The Beauty of Chicago’s Millennium Park

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On your first visit to the park, I encourage you to stop by the Millennium Park Welcome Center. It’s located at 201 E. Randolph Street in the Northwest Exelon Pavilion. The Welcome Center can provide you with information about the park, including maps and program schedules.

Once at the park, you are welcome to wander around at your pace, or you can take advantage of one of the several tours offered by the park. One option is a self-guided Millennium Park audio tour, which is available for rental in the Chicago Shop at the park. You can also download the tour to your MP3 player. Another option is the informal walking tour provided by The Millennium Park Chicago Greeters. These tours are available every Wednesday – Friday from 10 am – 4 pm, during the summer season. The free, 45-minute tours are intended for individuals or small groups. Millennium Park Greeter tours are seasonal and not available October 1 through April 1.

Chicago’s remarkable Millennium park is more than just another city park. It is a celebration of landscape design, architecture, and sculpture which has already won numerous awards. If you plan on shopping along Chicago’s famous State Street, the park is just a few blocks east and would be a great end to a day of shopping and sightseeing in Chicago. It’s open daily from 6 am – 11 pm and admission are always free.

One of the great things about Millennium Park is that the entire park is accessible to people with disabilities. Free Wheelchair rental is available at the Welcome Center, and special provisions have been made throughout the park for visitors with different disabilities.

Here are a couple of free attractions available at the park for you to enjoy:

1. The designed Jay-Frank Gehry Pritzker Pavilion. The Pritzker Pavilion is home to free concerts and events throughout the year.

2. The Crown interactive Fountain by Plensa Jaume. This is probably my favorite addition to the park. The fountain consists of 2 fifty-foot glass block towers which display images and video.

3. The Lurie contemporary Garden. This beautiful public garden was designed by the team of Kathryn Gustafson, Piet Oudolf, and Robert Israel. The garden is always evolving and changing throughout the year, however, it’s most colorful time begins in June and lasts throughout autumn.

4. The Millennium Park Ice Rink, which is located directly next to the Park Grill. The ice rink is open from mid-November through mid-March. Obviously, weather permitting. During warm-weather months the Ice Rink is used as a 150-seat outdoor dining area.

5. Don’t forget to check out Anish Kapoor’s hugely popular Cloud Gate sculpture on the AT&T Plaza. It’s better known as “The Bean.” Trust me; you’ll understand why when you see it.

After exploring the park and all, it has to offer you might get a little hungry. Don’t worry. Millennium Park Chicago has several dining options. You can find refreshments available for purchase on the east and west sides of the Jay Pritzker Pavilion and at concession carts located around the park.

At the end of the day, don’t forget to visit the City of Chicago stores where you can get official Millennium Park and Chicago souvenirs, including hats, T-Shirts, towels, pins and more.

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