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MILLENNIUM PARK CAMPUS MUST SEES 

From cultural buildings and museums, to play parks and public art, we'll share the best ways to get the most out of your day at Millennium Park.

Made up of the historic Chicago Cultural Center, esteemed Art Institute of Chicago, adventurous Maggie Daley Park and arts-filled Millennium Park, Millennium Park Campus is a place you should take your time exploring. We’ve planned a one-day itinerary, from morning to night, to help you see it all.

CHICAGO CULTURAL CENTER

(1-2 hours)

Chicago Cultural Center Staircase

The building is a stunner, but it's the free art and music that make the Chicago Cultural Center such a gem. 

Did you know Chicago is home to the largest Tiffany-stained glass dome in the world? Or that critically acclaimed art exhibits, performances, lectures and film screenings are available to you every day of the week for free all under one roof? This and more can be found at the historic Chicago Cultural Center.

The Chicago Cultural Center is one of the city's 10 most popular attractions, and is considered one of the most comprehensive arts showcases in the United States. Taking up an entire city block, the venue presents more than 700 free programs a year, immersed in the humanities.

Spend hours admiring the architectural splendor of this incredible gem, or just stop in for a quick dose of culture.

Find out more, including 7 Free Things to Do while you're there.

ART INSTITUTE OF CHICAGO

(3 hours)

Art Institute Chicago Exhibit

Take the Nichols Bridgeway, linking Millennium Park to The Art Institute of Chicago's Modern Wing, and find yourself in the midst of one of the most formidable art collections in the world.

Alongside the likes of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York and the Musee D'Orsay in Paris, the Art Institute of Chicago ranks #4 on TripAdvisor's "Top 10 Travelers' Choice Museums in the World" list, and #3 in the nation. 

Founded in 1879, the Art Institute is one of the oldest art museums in the United States. It houses the largest collection of Impressionist and Post-Impressionist art outside the Louvre among its more than 300 thousand pieces of art. Works span thousands of centuries, from Etruscan pottery and Ancient Greek reliefs to Pablo Picasso's The Guitarist and Edward Hopper’s Nighthawks. 

The Art Institute's Modern Wing is home to Terzo Piano, led by Chef Tony Mantuano, During the summer months, patrons clamor to be seated on the Bluhm Family Terrace, dining among rotating art installations and sculpture, and overlooking spectacular Millennium Park.

Find out more.

MAGGIE DALEY PARK

(1 hour)

Maggie Daley ParkPhoto: Abel Arciniega

Named for Chicago’s beloved former First Lady, this spectacular 20-acre oasis of green space in the city is a children’s fantasyland. The fun Play Garden features suspension bridges, tube slides and a big ship to explore.

Older kids flock to the 40-foot-tall climbing wall and 18-hole mini golf course, putting through Chicago-themed obstacles like a six-foot replica of Willis Tower. In the summer, the curvy Skating Ribbon becomes a walking and rollerblading path (in-line skate rentals are available). And in winter, the Ribbon becomes an ice-skaters' paradise. Take a walk along the spectacular stainless steel BP Bridge to reach neighboring Millennium Park.

MILLENNIUM PARK

(2 hours)

Crown Fountain Chicago in Millennium Park

Millennium Park is Chicago’s downtown playground and arts mecca. Intriguing larger-than-life public art installations include the multimedia Crown Fountain, featuring projected faces of everyday Chicagoans (kids love to splash around in its cascading waters) and Anish Kapoor’s huge reflective Cloud Gate sculpture, affectionately known as The Bean. The Boeing Galleries on the north and south ends of Millennium Park feature rotating outdoor contemporary art exhibits, while breathtaking Lurie Garden is the place to wander and explore (free tours are available). Alternatively, rent a bike from the on-site McDonald’s Cycle Center and peddle around the grounds. 

Dinner & a Show

(4 hours)

Harris Theater for Music and Dance

Have dinner at Park Grill, located at the gateway to Millennium Park, serving sophisticated American cuisine, or at the Art Institute's Terzo Piano. Then grab a spot on the lawn and catch a free outdoor concert or film screening at the Jay Pritzker Pavilion, an architectural marvel notable for its crown of billowing stainless steel ribbons. You should also check out the schedule at Harris Theater (pictured above), which is home to some of Chicago's most celebrated music and dance companies, including the Chicago Opera TheaterMusic of the Baroque, and Hubbard Street Dance Chicago.

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