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MILLENNIUM PARK ART, ARCHITECTURE & GARDENS

Love contemporary art, architecture and landscape design? Then welcome to an Instagram junkie's paradise.

Millennium Park boasts one of the most impressive collections of public art in the world. Chicago's iconic sculpture Cloud Gate (aka "The Bean") takes the top spot, but there are more artful surprises to be found in Millennium Park — from a pair of water-spouting digital fountains to a Frank Gehry-designed showstopper, the Jay Pritzker Pavilion.

Make sure to have your camera ready!

CLOUD GATE (aka "The Bean")

Cloud GateCloud Gate is renowned British artist Anish Kapoor's first public, outdoor work installed in the United States.

Shaped like a seamless oval and made from highly polished stainless steel plates, the structure provides a distorted reflection of the city skyline and mirrors gawking visitors. The 12-foot-high arch at the structure's base provides a "gate" for park lovers to walk through and take pictures under.

Measuring 66 feet in length and standing more than 30 feet high, Cloud Gate is one of the largest sculptures of its kind in the world.

JAY PRITZKER PAVILION

Chicago Blues FestivalFrank Gehry's one-of-a-kind, Deconstructivist performance stage is breathtaking. Standing 120 feet high, with a flowing crown of stainless steel ribbons, the pavilion delivers the ultimate outdoor concert experience. Complete with 4,000 fixed seats and room for an additional 7,000 on the lawn, it's a popular attraction for entertainment-hungry Chicagoans and visitors.

The sound system is designed to mimic the acoustics of an indoor theater, with a steel framework that extends from the stage through the lawn. The state-of-the-art system distributes sound equally throughout the space.

The Jay Pritzker Pavilion hosts free concerts, film screenings and events including throughout the year.

LURIE GARDEN

Lurie Garden in ChicagoChicago is often referred to as a "City in a Garden." It alludes to Chicago's swampy marsh beginnings and ultimate transformation into a world-class city. To ensure the city stays true to its roots (no pun intended), Gustafson Guthrie Nichol Ltd, Piet Oudolf and Robert Israel designed Lurie Garden, a 5-acre, award-winning masterpiece in botanical landscaping.

In spring, perennials and bulbs cultivate together like a city skyline of blossoms and buds. In summer, visitors are engrossed with a dramatically lit, 15-foot-high "shoulder" hedge, which pays a vegetal homage to Chicago's "City of Big Shoulders" nickname. The ornamental grasses of winter capture snow and ice, forming elegant sculptures in nature. In fact, more than 120,000 bulbs have been planted at the garden since 2006. The 250+ types of perennials and bulbs give the garden great diversity, and create a haven for wildlife — over 60 species of birds have been identified on the grounds.

CROWN FOUNTAIN 

Water spouting from Crown Fountain in Millennium ParkContaining two, 50-foot towers that project facial images of Chicago citizens, the Crown Fountain is one of the city's most recognizable public art.works During summer days, visitors can cool off by wading in the structure's reflecting pool. Or, if they're daring enough, by taking a stroll under the fountains' cascading waterfalls.

BOEING GALLERIES

Boeing Galleries Exhibit in ChicagoThe Boeing Galleries are made up of a North Gallery and a South Gallery — two paved outdoor spaces located on the mid-level terraces. Designed for public exhibitions and furnished with seating for park visitors, these free, open-air galleries are home to modern and contemporary art installations that rotate throughout the year. 

WRIGLEY SQUARE AND MILLENNIUM MONUMENT

Wrigley Square Millennium Monument in ChicagoThis inviting, tree-lined space along Michigan Avenue is the perfect place for visitors to relax. With its 40-foot columns and polished stone, Wrigley Square and Millennium Monument is where the past and present meet in the heart of Chicago's beautiful downtown. Etched in stone are the individuals, corporations and foundations that helped make Millennium Park a reality.

BP BRIDGE

BP Bridge in ChicagoBP Bridge is Frank Gehry's stainless steel compliment to his Jay Pritzker Pavilion. Designed to create a sound barrier between the performance theater and the traffic noise at street level, it's also a unique running path for Chicago's seize-the-day locals and visitors.

MCCORMICK TRIBUNE ICE RINK AND PLAZA

Ice Skating during a Snowfall

The McCormick Tribune Ice Rink and Plaza is a year-round attraction along Michigan Avenue. During the summer, it's a picturesque al fresco dining space and home to the Park Grill restaurant. In winter, it's a charming ice rink, close to 17,000-square-feet in size and complete with a skate rental.

HARRIS THEATER FOR MUSIC AND DANCE

Harris Theater for Music and DanceThe Harris Theater's mission is to serve as a model of collaboration between the philanthropic community and arts organizations. The space is home to some of Chicago's most celebrated music and dance companies, including the Chicago Opera Theater, Music of the Baroque, and Hubbard Street Dance Chicago.

NICHOLS BRIDGEWAY

Nichols Bridgeway in ChicagoLinking Millennium Park to The Art Institute of Chicago's Modern Wing, the Nichols Bridgeway extends 625-feet across Lurie Garden and Monroe Street. The walkway offers breathtaking views of the city and a rather convenient short cut to a world-class art museum.

The Nichols Bridgeway was designed by Renzo Piano, the same architect who designed The Art Institute's Modern Wing. 

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