Millennium Park sits on space that was previously occupied by rail yards and parking lots. Through a massive civic effort, generous private donations and six years of tireless work, the Park ceremoniously opened on July 16, 2004. Today, 25-acre Millennium Park is the second most popular tourist attraction in Illinois (following close on the heels of Navy Pier), and contains some of the greatest public art pieces in the world.
The 3.5-acre Lurie Garden pays homage to the City’s motto, “Urbs in Horto” (City in a Garden), which refers to Chicago’s transformation from its flat and marshy origins to a bold and powerful city.
Anish Kapoor’s first public sculpture in the United States came as the result of $26M in private donations and, well, a giant headache. Composed of close to 200 stainless steel plates and weighing 100 tons, Cloud Gate faced numerous technological and upkeep issues before being unveiled in early 2005. Thankfully, Kapoor and a team of experts ironed out early shortcomings and, ultimately, created one of Chicago’s iconic landmarks and selfie darlings.
Millennium Park is the largest public space within the 319 acres of downtown Chicago’s Grant Park. It was established in 2004 and is now one of the biggest free attractions of the city, rivaling only Lincoln Park Zoo. That’s mostly because of its popular “Bean” installation, Cloud Gate.