Grant Park. Urban Park in Chicago, Illinois

Grant Park

Urban Park in Chicago, Illinois

Grant Park, Chicago Photo © Oscar Shen

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Grant Park

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	Park, Chicago - Grant Park
Grant Park, Chicago - Grant Park. Photo by Oscar Shen
Grant Park is a large public park in the heart of downtown Chicago. Its most famous features include Millennium Park, the Art Institute of Chicago, Buckingham Fountain, and the Museum Campus that is home to the Adler Planetarium, the Shedd Aquarium, and the Field Museum of Natural History. Other attractions include performance venues such as the Jay Pritzker Pavilion (Wikipedia Article), gardens, and pieces of public artwork such as Cloud Gate. The 319-acre park, often called “Chicago’s front yard”, is also used for large public events such as the Grant Park Music Festival, Lollapalooza, and the Taste of Chicago.


Grant Park, originally known as Lake Park, was first created in 1844. In 1901, it was renamed Grant Park in honor of President Ulysses S. Grant (Wikipedia Article). Over the years, it has expanded considerably with the creation of new park areas and attractions such as the Museum Campus. Its most recent developments have included the creation of Millennium Park and Maggie Daley Park.

A View of Millennium Park - Millennium
A View of Millennium Park. Photo by Chris Smith


You could spend days visiting all of Grant Park’s spectacular attractions without running out of new things to see and do. Here are a few of its most exciting attractions.

Millennium Park

Cloud Gate
Cloud Gate
One of the newest and most popular areas of Grant Park is Millennium Park, which was created to celebrate the new millennium. Its most famous features include the Jay Pritzker Pavilion, designed by renowned architect Frank Gehry (Wikipedia Article), the Lurie Garden, the Crown Fountain, and Cloud Gate, a stainless steel sculpture that is affectionately known as “The Bean” due to its distinctive shape.

Art Institute of Chicago

The Art Institute of Chicago is one of the most famous art museums in the world. Its extensive collections include American and European art, modern and contemporary art, architectural displays, and a renowned collection of Impressionist and Post-Impressionist art. Some of the famous artists whose work is showcased within the museum include Monet, Matisse, van Gogh, Toulouse-Lautrec, and Renoir.

Museum Campus

The Museum Campus alongside Lake Michigan is home to three of the city’s most important museums as well as Soldier Field, an American football stadium used by the Chicago Bears NFL team.

Adler Planetarium, Chicago - Adler
Adler Planetarium, Chicago. Photo by Oscar Shen

Adler Planetarium features exhibitions related to space, three theaters used for planetarium shows, and is home to a public observatory. It is also considered to provide some of the best views of the Chicago skyline due to its location.

Shedd Aquarium is an indoor aquarium that was once the largest aquarium of its kind in the world. It features 1,500 fascinating marine species including fish and mammals, and is frequently named one of the most popular attractions in the city.

The Field Museum of Natural History is one of the largest natural history museums in the entire world, and is known both for its wonderful exhibits and its focus on research and education. Many of its exhibits were originally created for the World’s Columbian Exposition (Wikipedia Article), a world’s fair held in Chicago in 1893. Its most famous display is undoubtedly Sue, the most complete Tyrannosaurus rex fossil ever to be found, which is 67 million years old and was discovered in 1990 in South Dakota.

Petrillo Music Shell

The Petrillo Music Shell is an outdoor amphitheatre that is frequently used to host music festivals and events such as the Chicago Blues Festival, the Taste of Chicago, Lollapalooza, and the Chicago Jazz Festival.

Maggie Daley Park

This area formerly known as Daley Bicentennial Plaza has recently been redesigned as Maggie Daley Park, which features an ice skating ribbon, a playground, a cafe, and rock climbing walls.

Buckingham Fountain

Buckingham Fountain -
	Grant Park
Buckingham Fountain - Grant Park. Photo by Carol Smith
One of the largest fountains in the world, the Buckingham Fountain features water and light shows between April and October. Its design was inspired by the beautiful Latona Fountain at the Palace of Versailles.

Chicago Lakefront Trail

This 18-mile path is a popular place to run, walk, or cycle along Lake Michigan, eventually connecting to Lincoln Park and Burnham Park.

Recreational Facilities

Grant Park also has an extensive network of walking paths, and provides facilities for numerous other sports and recreational activities, such as softball, baseball, tennis, yoga, aerobics, and ice skating. In addition, the park has two marinas for visitors who are interested in boating on Lake Michigan.


If you love gardens, you’re in luck, since Grant Park is home to numerous gardens that you can explore, which feature a variety of plants and flowers.

Practical Information

Since Grant Park encompasses a large section of downtown Chicago, it is very easy to access on foot, by bike, or using public transportation such as CTA buses, Metra commuter trains, or ‘L’ trains.

Address: 337 E Randolph St, Chicago, IL 60601
Hours: The park is open daily from 6:00 until 23:00.

Nearby Attractions

In addition to the many attractions contained within the park itself, Grant Park is located near other Chicago landmarks such as the Willis Tower and the John Hancock Center, Lincoln Park, and the free Lincoln Park Zoo.

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Author: ehuttner. Last updated: Apr 21, 2015

Pictures of Grant Park

Grant & Millennium Parks, Chicago - Grant Park
Grant & Millennium Parks, Chicago - Grant Park. Photo by Mike Lavoie


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