Millennium Park is a masterpiece of renovation for Chicago's Grant Park and surrounding areas. This 24.5-acre park is filled with attractions for public entertainment and has ample space for picnics, al fresco dining, and interactive play areas. It is lauded as an unprecedented center for fine art, music, architecture, and landscape design.
Millennium Park is designed to accommodate the extreme weather conditions of Chicago with features and attractions that shift from one mode of operation to another with the seasons of heat and snow, although most visitors prefer the park's sunny season.
The Jay Pritzker Pavilion
The Jay Pritzker Pavilion is a concert stage and adjoining lawn that was innovatively designed by Frank Gehry for outdoor entertainment. Classical and rock concerts are presented at the Pritzker Pavilion, along with five-dollar 45-minute lunchtime dance performance shows. The Jay Pritzker Pavilion has 4,000 fixed seats and lawn seating for approximately 7,000. This intimate outdoor venue sells tickets to fine performances for $10 to in-person, cash-only customers in the last 90 minutes before show time.
The Harris Theater
The Harris Theater for Music and Dance is an indoor performance venue that was uniquely designed to be mostly underground by Hammond Beeby Rupert Ainge Architects. This unique performance hall holds 1,400 to 1,525 seats. It has showcased performances by The Joffrey Ballet Company, The New York City Ballet Company, The Chicago Opera Theater, and The Hubbard Street Dancers. The Harris Theater also sells $10.00 tickets to in-person, cash-only patrons during the 90 minutes before the beginning of performances when tickets are still available.
Crown Fountain is a very popular interactive art feature that was designed by Jaume Plensa. Crown Fountain is also a public play area, as this art piece is a water feature with a black granite platform between two glass-block pillars. Each pillar has faces projected on it that move and make expression. At certain moments, the mouths of the faces spurt water making the entire installation a surprising and fun water feature. Crown Fountain operates when warm weather permits, usually between the months of May through October.
Cloud Gate is another very popular interactive art sculpture that was designed by Anish Kapoor. This intriguing 33-feet by 66-feet by 44-feet sculpture was inspired by liquid mercury and has been nicknamed "The Bean" by the community because of its bean-like shape. This huge steel-plate structure has an arched mirror finish that reflects the Chicago skyline and anyone nearby. Visitors can walk around and under the piece.
The McCormick Tribune Plaza and Ice Rink
The McCormick Tribune Plaza and Ice Rink is a dual-purpose venue that serves the community as an ice rink in the winter and a musical al fresco dining area called the Park Grill Plaza during the seasons of sun.
The Lurie Garden was designed by Kathryn Gustafson, Piet Oudolf, and Robert Israel in two plates. The shade garden plate represents Chicago's past while the sunny garden plate represents Chicago's future.
Millennium Park is certainly a destination to include in your plans when visiting the city of Chicago.