Have You Been to “The Bean”?

After disembarking the architectural tour boat, I couldn’t wait to get over to Millennium Park to see Cloud Gate; affectionately known as “The Bean”.  The stroll through downtown was lovely, but my heart skipped a beat when I saw a thick stand of trees, just up ahead.  We were almost there and I couldn’t wait to get my camera out and start clicking away…

Cloud Gate, a huge bean-shaped stainless steel sculpture, designed by Anish Kapoor, was constructed between 2004 and 2006.  It is the centerpiece of Millennium Park; Chicago’s largest rooftop garden that takes up 24 acres of Grant Park.  Millennium Park is a 24-acre rooftop garden, you ask?  Well, yes, because it sits atop a parking garage and the commuter rail.  What an amazing use of public space!  And, it has become Chicago’s second-most favored attraction, after Navy Pier.

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I could have easily stayed at The Bean all afternoon and into the evening, thinking of various other ways to photograph that magnificent sculpture.  I could only imagine what fun it would have been capturing the city lights, at night!  But, I tore myself away, so Laura could show me the park’s fountain.  WOW!  How cool is this?

Crown Fountain is a video sculpture named in honor of Chicago’s Crown family and designed by Jaume Plensa.  The fountain is composed of a black granite reflecting pool placed between two transparent glass brick towers that use light-emitting diodes behind the bricks to display digital videos.

Other highlights of the park include Jay Pritzker Pavilion, the most amazing band shell I have ever seen:

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Lurie Garden was a lovely addition to Millennium Park.  The 2.5-acre public garden is a combination of perennials, bulbs, grasses, shrubs and trees.  It is the featured natural component of the world’s largest green roof.

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After strolling through the garden, we ended our day at The Art Institute.  Stop by shortly for highlights of the exhibits we enjoyed , before wrapping up the evening with dinner at Frontera Grill!

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