201 E. Randolph
Millennium Park was revealed in 2004 and quickly became one of Chicago’s favorite parks. Constructed within the borders of Grant Park, this park provides a diverse event calendar with free entertainment year round. From concerts to exercise classes to festivals, this park pleases millions of locals and tourists each year. Check out our self-guided tour of the park!
Jay Pritzker Pavilion: With a capacity of 11,000, this pavilion has become the centerpiece of Millennium Park. With an advanced sound system and designed for its acoustics, the Jay Pritzker Pavilion hosts many musical events and festivals.
Cloud Gate: More commonly known as the bean, this piece of art design by Anish Kapoor was revealed to the public in 2005. Created with 200 stainless steel plates, this piece of art has become one of Chicago’s most distinguishing landmarks
Crown Fountain: This interactive sculpture is a family favorite in the heat of the summer. Standing at 50 feet (15 m) tall, this fountain has two towers featuring videos of 1,000 Chicago residents’ faces. Every seven minutes, the faces pucker their lips and spray buckets of water out of their mouths onto a swarm of eagerly awaiting kids.
Boeing Galleries: On the north and south end of Millennium Park you will find the Boeing Galleries. These outdoor galleries display rotating contemporary art instillation’s by living nation and international artists.
Lurie Gardens: This five acre perennial garden holds native and foreign plants throughout every season. This serene escape is designed to symbolize Chicago’s transformation from a marshland to the city that it is today. The garden is protected by a 15 foot tall hedge, meant to illustrate Carl Sandburg’s description of Chicago, the “City of big shoulders”.
Seasonally: Be sure to check the calendar for current events in Millennium Park! In the winter it is home to the McCormick Tribune Ice Rink, which is free to skate but offers $12 skate rentals. During the summer months, there are free daily events, including movies in the park, concerts, exercise classes, and many festivals in between! Check out our Top 10 Free Things to do this Summer.
337 E. Randolph Street
Nicknamed Chicago’s “front yard,” Grant park is one of Chicago’s oldest park, and has continued to expand over time. Some of the features of this park include world class museums (Shedd Aquarium, Adler Planetarium, the Art institute, and the Field Museum of Natural History), harbors, artwork, Buckingham Fountain, as well as Millennium Park and Maggie Daley Park.
Grant Park also hosts annual events such as The Taste of Chicago, Lollapalooza, and contains the start and finish lines of the Chicago Marathon.
Spirit of Music Garden: This 4,900-square-foot open space hosts different events throughout the year. One of the more popular events is Summer dance, hosted during the summer months as 43 different live bands perform and guests show off their best dance moves. Show up a little early for a free dance lesson!
Buckingham Fountain: Gifted to the city in 1927, this is one of the world’s largest fountains. From April until October, this fountain runs from 8:00AM to 11:00PM, shooting water 150 feet into the air for 20 minutes every hour. At night, this fountain is illuminated with different colors.
337 E. Randolph St.
Maggie Daley Park is the newest addition to Grant Park, located in the northeast corner. These 20 acres of transformed space have provided a great play space for kids, and is a park prepared to entertain in every season.
Skating Ribbon: The Skating ribbon provides a unique skating experience, with inclines and declines in the ice as guests loop a quarter mile (0.40 km) around the rock wall. Skating is free, with the option for $12 skate rentals. During the warmer months, the ribbon serves as a walking path and a perfect space for kids to scooter around with the skyline serving as the perfect backdrop.
Play Garden: This kid-friendly park houses six different playgrounds for children 12 and under across 3 acres. Each playground has a creative theme and is designed for a different age group.
Tennis Courts: The tennis courts are open from April to November, and are free of charge for walk ups. Guests can also reserve a court for $15 Monday-Friday from 7:00AM- 5:00PM, and for $20 Monday-Friday, 5:00 PM – 9:00PM and during the weekends.
500-5700 N. Lake Shore Drive Irving Park and Recreation Drive
This land marks the initial cemetery for the City of Chicago, but has been transformed into the year round favorite that it is today. This park hosts more than just green grass. Lincoln Park is lined with beaches along Lake Michigan, full of sports fields, and home to the Lincoln Park Zoo and Conservatory. Most importantly- you will find important monuments and statues, including “Lincoln the Man” a masterpiece realized by Augustus Saint Gaudens. You will find a bronze of the French explorer LaSalle, who predicted that one day a great city would rise here! You will see a temperance fountain and relic from the 1893 World’s Colombian Exposition, originally named for temperance leader Francis Willard. All this history is quietly suggested by the enduring bronze forms which reside along the lakefront, surrounded by a landscape of lawns and trails, gardens and ponds.
100 N. Central Park Ave.
This 40 acres of land located west of downtown includes flower gardens, a lagoon, and the Golden Dome field house used for recreational activities. The most notable feature is the Garfield Park Conservatory, one of the largest conservatories in the country located at 300 N. Central Park Ave. The Conservatory is considered a “landscape art under glass” houses thousands of plants throughout its eight rooms. Highlights include diverse tropical plants, 84 variations of a palm trees, and an assortment of cacti.
6401 S. Stony Island Ave.
This park was designed by landscape architects Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux for the purpose of being the site of the 1893 World’s Fair. The Museum of Science and Industry is the only building remaining from the fair, but this beautiful landscape also houses the stunning Osaka Japans Garden on Wooded Island.