Millennium Park

 Millennium Parkwebsite

Location: 201 E. Randolph Street, between Michigan Avenue and Columbus, Chicago

Admission: Free

Parking: The Millennium Garage has entrances on South Columbus between Monroe & Randolph. 

$14 – Early Bird: Monday – Friday (In between 5 – 10 a.m. Out by 7 p.m.)
$19 – 0 – 3 hours
$21 – 3 to 8 hours
$23 – 8 to 12 hours
$24 – 12 to 24 hours
$25 – Special Event Rate

Bathrooms: The closest bathrooms are at the Pritzker Pavilion and it’s a bit of a hike (not so great for the newly potty trained). The bathrooms are very large with lots of stalls and sinks. I saw only one changing table and it was inside a stall. The sinks and soap dispensers are at two different levels (for adults and children) and the hand dryers are low enough for kids to reach, but they’re the really loud ones so they might be a bit scary.
Nursing: There is no designated nursing area. I did see a few women breastfeeding their children so you won’t stand out.

Handicapped/stroller accessibility: There are ramps throughout the park

Food/eating area: Millennium Park has the Park Grill (a seated restaurant) and concession carts, as well as restaurants and stores nearby. You can also bring your own food. There are individual tables and a 100′ long picnic table just outside the tent near Cloud Gate, and plenty of space for picnics in the grass.


Boeing Galleries – areas for modern and contemporary art on the north & south sides of the park

BP Bridge – 925-foot winding bridge with stainless steel panels

Chase Promenade – three block long walkway in the center of Millennium Park

Cloud Gate – aka “the bean” – an elliptical sculpture of stainless steel

Crown Fountain – a shallow reflecting pool between two 50-foot towers which display faces of Chicagoans.

Harris Theatre for Music and Dance – non-profit theatre which operates September through May

Lurie Garden  – Five acre garden

McCormick Tribune Ice Rink & Plaza – Outdoor dining in the summer, ice skating in the winter. The ice rink is open mid-November to mid-March and admission is free. Skates are available to rent for $10.

McDonald’s Cycle Center – secure bike parking, bike rentals, bike tours, bike repairs, and lockers and showers (for members only) to encourage biking

Nichols Bridgeway – a 625-foot pedestrian bridge linking Millennium Park and the Modern Wing of the Art Institute of Chicago

Pritzker Pavilion – outdoor music pavilion with fixed seats and lawn area. Information about music in Millennium Park is available online.

Wrigley Square and Millennium Monument – Peristyle monument and open space with paths and grass. 

We paid: $25 for parking.

Our experience:
I love Millennium Park. If it wasn’t for the parking cost (& my fear of taking both boys on public transportation alone) we’d go a lot more often. On this particular occasion we went for the Family Fun Festival that runs throughout most of the summer (it’s over now), but then we picnicked and played by “the jelly bean” (as Cooper’s calls it), the fountain, and the Nichols Bridgeway.

There so much room for picnicking; even when the park is pretty busy we’ve never had any trouble finding a good spot in the grass to spread out. The Pritzker Pavilion has a huge field of grass if every other spot is full. 
We didn’t walk around in the Lurie Garden this time just because we were too busy with other things, but it is beautiful.

We spent a good amount of time playing at the fountain. It’s usually pretty crowded on nice days so I make sure I stay pretty close the the kids so I can keep an eye on them. There’s no bathroom or changing room near the fountain, so I usually just change the boys somewhere in the grass. As you can see by the pictures, this time I just had the boys wear their swimsuits throughout our visit; it was warm enough for them to wear their wet suits and I changed them when we got back to the car. 

Just before leaving we took a walk up the Nichols Bridgeway. I found it completely awful (I’m terrified of heights and bridges, but I don’t want to make my kids afraid), but I have to admit that the view was pretty great.


Have you visited Millennium Park? What is your favorite activity there? Do you have any great activities or places of interest nearby to recommend?


  1. This is one of our very favorite destinations in Chicago. The kids love the “bean” from laying under it to doing handstands. We can spend hours there and it is all completely free. Some of our other favorite destinations are Pizzeria Due, Bongo Room, and the Lego Store on Michigan Ave.

  2. Millennium Park is a great spot. We live in the neighborhood, so I don't have to worry about the expensive parking. My kids are particularly fond of the fountains.

    Free yoga, pilates and zumba are offered outside on Saturday mornings – such a great way to start the weekend!

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