Since opening in 2004, the 24.5-acre Millennium Park has become a Chicago staple that lures renowned artists, architects, and musicians. Highlights include The Cloud Gate, The Crown Fountain, and the Jay Pritzker Pavilion.
The Cloud Gate is a must-see. Designed by Anish Kapoor, the stainless-steel sculpture (a.k.a. the Bean, due to its concave shape) weighs 110 tons and reflects the city’s skyline.
Tip: For an ideal photo-op, stand under the Bean and your image will reflect back at you. But mind your head—it’s lower than it looks. If you prefer a shot of the city, stand in front of the sculpture.
The Crown Fountain: During the summer, this shallow reflecting pool flanked by two glass-block towers is a nice respite. The towers’ surfaces feature rotating faces of Chicago citizens, and as the faces change, water spouts from their mouths—giving you the illusion of being spit on.
Tip: Kids are allowed to play in the fountain.
The Jay Pritzker Pavilion: For an outdoor concert venue with indoor-sounding acoustics, head to the Frank Gehry-designed pavilion. A stainless-steel trellis of crisscrossing pipes hangs over the 4,000 fixed seats and Great Lawn.
Tip: Speakers, which are attached to the trellis, extend to the back of the lawn, allowing all concertgoers to hear equally well.
Congratulations to Mei Lin, winner of Top Chef Season 12.