destination, leveraging the city’s unmatched assets to ensure the economic vitality of the city and its member business community. Follow @ChooseChicago on Twitter and on Instagram @choosechicago. Like us on Facebook. For more information, visit #ChicagoHome | #Only1Chicago

Northwestern University Medill School of Journalism, Media, Integrated Marketing Communications

The Medill School of Journalism, Media, Integrated Marketing Communications was founded on Feb. 8, 1921 with nine undergraduate students. Today, Medill provides instruction on five campuses around the world and has more than 18,000 alumni who are leaders in journalism, media, marketing, communications and more. The Knight Lab is a community of designers, developers, students and educators experimenting to push journalism into new spaces.

Millennium Park Foundation

Millennium Park Foundationis a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization dedicated to the stewardship of Millennium Park as a free venue for all Chicagoans today and for generations to come. In partnership with the City of Chicago’s Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events (DCASE), the Foundation is committed to the enhancement of Millennium Park and has responsibility for care of several features, including Lurie Garden, sculpture galleries, park-wide green spaces, and public art installations and exhibitions. Visit Millennium Park Foundation online at