About a couple weeks ago, I discussed Chicago’s scenic Lincoln Park and all of the beauties that you can feast your eyes on within this park. While Lincoln Park is well worth the visit, the park that Chicago is more famous for is Grant Park. Sandwiched between the Chicago Loop and Lake Michigan, this park has been referred to as Chicago’s front yard.
Even though Grant Park is not as large as Lincoln Park, it is dense with sub-parks and attractions, ensuring that there is plenty to do within the park. So, if you are in Chicago for parks, you will want to make sure that you don’t miss out on Grant Park.
Located in the northwestern section of Grant Park lies Millennium Park. There are a few attractions found within this park. The first one is called Cloud Gate. It is basically a giant sculpture that serve as a mirror that reflects the surrounding area including a line of iconic Chicago Loop buildings. Cloud Gate is shaped like a bean. That is why Cloud Gate has been referred to as The Bean.
The second of the attractions is the Jay Pritzker Pavilion. It is a oval-shaped lawn that lies under curving plates of stainless steel. It is often used as a venue for music performances. It can also be used to sit down and have picnics while taking in the surrounding scenery. Also located in Millennium Park is the Crown Fountain. It houses a pair of transparent glass brick towers.
The two towers are each 50 feet high. They show LED videos of individual faces in which water can be spit out of their mouths and into the black granite reflecting pool below. Garden lovers will want to check out the beautiful Lurie Garden, also located in Millennium Park. It is home to a combination of perennials, bulbs, grasses, shrubs, and trees. The garden is divided into half by a boardwalk and canal.
Maggie Daley Park
Maggie Daley Park is located across Columbus Drive to the east from Millennium Park. The two parks are connected by a snake-like girder footbridge called the BP Pedestrian Bridge. Maggie Daley Park is the newest park within Grant Park, having only been open since late 2014. If you have young children with you, you will want to check out the attraction called the Play Garden as it was created with young children in mind.
The Play Garden is divided into six diverse play areas for young children. They are The Wave Lawn, The Harbor, The Watering Hole, The Slide Crater, The Enchanted Forest, and The Sea. Garden lovers will want to check out the Richard and Annette Bloch Cancer Survivors Garden which honors those who have survived cancer.
The garden is split into three garden rooms that represent the three states of healing – acceptance, support, and celebration. The garden’s entrance is marked by two 40-foot Corinthian columns. The garden contains a perennial garden walkway lined with flowers, trees, and shrubs. In addition to the Play Garden and Cancer Survivors Garden, Maggie Daley Park has a few other attractions worth checking out.
They include a mini-golf course, an ice skating ribbon, and rock climbing walls. Picnic groves and winding walkways are also available.
Buckingham Fountain is located in the east central section of Grant Park. This is one of the largest fountains in the world. The fountain is designed to resemble a rococo wedding cake. The fountain contains a total of 193 jets for the water to spring from, including the center jet that shoots water up to 150 feet high in the air. This results in spectacular water displays.
The fountain’s water displays happen from April through October. For twenty minutes every hour, the fountain will produce a major water display with regular ones being produced during the rest of the time. During dusk, the fountain will show off its colorful lighting effect during major water displays, making them even more stunning than they already are.
During the winter months, the fountain is decorated with gorgeous festival lights. The fountain is surrounded by permeable pavers with seasonal plantings and gardens.
Art Institute of Chicago
The Art Institute of Chicago is located just south of Millennium Park within Grant Park. This is one of the oldest and largest art museums in the United States. This art museum is home to a collection of nearly 300,000 works of art. Some of the most notable of these include A Sunday on La Grande Jatte by Georges Seurat, The Old Guitarist by Pablo Picasso, Nighthawks by Edward Hopper, and American Gothic by Grant Wood.
The art museum’s art collection is divided into eleven categories. Some of them include African Art and Indian Art of the Americas, Ancient and Byzantine, Architecture and Design, Asian Art, European Decorative Art, and Modern and Contemporary. The art museum is divided into two buildings separated by open-air railroad tracks. The two buildings are connected by two floors of gallery space.
The art museum’s western entrance is marked by two bronze lion statues while the eastern entrance is marked by the stone arch that once marked the entrance to the old Chicago Stock Exchange. The prices of admission to the art museum are $25 for adults and $19 for seniors, students, and teens aged from 14 to 17. Free admission is granted to children under age 14. You can buy the tickets here.
The Museum Campus is located in the southeastern section of Grant Park. This is a unique park as it house not just one or two, but three museums surrounded by gorgeous park scenery. The museums are the Field Museum of Natural History, Shedd Aquarium, and the Adler Planetarium. Each of the three museum is distinct from each other as they focus on a different topic from each other.
The Field Museum is dedicated to exploring the natural history of Earth. This is one of the largest such museums in the world. It is home to a total of nine permanent exhibits such as Sue, the T-Rex, Underground Adventure, Geology Halls, Evolving Planet, and Inside Ancient Egypt. Shedd Aquarium is all about the water-related animals. The aquarium is home to 32,000-plus animals from 1,500 species.
These include fish, marine mammals, birds, snakes, amphibians, and insects. The Adler Planetarium is the museum that explores the outer space. One place you will want to check out at the planetarium is Chicago’s Night Sky. This is where you can observe and learn about the stars that show up in the sky at night.
Each of these museums has its own admissions. But, since you will want to visit them all, I would suggest that you get the Chicago CityPASS for about $109 per person. That will get you access to all three of these three museums as well as the Art Institute of Chicago that I mentioned up above. You can order your pass by going here.
These are all of the sub-parks and attractions located within Grant Park. If you happen to be in Chicago for parks, you won’t want to miss Grant Park.
If you are looking for a hotel to stay overnight at, I have got your back. Here is a hotel I would suggest you to book a stay at.
This hotel is located on South Michigan Avenue, just across the street from Grant Park. The hotel is located in a historic building that once housed the Essex Inn. The hotel houses an onsite restaurant called Grant Park Bistro. The onsite bar at the hotel is called SX Sky Bar. There is a fitness center available for you to use.
Some of the hotel’s rooms offer breathtaking views of Grant Park and Lake Michigan while others will give you the beautiful city skyline views. All of the rooms come with WiFi, mini refrigerators, and luxurious beds. The average rate for a standard room range from $109 to $364. You can go here to explore your booking options and/or check out some photos.
What are your thoughts? Have you visited Grant Park in Chicago? Feel free to leave a comment below.