Whether it’s a concert, biking or relaxing on a bench, you’ll find it all and more at Chicago’s scenic, versatile parks.
Events & Festivals IN THE PARKS
There’s a lot happening year-round in the city’s parks —free cultural events, family fun, workout groups, educational walks, film festivals, music, theater, art, you name it. Don’t miss out.
A top Midwest attraction and treasured Chicago go-to, Millennium Park is a combination urban park meets art gallery. Covering nearly 25 acres, the park’s crown jewel is the Frank Gehry Pritzker Pavilion. There you can see summer outdoor films, free concerts, and the celebrated “Cloud Gate,” AKA “the Bean,” sculpture by Anish Kapoor and Jaume Plensa’s Crown Fountain. The other must-see here is the colorful Lurie Garden, open year-round.
Head to “Chicago’s front yard” for superb vistas of the famed city skyline and inspired public art. With 319 acres of lakefront, this giant park includes several others, including Millennium and Maggie Daley parks, and three museums and the Shedd Aquarium. Crowds flock here every summer for festival season, including Lollapalooza. To-dos here include softball, yoga and ice skating in winter; in summer, concerts and rallies. Don’t miss the Buckingham Fountain, which sprays water 150 feet in the air hourly and lights up in a rainbow of colors at night.
Maggie Daley Park
Just east of Millennium Park, 20-acre Maggie Daley Park is about skating: ice skating around the quarter-mile serpentine loop in summer and rollerskating in summer. Situated amidst skyscrapers and water, there’s an 18-hole mini golf course that doubles as Chicago in miniature, perfect for travel selfies. A family highlight is the whimsical, artsy Play Garden, huge pirate ship, massive slides and places for kids to climb, slide, swing and run. There’s also a 40-foot climbing wall, picnic “groves,” tennis courts and of course, lots and lots of cultural events.
The “city in a garden” tagline comes to life in full color at the tranquil Lurie Garden in Millennium Park. Fifteen-foot-high hedges flank showy flower beds all year long, with swaths of red, purple, yellow and green. Stroll the floating boardwalk, take in the skyline views and watch butterflies from a bench. Join one of the free garden tours. After you see all the dramatic floral displays, look behind the hedges at the native plant garden, a tribute to the state’s prairie lands: a five-acre carpet of tall grass dotted with waving daffodils and bluebells, with a river running through the middle.
Image Courtesy of the Lurie Garden