Monday, June 11, 2018

Cloud Gate and Millenium Park

If you Google the top tourist attractions in Chicago or in Illinois, you'll find Millennium Park in the top 10 of just about any list. And according to the City of Chicago's official numbers, Millennium Park became the most visited site in 2016 in not just Chicago or the state, but in the entire Midwest. Millennium Park is the site of many events throughout the year - music events like the Chicago House Music Festival, the Chicago Blues Festival and the Chicago Gospel Music Festival along with free movies in the park each Tuesday from June - August during the Millennium Park Summer Film Series and free music on Mondays and Thursdays as part of the Millennium Park Summer Music Series. It's the home of Chicago Gourmet. It's right next to the Chicago Cultural Center where you can enjoy a multitude of performances and activities. And below it is Millennium Station where you can travel in by train from the suburbs. It sits besides Maggie Daley Park, which has a plethora of activities for youngsters. In the winter, you can lace up skates on the rink within the park. You can grab a bite to eat at Park Grill, an awarding winning restaurant at the gateway to the park. And Millennium Park is just a stone's throw from Lake Michigan. 

Aside from all of the above, a huge draw at Millennium Park is a mirrored sculpture known as Cloud Gate, that is more often called "The Bean" by locals. 

It took many years after it was installed for me to visit and see it in person. And when I finally did, I was - like most of the other visitors - mesmerized by the beautiful reflection of the city's skyline. And you can visit many times and never get the same shot. One day it may be bright and sunny with the sky a stunning shade of blue. The next day may be overcast with a more dull hue of sky blue dotted with white clouds. Unless you are there at the crack of dawn when the park is quiet and uncrowded, you'll see reflections of tons of faces. It's virtually impossible to get an identical image on two separate days. 

Best thing about stopping at the park to see this artistic masterpiece is that it is free.

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