One measly, rushed evening. That’s all I had to explore two of Chicago’s beautiful downtown lakeside parks–Millennium Park and Maggie Daley Park.
Several parks and green areas are planted and architected downtown; I barely had time to run around to see as much as I could at merely two of them. I’m glad I got to see as much as I did, but I wanted more!
Chicago’s Park District is an immaculately designed series of nearly 600 parks, over 30 beaches, a zoo, and so much more. The series of blocks downtown devoted to some of these parks is absolutely beautiful, and a tourist or local could spend an enjoyable weekend exploring every inch of greenery and activity. Perhaps that’s why getting just a taste only wet my mouth for more-more-more!
Millennium Park on a Wednesday night has the clear vibe of fun for the entire family…or entire singles population…or for couples. It really doesn’t matter who you are. The locals and tourists at Millennium Park are there to relax and chill out. Or, as Bruce Willis would likely say in his gruff Die Hard voice, “Come out to the parks…see a coupl’a sites.” Whether you’re looking for a dynamite daytime getaway, the manificent monuments, or a concert, Millennium Park likely meets the need.
During the summer, make certain you attend the Grant Park Music Festival which I chance encountered unexpectedly. A few weeks ago, I posted a picture on Twitter about all the free concerts Grant Park hosts. The above picture is from the first concert of 2016, Opening Night! The park was full of visitors eating, drinking, and being merry while enjoying some beautifully orchestrated classical music. Coming up as of this blog post? Mozart, Mendelssohn, Tchaikovsky, and more. They tackle the power composers, for sure, so expect a solid performance well-worth a standing ovation! And if you’re further back, expect group picnics with wine glasses and foods a’plenty. The festival runs June – August on Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday nights so catch it while you still can this year! Or remember next year because you won’t forget it!
Outside of those fantastic concerts, explore the flowering Lurie Gardens, the monumentally water park-esque Crown Fountain (wear your swimsuit if you’re adventurous!), or The Bean, a mirrored monument in the shape of a, well…bean. Don’t believe me, check the vid for a short clip. Fun is watching children explore the mirror and touch the mirror to make a memory! Just make sure you have plenty of hand sanitizer because who knows where 1000s of hands have been!
Maggie Daley Park
I crossed the serpentine acoustic insulation of BP Bridge–yes, it’s form shields Grant Park from vehicular noise. No, I didn’t know where I was going; but you bet I was going to cross a bridge that cool looking. Ultimately, I learned and landed in Maggie Daley Park.
Maggie Daley Park felt like a stroll into youthfulness again. It also felt like a stroll into an area where filming would result in filming children. As I did not want to be perceived as a creepy perv, I limited my shots. If I had young children and lived in the area, this would be my jam. Multiple play constructions ranging from boats to bridges to mirrored forests offer a wide variety of fun-filled options. Even I enjoyed them (though some would say duh to that…okay, okay, most would say duh)!
For older kids, mini-golf and rock climbing walls are both stellar options. Although I tried neither due to the time, my heart yearned for one or more of those options. This park was definitely the quieter of the two options since Millennium Park is the star of the two of them. Make no mistake though; Maggie Daley is worth your time, especially if you have kids. I also found stellar distance photo opportunities of the cityscape of Chicago from this park. This is definitive fodder for Instagram or your photo sharing program of choice so don’t miss at least a short adventure into this side escape!
Fade To Black
Nighttime fell. I muttered, “Ugh,” to myself as I crossed back over that amazing bridge over Columbus Drive. Parks ‘n’ rec time was over, especially if I wanted to see some of Chicago’s Riverwalk area at night. I shot my vid final piece, centered on the aforementioned amazing concert series. (Seriously, I’d be there every Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday nights if I was in town…it was a blast!) I left the park duet desiring more. As if I had only shaved the tasty top off of a cheesecake, missing so much more rich, delicious filling. Am I right in that guess? I suppose I need to jettison myself back north to learn for sure. However, I can safely say that from my additional adventures in The Windy City, I think you’ll see that would be fully worth it.