The City of Chicago is known for its bold vision and big plans, so it should come as no surprise that its newest crown jewel, Millennium Park, has been dubbed by some as “the most important millennium project in the world.” Millennium Park, the culmination of a $450 million public-private partnership, opened this past July, exceeding expectations with over 300,000 visitors attending opening weekend celebrations. The 24.5 acre park features a grand-scale outdoor concert venue, interactive public art, architectural treasures and innovative landscape design. The Jay Pritzker Pavilion, a world- class outdoor concert venue designed by Frank Gehry, shines as one of the park’s premiere attractions. Another highlight is the 110-ton elliptical Cloud Gate sculpture “the largest sculpture in the world” designed by Anish Kapoor. Visitors can walk around and through the stainless steel structure (nicknamed “the bean” because of its kidney-bean shape) that reflects the City skyline and the park itself. The Crown Fountain cycles 11,520 gallons of water per minute and spews water through rotating images of facial expressions.
The Millennium Park web site opens with a series of moving images of the Park from various vantage points, zooming in on its most visually impressive features, like the Crown Fountain. Once inside the site, visitors can view webcam and archived photos of the Fountain, the Cloud Gate Sculpture, and the Pritzker Music Pavilion, as well as access a map of the entire park area. The site also provides a calendar of upcoming art, music, dance and seasonal events, and general information, including driving directions and public transit information. In a July press release, Mayor Richard M. Daley calls Millennium Park an “unparalleled destination and a crowning achievement for Chicago.” In developing this project, the City of Chicago and the private sector joined forces to present a defining vision in architecture, art and landscape design, according to Daley. As the American city with the greatest architectural heritage, Chicago is determined not to stand still, and opens the 21st century with this visionary destination for the use and pleasure of Chicagoans and visitors from around the country and around the world. For more information about Chicago area attractions and upcoming events, consult the Chicago Convention and Tourism Bureau, the Chicago Office of Tourism and 877 Chicago.com web sites.