Fodor’s Expert Review
"The Bean," the fun fountains, the Disney-esque music pavilion—all the pieces of this park quickly stole the hearts of Chicagoans and visitors alike when it opened 2004. The showstopper is Frank Gehry's stunning Jay Pritzker Pavilion. Dramatic ribbons of stainless steel stretching 40 feet into the sky look like petals wrapping the music stage. The sound system, suspended by a trellis that spans the great lawn, provides concert-hall sound outside. Notable events presented here include the Grant Park Music Festival (a classical-music series with free concerts every Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday from mid-June to late August), June's jam-packed Chicago Blues Festival, and the Chicago Jazz Festival on Labor Day Weekend. The 1,525-seat Harris Theater for Music and Dance provides an indoor alternative for fans of the performing arts.
Visitors who appreciate public art will be equally impressed by supersize works like the curvaceous Cloud Gate located between Washington and Madison streets. Affectionately dubbed "the Bean," the 110-ton, polished-steel sculpture by noted British artist Anish Kapoor was unveiled in 2006, and its gleaming reflective surface provides a fun-house-mirror view of Chicago's storied skyline. After taking the obligatory selfie beneath it, you can head to the Crown Fountain in the park's southwest corner and have a local spit at you. Okay, it's just a giant image of a Chicagoan's face—actually, dozens of Chicagoans' faces rotating through on two 50-foot-high glass block–tower fountains. The genius behind the Crown Fountain, Spanish sculptor Jaume Plensa, lined up the mouths on the digital photos with an opening in the fountain. When a face purses its lips, water shoots out its "mouth." Kids love it, and adults feel like kids watching it.
More conventional park perks include the lovely Lurie Garden (a four-season delight) and the seasonal McCormick Tribune Ice Rink, which opens for public skating each winter.READ LESS