Lonely Planet review for Millennium Park
Rising boldly by the lakefront, Millennium Park is a treasure trove of free and arty sights. Frank Gehry's 120ft-high swooping silver band shell anchors what is, in essence, an outdoor modern design gallery. It includes Jaume Plensa's 50ft-high Crown Fountain, which projects video images of locals spitting water, gargoyle style; the Gehry-designed BP Bridge that spans Columbus Dr and offers great skyline views; and the McCormick Tribune Ice Rink that fills with skaters in winter (and alfresco diners in summer). The newest installment is the Nichols Bridgeway that arches from the park up to the Art Institute's 3rd-floor contemporary sculpture garden (free to view).
However, the thing that has become the park's biggest draw is 'the Bean' – officially titled Cloud Gate – Anish Kapoor's ridiculously smooth, 110-ton, silver-drop sculpture. Locals and visitors alike find it hard to resist such playful art, as you'll see from all the folks splashing around in Crown Fountain and touching the sculpture.
In summer, Millennium's acoustically awesome band shell – Pritzker Pavilion – hosts free concerts at lunchtime and at 6:30pm. For the latter, bring a picnic and bottle of wine and tune in to new music on Mondays, jazz and world music on Thursdays, and classical music on most other days. Each Saturday free exercise classes (yoga at 8am, Pilates at 9am and dance at 10am) take place on the Great Lawn. And the Family Fun Tent provides free kids' activities daily between 10am and 3pm. Free walking tours (Welcome Center; 11:30am and 1pm) take place daily, or do it yourself with a downloadable tour from the website.
Technically, Millennium is part of the northwest corner of Grant Park.