We can’t wait to revisit our favorite things to do in Millennium Park.
Chicago, the beautiful home we share with 2.7 million people, is now facing a crisis. The coronavirus has reached our corner of the world, and the majority of us remain in our homes waiting it out.
Meanwhile, our favorite things to do in Millennium Park remain closed, and we don’t know when we’ll see them again. For now, our community can remain connected online as we await the opening of some of our favorite places in the city.
As our brave healthcare and essential workers fight coronavirus on the front line, let’s take a moment to honor the places we’re missing most right now.
1. The Bean
The Cloud, known to most as The Bean, forms an iconic gateway into Millennium Park. While the scores of tourists taking photos in front of it can be a little bit of an annoyance, we know they’re there to pay respects to one of our great city’s treasures.
We miss the way it glistens on a sunny day, and the many children that spend hours (okay, realistically it may be minutes) amusing themselves in front of it due to the distorted reflections it creates.
We promise we’ll never take the selfie-taking tourists for granted again. And once this is over, we might even take one ourselves just to celebrate being out in the city and walking freely.
2. The Crown Fountain
During Chicago’s blazing late spring, summer, and early autumn days, The Crown Fountain provides both local modern art and a way to cool down. The fountain is adorned with LED-lit glass bricks that show photos and videos all year.
During the summer months, you not only get photos of Chicago locals but also a spray of water that keeps young and old alike cool. While we miss not feeling the spray on our hot skin, we hope we’ll be able to at least splash around a little bit before the summer ends.
Still, we miss the gorgeous free art available to the public and hope that, in the future, we’ll smile in appreciation each time we see it.
3. Lurie Garden
Chicago is normally full of hustle and bustle, and sitting in nature isn’t something we typically have the opportunity to do in the city. Those of us who are quarantining in high-rise apartments, with only the view of the city below and around us, are likely aching to sit in Lurie Garden right now.
Lurie Garden offers Chicagoans and tourists alike something you really don’t get without leaving the city: a 10,000-square-meter garden peppered with gorgeous flowers and wildlife. There’s even a canal that runs through it so you can close your eyes and imagine you’re in a garden in the countryside.
But this gorgeous getaway is located right in Millennium Park, giving us our nature fix without leaving the city. There are even free talks and guided tours, making real nature truly accessible to everyone.
Those of us who are lucky enough to have a yard in Chicago can sit outside and pretend we’re in Lurie Garden, but there are very few that can even compare.
We can’t wait to celebrate nature and wildlife once again, communing with our fellow Chicagoans as we watch the perennials sway in the breeze.
4. Jay Pritzker Pavilion
What is summer in Chicago without an evening at the Jay Pritzker Pavilion? With free music festivals lined up to fill the lull of the summer evenings, there is something for everyone. And even those who can’t shell out $100 for a world-class performance can still be treated to one for free.
With the Chicago Blues and Jazz Festivals, and even the Grant Park Music Festival, you can hear the notes linger as the sun sets in the city.
If you’re not a live music kind of person, there’s always the Summer Film Series, where you can watch new and old films with friends. Bring a bottle of wine, a blanket, and dinner, and you can enjoy a film with those you love under the stars.
We know we might have to miss parts of the summer festivities, but we are clinging to the possibility that we may be able to enjoy at least an evening or two at the Pavilion.
If not, our living rooms will have to do—or a night outside with the laptop and some popcorn. Still, Chicagoans will be looking forward to the day they can hear the music float across the warm summer breeze or cuddle up with their nearest and dearest while watching a film underneath the stars.
Pavilion, you may be empty now, but try to hold on a bit longer. We’ll be there soon.
5. Art Institute of Chicago
The Art Institute of Chicago may have had to close its doors for now, but we can’t wait until it opens again. With its gorgeous interior, modern masterpieces, and delectable restaurant Terzo Piano, we can’t wait to walk the halls again.
While many of us may have taken this cultural landmark for granted, we’ve now realized how lucky we are to have it right in our “backyard,” so to speak. This unique cultural haven allows us to escape into the world of modern art almost any time we please.
Sure, Chicago art lovers can Google their favorite paintings and maybe even purchase a reproduction or two from Amazon to hang on the wall, but there’s nothing like the experience of viewing art how it’s meant to be viewed: publicly.
Art lovers of Chicago, hold on just a little longer.
We’ll be back to our favorite things to do in Millennium Park soon!
While all of the things to do in Millennium Park are currently suspended, we know the people of Chicago are busy dreaming about when they will open again. Plus, we know those who run the park are planning as many activities as possible so when it finally reopens, we’ll be there to celebrate.
Chicago, we may be down, but we’re not out. We’ve soldiered on through times before, and the spirit of the city has continued thriving. We know we’ll all meet again soon to bask in the city we call home.