One of the must-sees of Chicago is Millennium Park. There is so much to do there. The first order of business when we arrived was to tour the Art Institute, located just outside Millennium Park and easy to find. My husband and I love art, so for me, this was one of the top places I wanted to see. We got there when it opened so we would have plenty of time to walk around Millennium Park when we were done.
For me, being in an art museum like the Art Institute is like being a kid in a candy store, but I was in sensory overload toward the end of our visit. The start was pure joy and excitement, and at the end it was more like, “Okay, so it was sculpted 2,000 years ago. Next.” The layout was a little confusing to me. I even heard one man tell his wife, “Haven’t we been here before? I feel like we’re going in circles.” I had to giggle at that one because I felt the same way. The other thing I saw that made me laugh was one man playing with the alarm on a very odd exhibit on the floor. There were no ropes or markings to show you how close you could get. He kept tapping his foot just close enough to set off the alarm. I wasn’t sure if he was amusing himself or annoying the security person in the room (or both).
Here are some things to know before you go to the Art Institute:
· You can get tickets and information online at www.artic.edu
· Prices as of fall 2016 range from $19 to $25 (unless you are a resident; under 13 are free)
· Hours are from 10:30 AM to 5:00 PM, but change from season to season so please check their website before you go. They also have free hours for residents to help with a tight budget
· You can take photos, but some paintings have a “no photo” sign by them, so beware or a security person will approach you. It happened to me and I felt like a kid getting caught in the school hall without a pass.
TIP: If you plan on seeing multiple museums and events, you might want to invest in a City Pass. You can get one at any of popular destinations (the Art Institute, Shedd Aquarium, the Field Museum, Museum of Science, or go to www.citypass.com/chicago and get one online). They are about $100 a person and will save you about half the price of an individual ticket for each museum. It will also include free passes to exhibits that are not part of general admission.
After becoming more cultured, we ventured out to see more of Millennium Park. There are two fountains to see that could not be any more different. The first one we saw was Crown Fountain, an interactive water fountain with video art and a reflecting pool between them. Each fountain has a video of a person’s face and the mouths will occasionally spit out water. We stopped and watched the kids and adults alike playing in water and waiting in anticipation for the face to start spitting. The giggles of delight were fun to hear…even out of my own mouth.
The next fountain was Buckingham Fountain. I don’t know if I loved this fountain because there was an outside bar close by with delicious sangria or because of its unique beauty. (Because this was the hottest time in Chicago, I’m thinking it’s more the former.) The fountain was still a delight and wonderful to see. I very much enjoyed the rainbows it created. This fountain is one of the largest in the world, and it’s located just outside Millennium Park.
Our next stops on our 25,000-step journey:
· BP Pedestrian Bridge – This was very unique and fun way to cross the park
· Cloud Gate (See blog post on my site for details on the exhibit)
· Jay Pritzker Pavilion, which has a band shell for concerts
· Lurie Garden, with the world’s largest green roof
· Miniature Golf (Beware of the logs along the path; one jumped out and tripped me. At least that’s my story and I’m sticking with it.)
Now you know how we acquired 25,000 steps on this day of our travels, and it was worth every step. Of course if you’re 6 feet 2 inches like my husband, it’s more like 15,000 steps, but that’s a debate for later. Give yourself time to explore this area of Chicago. It’s fun for all ages and interests.