Photo Locale of the Month – June 2015

So far in this monthly series, I’ve taken us once to Asia, once to Europe, and three times to Latin America.  The most recent entry transported Loyal Readers to roaring Iguassu Falls, at the “Triple Frontier” of Argentina, Brazil, and Paraguay.

But it’s officially summer as I write this entry, and I thought I would take us to a site near my hometown that looks great during the summer months, a site that, despite its name, celebrates its 11th anniversary: Millennium Park, Chicago.

Millennium Park 6 - Cloud Gate

Millennium Park has won several urban design awards for its transformation from a massive parking lot on the edge of rail grounds near Grant Park to the conversation piece that it is today.  Most visitors to the park head for Cloud Gate, an already-iconic, mirrored steel sculpture by British artist Anish Kapoor.  For obvious reasons, it is more affectionately referred to by almost everyone as “The Bean.”

Millennium Park 8 - Cloud Gate

“The Bean” can reflect the city’s landmark buildings, as in the top photo, or it can offset/complement them, as seen in the shot just above this paragraph.  People who have visited Chicago but don’t recognize the tall sun-drenched building on the upper right should know that you’re looking at Trump Tower.  Yes, *that* Trump.

Millennium Park 1 - Jay Pritzker Pavilion

This striking construction appears unfinished to the unfamiliar eye.  Rather, it is the Jay Pritzker Pavilion, located a stone’s throw from Cloud Gate.  Designed by Frank Gehry, the pavilion covers a grassy lawn that plays host to countless summer concerts and open-air movie nights.

Millennium Park 3 - Crown Fountain

The cascading jets of Crown Fountain, photographed above, highlight a popular spot for kids of all ages to cool off during a hot summer day.  When the 50-foot LED woman on the monitor opens her mouth (she was recorded and her smiling visage – and that of others – runs for roughly 60 seconds), she will “spit” a fountain of water onto anyone standing below.

Millennium Park 12 - Nichols Bridgeway

Roughly speaking, Millennium Park runs from Michigan Avenue in the west to Columbus Drive in the east, and from Randolph Street in the north to Monroe Street in the south.  This picture, taken on a cloudless summer twilight in 2011, was taken from the Nichols Bridgeway, looking north towards Trump Tower and the Aon Center – the second and third-tallest buildings in the city.  The pedestrian bridge connects Millennium Park with the Art Institute of Chicago.

Millennium Park 14 - Lurie Garden

Lurie Garden is located beneath the Nichols Bridgeway.  Although this green space seems relatively small when seen on a map, it actually encompasses five acres and features a variety of native and imported plants and blooms, as well as a serene, man-made stream.  Shutterbugs report that the garden’s tulip bulbs are quite the spectacle in early May.

Millenium Park 5

The Michigan Avenue-facing block of Millennium Park between Washington and Madison Streets features one of the city’s most beloved cold-weather attractions: The McCormick Tribune Plaza Ice Rink.  Ice skating is free and the rink was the first feature of Millennium Park to open and remains its most popular.

Millenium Park 13

“The Bean” is a striking feature of Millennium Park even in winter.  Below the sculpture is the Park Grill, which sells hot cocoa to skaters in the winter and features a full menu during warmer months.

Millennium Park 5

Fancy a visit to Millennium Park?  Visit the park’s website for more information.

All pictures were taken with a Nikon DSLR camera.  All images are the property of GringoPotpourri unless credited otherwise, and should be used with permission only.

Author: gringopotpourri

Gringo - aka Scott - was born outside of Chicago and has lived most of his life in or around big cities. He spent two years of his adult life in Mexico City (talk about big cities!) and fell in love with Mexican food, history, and women, all while weathering the culture shock. Life's journey has since brought him to rural Tennessee, perhaps the biggest culture shock of them all. Scott also enjoys movies, hiking, and travel in general.

4 thoughts on “Photo Locale of the Month – June 2015”

  1. Downtown Chicago is a beautiful place. Thanks for the description and photos of Millennium Park. “The Bean” and the Crown Fountain are great fun. I must admit, however, that I’ve never been a fan of the buildings of Frank Gehry. We have a building designed by him here in Cleveland on the campus of Case-Western Reserve University. It was a major problem in the winter because snow and ice would slide off the metal roof and hit passersby below!

    1. Thanks for commenting. I just Googled the Lewis Building at Case-Western Reserve. It looks cool from some angles and overdone from others. This is interesting, because (IMHO) Gehry usually has more balance in his architecture. I *love* the Walt Disney Concert Hall in downtown LA, to name just one example.

      I’m glad you like Chicago, William; I’d wager that it has the best skyline in the world!

    2. Frank Gehry is one of those architects that’s a hit or miss. I’m with you…a lot of his buildings are butt-ugly. But I absolutely love his pavilion at Chicago’s Millennium Park. That really is a masterpiece of design.

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