Millennium Park Chicago, Lurie Garden

This week I was in downtown Chicago for business, and had some time one evening to walk over to Millennium Park. I have wanted to see this park since it was opened in 2004, and even though I get up to Chicago a couple of times every year to visit relative, it never happened.

The weather was perfect, the walk from the hotel was at most 20 minutes long, and I got to spend an hour or so just soaking in all of the wonderful parts of this place: the plants, the structures, the art.


The first thing I saw was the Jay Pritzker Pavilion, an outdoor concert space like no other I've seen:

Reminding myself that there was much more to see of this 24-acre park, I dragged myself away from this compelling structure and moved on. The walkways of this park create a sense of discovery; as you move around a corner, or climb a ramp or set of stairs you're not certain what you're going to see. There are interesting plantings throughout the park:

The garden designers have a great sense of what works well together, mixing colors and textures so everything looked great. Some of the color choices weren't my favorites, but they always made strong combinations:

One of my main goals of this visit was to see the Lurie Garden, so that's where I headed next.

You can't see this garden from most of the rest of the park, as it's "walled" in by a tall hedge evergreen hedge, which helps to make the garden more special when you enter it. Wonderful stone walkways are the first thing I noticed:

Well, maybe the second thing. It's as if I walked into a field or glade, with an expanse of grasses and native flowers and plants spreading before me:

(click for large view)
Although many of the plants were fading as autumn approaches, I really enjoy early autumn in the garden -- the mixtures of browns, greens, yellows and other spots of color really does it for me. Combine it with the views of the amazing Chicago architecture, and you've got a magical spot indeed.

There are many plants here that recognized or have in my own garden, but many unknowns as well. I walked around the garden several times, and kept seeing new things. I'd love a "meadow" like this some day.

When I finally pulled myself away from the garden I found the BP Bridge:

This is a marvel -- such a beautiful blending of wood and stainless steel curves.

Even the pattern of screws used to fasten the decking boards was beautiful:

Is it a bridge? Is it sculpture?

Speaking of sculpture, there is plenty of it here. The Cloud Gate is amazing, and photos just don't do it justice:

It's flawless mirrored surface reflects the weather, the skyline, and the people who walk up to and under it -- which you must do. The underside gives a hall of mirrors effect, but more organic. It's a bit dizzying, but beautiful.

I would love to have a mirrored blob of metal in my yard, but I don't think it's going to happen. I am going to be copying this simple but awesome bench design in my garden though:

I also wouldn't mind having something like this in my yard:

I'd probably not want these towering glass-brick projection waterfalls in my yard though, although they're compelling in this public park setting:

The towers project images of 1000 different Chicagoans.

As dusk approached and my stomach reminded me that dinner was next on the agenda, I dragged myself away from the park, back into the city and to the hotel.

Although I waited years to see it, it was definitely worth the wait, and I'll be doing all I can to visit the park again next year.

(click for large version)

Chicago's Millennium Park: a must-see part of an amazing downtown area.


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khaki  – (September 23, 2011 at 8:47 AM)  

Great post!! I love Chicago- we typically go twice a year but did not go even once this year. I really enjoyed your photos. I love the park as well- we make that a stop each and every trip. It is always changing and never a disappointment.

Jennifer  – (September 23, 2011 at 10:01 PM)  

Beautiful! I love discovering parks like this in the middle of cities. Now I want to go see Millennium Park!

Gerhard Bock (Succulents and More)  – (September 24, 2011 at 10:45 AM)  

What a phenomenal place! I love the architecture. I guess it's time for a visit to Chicago. Aside from the occasional connecting flight at O'Hare, I haven't to Chicago since 1985 :-).

Lisa  – (September 24, 2011 at 10:10 PM)  

My city! Well, kind of... We're a bit outside Chicago (40 miles!) but we still consider it ours. If you ever get a chance, you should visit the Chicago Botanic Gardens. Another gem! We go five or six times a year just to see the gardens at different times in the growing season.

Chandigarh Flowers  – (September 29, 2011 at 1:25 AM)  

All the photos look great. I really enjoyed your photos.Thanks for this post

Chandigarh Florist  – (June 10, 2013 at 12:12 AM)  

Thanks For Share a Lovely pic with us . I really Enjoy your images. I really like the recreation area as well- we create that a quit each and every journey.

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