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A comprehensive guide to Chicago's Millennium Park

Millennium Park in Chicago stands out as a beacon of modernity. Though the entire area is filled with feats of architecture, yet the Millennium Park is loaded with modern designs. This makes it a must-see destination for anyone visiting Chicago. Located in the heart of downtown, the Millenium Park is home to some beautiful fountains, peaceful gardens, public art, rock climbing, and other free events.

Let us take a detailed and comprehensive look at Chicago’s Millennium Park and what makes it stand out.

About the Millennium Park

The park was built with open railways which had originally occupied that space. It was opened officially in 2004 and rests on the east side of the Loop neighborhood just a few blocks from Lake Michigan in downtown Chicago. For the city’s flagship park, it stands at just around 25 acres. If you walk around the entire perimeter, it is about a mile. The park is packed with some amazing features. A crucial point to note is that the park is an entirely pedestrian place, and no pets, bikes, or skateboards are allowed.

Park Hours

 It is open every day of the year from 11 am to 6 pm while the Welcome Center is open from 9 am to 5 pm. It is important to note that the park can sometimes be closed due to overcrowding, protests, or scheduled events.  There is no special time of the year to visit the park, every season has something to offer for everybody although from mid–March to May 1 you might have no fountains, less color, and no snow if you decide to visit at those times.

Millenium Park Chicago scaled

Location and How to Get There

The Millennium Park is situated at the northwest corner of Chicago’s Grant Park. The address for the park is 201 E Randolph St, Chicago, IL 60602. The park is bound by Randolph Street, Michigan Avenue, and Columbus Drive.

If you are near downtown Chicago, the easiest way to get there is to walk. If you are not too keen on walking or are too for a walk, you can take the Chicago Transit Authority system.

If you opt to take the L Trains system to Millennium Park:

  • Take the Red Line and disembark at Lake Street.
  • For the Yellow and Purple line, transfer to the Red Line at Howard.
  • From the Blue line, use the Washington stop.

If you think the Metra is more convenient, then you have a few options. The Metra Electric District Line stops at Millennium Station, right across from Millennium Park. There are three other Metra terminals all of which are a 20-minute walk from Millennium Park. These are Union Station, Ogilvie Station, and LaSalle Station.

If you decide to arrive by car, there are plenty of parking garages in and around Millennium Park. It will cost you between $20 and $40 to park for your visit to the park. As it is situated downtown, there is no perfect drive on the way to Millennium Park. Just use Google Maps and follow its directions, just be careful about the fact that there are multi-level streets in that area. You get a guided tour of Millennium Park and use Chicago’s InstaGreeter Service which is available from May 24 to October 6 at 11 AM.

millennium park chicago scaled


  • Wrigley Square – Wrigley Square is a riveting place to start your journey. For most of the 20th century, Millennium Park was used as a parking lot and railyard, but this spot has remained a green space since before the 1900s. Before 1953, there was an arched peristyle porch and a fountain which has since been replaced by the Millennium Monument. The concrete had started to worsen, and it was demolished due to the construction of an underground parking The new Millennium Monument, however, is 15% smaller than the original. It pays tribute to the individuals and corporations that led a hand in the creation of the Millennium Park.
  • Cloud Gate – It is single-handedly the most famous part of Millennium Park and is also called “The Bean.” It is a magnificent bean-shaped sculpture and when you walk around the cloud gate you can see the Chicago skyline in all its glory. It is fun to hang around and look at the reflections of people on the cloud gate. The cloud gate weighs about 220,000 pounds and is expected to survive at least 1,000 years.
  • Tribune Plaza & Ice Rink – It sits right behind the Cloud Gate. Throughout the year the plaza is mixed-use but from mid-November to mid-March it becomes host to Chicago’s ice rink. Ice skating is free of cost and rentals will cost you $13 to $15.
  • Boeing Gallery (North & South) – It includes two outside galleries which host sculptures. South and North galleries are quite similar with different items on display.
  • Lurie Garden – Lurie Garden is hard to miss as it is protected by a 15-foot-high hedge. You can enter and find a spot in the hedge where you can spend some time exploring it. The motto for Chicago is “City in a Garden” and hence having an actual garden in one of the most famous parks in the United States is a blessing. Even though the Garden itself is quite small, it is filled with beautiful and fun design ideas.
  • Harris Theatre – There is not much to say about the Harris Theatre unless you are heading inside for an event. Most of it is situated underground.
  • BP Pedestrian Bridge – The BP Pedestrian Bridge connects Millennium Park and Maggie Daley Park and has become one of the high points of the park. Just like the Cloud Gate, it also twists and reflects and hence serves a dual purpose. It helps pedestrians by blocking the traffic noise and makes it easier for people to cross the bridge.
  • Crown Fountain – It constitutes two 50-foot towers with open space between them. These towers light up and keep playing videos where they will implement features like water falling from sprouts. The fountain works from May 1 to October 31 as per the weather conditions. Even if the fountain is off, the screen will still work.
  • Great Lawn & Pavilion – It has been regarded by many experts as the main highlight of Millennium Park. It consists of an open green space and spectacular works of art. Make sure to check before you decide to visit the Great Lawn as it can be closed for maintenance in between events.
Millennium Park chicago 1 scaled


During the summer, Millennium Park hosts a variety of events. Most of these events are free and open to the public and can get overcrowded. There will be some that will require you to get a paid ticket though. Make sure you bring your food, beverages, blankets, etc. Keep in mind that alcohol is not allowed at these events. Some of these events are listed below.

  • Lurie Garden Programming – Some of the events that Lurie Garden hosts throughout the year include nature walks and yoga classes. Make sure you view their schedule beforehand as it is not scheduled too far ahead in time.
  • Millennium Park Summer Music – From late June to August, the Pavilion hosts 11 concerts on some select evenings. All these events are free to the public.
  • Summer Workouts – The Great Lawn has morning workouts on Saturdays, Tuesdays, and Thursdays and all are free for the public.


Once you come to Millennium Park, most of the city is now at your fingertips. Due to it being a central location, you can jump on the L Train at any time to reach anywhere in the city. You can visit the Grant Park Campus, go to Maggie Daley Park and the Buckingham Fountain is quite close too. For more scenic views, head to the Lakefront Trail just along the lake. Navy Pier and Museum Park are just South of the Millennium Park.

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