Millennium Park

Many cities around the world tried to mark the millennium but only one got it right. Built on a site that was controlled by the Illinois Central Railroad for almost 150 years, Millennium Park is seen by many as the crowning glory of the city. Just 15 minutes away from 20 West Kinzie, this is not a place to feed the ducks but an architectural and cultural Mecca where you can catch an a cappella concert or a tango master class over lunch. While Frank Gehry’s Pritzker Music Pavilion is its most iconic structure, the park is also framed by the Renzo Piano- designed Modern Wing of the Art Institute, the kidney bean-shaped Cloud Gate and the Crown Fountain, where a spritz is a welcome relief from the noontime heat.

20_w_kinzie_content_fountainDesigned by Spanish artist Jaume Plensa, the Crown is an interactive fountain composed of two 50-foot glass-brick towers, with mixed media united by a black granite pool. The towers project video images of Chicago citizens, each of whom spout water at intervals like nymphs – a symbol of the flow of life – to the squeals of children and adults. The fountain’s water features operate during the year between mid-spring and mid-fall, while the images remain on view year-round.


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20_w_kinzie_content_exelonDesigned by superstar architect Renzo Piano, the four Exelon Pavilions, which turn solar energy into electricity, are an integral part of Chicago’s efforts to become the most environmentally-friendly city in North America. Together, they provide enough electricity annually to power 14 star-rated energy-efficient houses in Chicago. The northwest and northeast pavilions are minimalist black cubes that look like the obelisks from “2001: A Space Odyssey”. The northwest pavilion houses the Millennium Park Welcome Center, along with an Exelon energy display area.


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151 E. Upper Randolph and 201 E. Upper Randolph

Chicago, Illinois

20_w_kinzie_content_gardensDesigned by Gustafson Guthrie Nichol Ltd, Piet Oudolf and Robert Israel, this five-acre garden pays homage to the City’s motto, “Urbs in Horto” (City in a Garden), which is a shout out to Chicago’s transformation from its flat and marshy origins to a bold and powerful city. Highlights of the garden include the dramatically lit, 15-foot-high “shoulder” hedge, an homage to Carl Sandburg’s famous description of the “City of Big Shoulders”. A graceful hardwood footbridge over shallow water divides the garden diagonally between “light” and “dark” plates.

20_w_kinzie_content_pritzkerA perfect segue between work and home, architect Frank Gehry’s 2004 outdoor concert theater is the setting for more than 100 free concerts, films and programs – most starting right after work. Our favorite is the Downtown Sound series on Monday where you can catch the likes of Andrew Bird, the Besnard Lakes or Iron & Wine without paying for a wrist band. During the summer, the historic Grant Park Music Festival (begun in 1935) presents 30 classical concerts over the course of 10 weeks, and then there’s the outdoor movies where jazz-hands musicals and comedies rule the roost. And don’t even get us started about Lollapalooza just down the street.


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201 E Randolph St

Chicago, IL 60601