The Bean is part of the larger Millennium Park. The park was built as part of Chicago’s Millennium celebration. It’s home to the Jay Pritzker Pavilion, Wrigley Square, Crown Fountain, Lurie Garden, Boeing Gardens, BP Bridge and the Nichols Bridgeway.
The Bean appears to the most popular attraction in the park. The stainless steel sculpture’s bean design features a 12-foot high arch, which seems to be a popular spot for some oddball photos.
The Bean reflects the city’s skyline in a beautiful way. I’m not sure if the view is better with a blue sky or at night with the buildings lit up. What I do know is that it is singularly my favorite spot in Chicago.
As a side note, I have not been a fan of Chicago. Lisa and I had been there a couple times previous to “The Bean” trip. We took our eldest daughter there for a scholarship audition at the University of Illinois-Chicago. Our tour of the city that time was lunch at Giordano’s.
The second trip was memorable because we joined two organized walks while strolling from Navy Pier t the Field Museum. We joined a walk honoring Israel’s birthday and a March of Dimes walk.
In 2011, for my 50th birthday, a hotel offered us a great rate on a downtown suite, so the family went there for the celebration. That is when I saw the Bean for the first time. It was photo love at first sight. We spent a lot of time at the plaza housing it during that trip. We visited a lot of attractions that trip, but I think we visited the Bean at least twice daily. Lisa and I followed this trip with another. So, I am a fan of visiting Chicago now.
The Jay Pritzker Pavilion is a pretty cool looking outdoor concert facility. It has a stage and visitors take in the view on an incline. The pavilion is 120 feet high. It has stainless steel sculptures in the style of ribbons with steel pipes that crisscross overhead visitors. The venue has 4,000 fixed seats but the grass “Great Lawn” can seat another 7,000 people.
Near the Pavilion is the BP Bridge. The bridge (named after the oil and petro company) connects the park to the Daley Bicentennial Plaza on the Lake Michigan side of the complex.
The Boeing Galleries host public art displays.
Wrigley Square is located on the east side of Millennium Park, near Randolph Street and Michigan Avenue. The Millennium Monument is a replica of a peristyle that stood in the same spot from the mid-1900s to the early 1950s. The new monument recognizes the park founders and supporters. It has a very ancient Greek feel to it.
Another cool attraction is Crown Fountain. The fountain has two 50-foot high fountains that feature video of the city’s residents. A shallow reflection pool lies between the structures.
Finally, we loved the Nichols Bridgeway. It rises from the ground to about 60 feet high with a slight incline. It crosses over the Lurie Gardens. The 625-foot long bridge takes visitors to the west wing of the Chicago Institute of Art. It provides a beautiful look at Chicago’s skyline, and is heightened at night.
The Bean really sparked my interest in the nation’s third-largest city. Millennium Park was a beautiful addition to the city’s downtown area. It alone is worth a trip to Chicago. On my next visit, I want to eat a Chicago dawg at the Bean. Is that carrying my fascination too far?