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Millennium Park with Kids

This park celebrates families as well as the turn of the 21st century
Rating: 5 out of 5 by EveryTrail members
Difficulty: Easy
Length: 0.506 miles
Duration: 1-3 hours
Family Friendly

Overview :  The 21st century dawned four years late in Chicago. But when Millennium Park finally opened in 2004, residents quickly forgave the... more »

Tips:  On warm days, dress the kids in swimsuits under their clothes and bring towels. You'll need them. If it's a little chilly, bring a... more »

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Points of Interest

Start your tour of the park at this northwest corner, home to the Millennium Park Monument, and walk southeast toward the big shiny sculpture. (Entering the park at this corner is particularly important on warm summer days. It's the only way to ensure your kids won't see the Crown Fountain, the city's favorite splashing pool, until the end of the ... More

This sculpture by British artist Anish Kapoor is officially named "Cloud Gate," but affectionately known by locals as "The Bean." It was forged of 168 stainless-steel plates and weighs 110 tons.

But your kids won't care about that. They'll just want to walk around and under this giant structure to see their reflections change.

Get out the... More

As you walk from the Bean east to this rocking outdoor concert venue, look north along the Chase Promenade. During summer months the park offers free family programming daily, including crafts and children's perfomers, all of which is housed in a tent somewhere along the promenade.

The Jay Pritzker Pavilion is a Frank Gehry-designed Chicago... More

4. BP Bridge

Continue walking east to the winding BP Bridge, also designed by Frank Gehry. This gently sloping 925-foot boardwalk bridge crosses busy Columbus Drive and connects Millennium Park to Daley Bicentennial Plaza. Stop a minute to look back and admire the great architectural wonders that line Michigan Avenue. Warning: Be careful what the kids touch on... More

5. The Lurie Garden

This 2.5-acre garden celebrates Chicago's motto, "Urbs in Horto," Latin for "City in a Garden." Chicago's last Mayor Daley—Richard M., who ruled the city for 22 years before his retirement in 2011—embraced the motto. Known as the "tree hugger mayor," Daley is credited with building flower boxes, planting trees and promoting green construction... More

Finally, it's time for the Millennium Park coup de grace: the Crown Fountain. The fountain is bordered on the north and south ends by 50-foot-tall glass towers that display images of the faces of Chicagoans.

From mid-spring through mid-fall each year, a spray of water comes from the mouths of the faces on the tower, forming a shallow reflecting ... More

During the winter, this plaza is turned into a free ice skating rink (skate rentals are available but, sadly, rentals are not free). During summer months, the space is used as outdoor seating for the Park Grill, a white tablecloth restaurant. It has a kid's menu, but you won't want to take the tykes in there if they've just been splashing in the... More

You have a choice when you walk across the BP Bridge from Millennium Park to Daley Bicentennial Plaza: You can walk east across Lake Shore Drive for a stroll along the Monroe Street Harbor, continue heading south through the gardens, past the iconic Buckingham Fountain and down to the Museum Campus, or you can turn around and walk back across the ... More