America's Coolest City Parks
(c) City of Chicago / GRC
Grant Park, Chicago
The northwest corner, dubbed Millennium Park, made headlines when it opened in 2004 with the Frank Gehry–designed Jay Pritzker Pavilion and Anish Kapoor’s stainless-steel Cloud Gate—the shiny, reflective bean-shaped sculpture that’s become an instant city icon and popular photo-op. Compare the outdoor installations to the collections within the park’s Art Institute of Chicago, famous for Grant Wood’s American Gothic.
Coolest Time to Visit: Summer, when the lakefront park hosts two major events: Taste of Chicago, the world’s largest outdoor food festival, with treats from 70-plus local restaurants, and Lollapalooza, which celebrates its 20th anniversary in August 2011.