Explore urban life in Chicago by visiting some of its best-known attractions: Millennium Park and shopping along the “Magnificent Mile.”
Start by visiting “The Bean” (officially called Cloud Gate) in Millennium Park. This metallic, interactive sculpture designed by Anish Kapoor surprises all who walk through it — it feels like being inside of a funhouse, which makes it an iconic spot for creative photos.
The park is divided into various sections (like outdoor rooms). In the winter, rent skates or people watch at the rink at McCormick Tribune Plaza, which doubles as an open-air space to eat in warmer months. Year-round, swing by the Crown Fountain, a work of public art that displays a rotation of 1,000 LED faces glowing through glass block towers (they also spurt water from their mounts in the warmer months). You can also wander through Lurie Garden, an urban oasis of prairie landscapes and pollinators. Finally, see the Jay Pritzker Pavilion, designed by architect Frank Gehry. Its crisscrossed weave of steel pipes create a surround-sound experience.
After a morning at the park, grab a Chicago-style beef hot dog complete with mustard, pickle relish, chopped onion and tomato, a pickle spear and celery seeds on a poppy seed bun. (In true Chicago fashion, don’t bother asking for ketchup.) Then walk over the serpentine BP Bridge, which connects Millennium Park to the 20-acre Maggie Daley Park. In the winter, you’ll find a skating ribbon that weaves around a climbing wall, as well as a warming area to rent skates. There’s also a three-acre play garden geared towards children 12 and under with different dedicated zones including a suspension bridge, metal ship, talking tubes, and viewing scopes.
For some retail therapy, wander north along Michigan Avenue — also called the Magnificent Mile — from Millennium Park and shop for blocks. As you cross over the Chicago River, you’ll see the iconic Beaux-Arts Wrigley Building across from the Tribune Tower, with its collection of world history embedded into its façade (including pieces of stone from Westminster Abbey and the Great Wall of China).