For Chicagoans, summer in the city is what makes us strong enough to endure eight months of winter. Although July is now behind us, those boxes of sweaters still have a good bit of dust to collect before we surrender to the crisp cool of Autumn. One of the best ways to celebrate the end of summer has to be at Millennium Park, arguably the best tourist attraction in the Midwest.
A means to transform unsightly railroad tracks and parking lots, Millennium Park has continually developed its offerings since opening in 2004. Around five million annual visitors have taken advantage of the public art, concerts, and summer activities located on Michigan Avenue between Randolph and Monroe Streets in downtown Chicago.
If you are planning a trip to Chicago or are lucky enough to live here, these are a few suggestions of what will round off your summer with a smile.
Also known as “The Bean.” Created by British sculptor Anish Kapoor, Cloud Gate has become a well known Chicago landmark. Constructed with close to 100 tons of stainless steel plates, Cloud Gate attracts people from all over the world to use its curved reflective surface for selfies and creative takes on the skyline.
Jay Pritzker Pavilion
This auditorium is the home of the Grant Park Symphony Orchestra and Chorus and the Grant Park Music Festival. Designed by Frank Gehry, its goal was to create a relationship between the audience and the stage, to involve both the people in the seats and those 100 meters away on the lawn.With a capacity of 11,000, it hosts numerous live performances, yoga sessions, and workout programs. It is a worthy centerpiece, both visually and culturally, of Millennium Park.
An interactive public art and video sculpture designed by the Catalan artist, Jaume Plensa. It includes a pair of 50 ft tall totem like video screens showing the faces of ordinary Chicagoans, who after looking out at those around them, spout water from fountains in their mouths to a basin below. Countless children and those young at heart can be found splashing around in the shallow water and cooling off under the showers coming from the screens. When the splashing calms, one can see the reflection of the sky and the city.
Chicago Cultural Center
Though not in the Millennium park, the Chicago Cultural Center sits across the street and is also home to free concerts, dance performances, theater and art exhibitions. Originally completed in 1897, as Chicago’s first public library, it features the world’s largest stained glass Tiffany dome.
Click here for see Chicago Cultural Center’s calendar
Summer Season Events
Millennium Park will finish the summer season with Chicago Jazz Festival on the first weekend of September, and then the World Music Festival on the second weekend. In the meantime, spending your evening in a yoga or a summer workout session in the park is a good way to make use of the warm weather while we can. Here is the Millennium Park’s Monthly Schedule.