Saturday, June 11, 2011

Chicago's Millennium Park

We took a quick trip to Chicago recently and had one afternoon to sightsee, so we hopped a train and headed to see Millennium Park, which includes amazing sculptures, architecture and gardens. One of our first stops was the Laurie Garden. Beautiful swaths of prairie plants were in full bloom. And the backdrop of tall buildings was an interesting contrast. It really was quite an oasis.

laurie garden

what was that purple plantpotentilla


prarie plants

similar shapes

penstemon and that star plantpenstemon

cool bench

bench and pavingnice door

The park was packed. This is definitely a great example of urban open space. People were taking advantage of just about every square inch of the place - workers on lunch breaks, school groups, tourists, you name it. The lush greenery and the buildings played off each other nicely.

garden in the jungle



nice stoops

quiet spot

pretty plantings

And I've never seen such impressive hostas before! They don't grow like that in California!

huge hostas

And the lilacs were everywhere. In our coastal California climate, we're happy with a few measly blooms on an entire lilac shrub but here they were everywhere (even parking strips) and covered in blooms!


There were also some fantastic sculptures and architecture in the park. The Cloud Gate (aka The Bean) by Anish Kapoor is soooo cool! I'd seen photos of it but seeing it in person was a real treat. It turns anyone who approaches it into a kid, no one can resist the funhouse mirror aspect. It also reflects the city buildings beautifully in its soft blobbiness, they play off each other nicely just like the trees and buildings do.

the bean

big bean

fun house bean

inside the bean

Nearby is the Crown Fountain, a tall skyscraper-like block that projects images of faces and waterfalls. The day I was there, no water was flowing magically out of the images like I'd seen in photos, but the huge column was still an interesting sight.

face1face2waterfalljust another building

The BP Bridge was awfully pretty too.



bridge sides

And presiding over the entire place, looking like some alien bug that landed in the park, is the Jay Pritzker Pavilion by Frank Gehry. I'm a fan of Gehry's chaotic buildings. I know a lot of people think they look like car accidents but I think they are beautiful and energetic.

alien landing




stage side


The seedlike sculptures of Yvonne Domenge were on display. I like the papery blue one the most.


blue one was the bestgreat bathtubs

All the security guards were zipping around on Segways. Parker thought they sure were funny looking!

parkers first encounter with a segway


  1. Wow. What a fabulous place. I love the gardens and the plants. The sculptures...maybe not so much. Looks like that little boy wants to ride the segway. How cute. :)

  2. Beautiful mementos of a beautiful day. Did you happen to see any pirates that day?

  3. My family went to Chicago last summer and we had an amazing time! I wish we could live closer and go every year!!

  4. I love your photographs! I always feel like I'm *in* the places you photograph!

  5. Grace - He had many questions for the lady. I still don't quite understand how they work myself!
    Joan - good thing the volume of the music isn't captured in the photos!
    Wicked Gardener - I wish we could have made it to the Chicago Botanic Gardens too. I'd like to go back to Chicago some time and do more exploring.
    Katie - Thanks! That is an awesome compliment!


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