When Millennium Park opened on July 16, 2004, it transformed an industrial wasteland into Chicago’s showplace for cutting-edge art, architecture, landscape design, music and more. Today, the 24.5-acre park is Chicago’s second-largest tourist attraction – and the City will mark its 10th anniversary throughout the summer. The Millennium Park 10th Anniversary Summer Celebration will feature dozens of FREE events and exhibitions including new, monumental sculptures by Spanish artist Jaume Plensa, designer of Crown Fountain; indie rock, electronica, jazz, classical and world music; films, simulcasts and documentaries shown on an outdoor, 40-foot LED screen; family activities; workouts and more.
“Millennium Park is one of Chicago’s most extraordinary venues, and its popularity continues to climb among visitors and residents alike,” said Mayor Rahm Emanuel, City of Chicago. “Last summer, the Park welcomed 4.75 million people, an increase of more than 5 percent. This summer, the Park provides an amazing backdrop for hundreds of FREE cultural programs.”
“Anish Kapoor’s Cloud Gate has become a new symbol for Chicago around the world,” said Donna LaPietra, chair of the Millennium Park Foundation. “We invite Chicagoans and tourists to experience the stunning art and architecture of the Park this summer—including Cloud Gate (also known as “The Bean”), Jaume Plensa’s Crown Fountain, Frank Gehry’s Jay Pritzker Pavilion and BP Bridge, Wrigley Square, Lurie Garden and the list goes on and on.”
Live music under the stars has been a hallmark of Millennium Park since the beginning, and this summer is no exception. The Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events (DCASE) and its partners are pleased to present a diverse lineup of Chicago artists as well as musical acts from across the U.S. and the globe.
Loops and Variations, named best New Music series by Chicago Magazine, mixes contemporary classical ensembles with electronic music artists. Concerts are Thursdays, May 29–July 3 at 6:30pm. Check out an eclectic mix of music discoveries, including cutting-edge indie rock, pop bands, global sounds and rock veterans at the Downtown Sound series, Mondays, June 2–August 11 at 6:30pm (no concert July 28). Made in Chicago: World Class Jazz presents jazz greats—new and old. Concerts are Thursdays, July 24–August 28 at 6:30pm and each begins with a short set by young, aspiring musicians from Chicago-area high schools as part of the Jazz Institute of Chicago’s Jazz Links Ensembles and the Gallery 37 After School Matters Jazz Big Band. Complete lineups for Loops and Variations, Downtown Sound and Made in Chicago: World Class Jazz will be announced soon. All performances are FREE, at the Jay Pritzker Pavilion.
The 36th Annual Chicago Jazz Festival is August 28-31, a favorite Labor Day Weekend tradition. On Thursday, the festival opens at the Chicago Cultural Center before moving to the Jay Pritzker Pavilion for the Made in Chicago series finale. Friday through Sunday, enjoy performances on four stages featuring headliners Terence Blanchard, Rufus Reid, Gary Burton, Dave Holland, Tom Harrell, Cécile McLorin Salvant and the Sun Ra Arkestra. The Chicago Community Trust Young Jazz Lions Stage showcases high school and college ensembles on Saturday and Sunday on the Harris Theater’s Rooftop Terrace. The festival is produced by DCASE and programmed by the Jazz Institute of Chicago. Admission is FREE. For details, visit chicagojazzfestival.us
The 16th Annual World Music Festival Chicago rounds out the summer September 11–21 in various locations including a four-part, double-bill series at the Jay Pritzker Pavilion in Millennium Park featuring major international artists and groups performing as part of the 11-day, multi-venue festival. These concerts are Thursday–Friday, September 11–12 at 6pm and Saturday–Sunday, September 13–14 at 3pm. Artists will be announced soon. The festival is presented by DCASE and admission is FREE. For details, visit worldmusicfestivalchicago.org.
Of course, Chicago’s acclaimed outdoor classical music festival—the Grant Park Music Festival, June 11–August 16—celebrates its 80th season this year, with the Grammy® Award-nominated Grant Park Orchestra led by Artistic Director and Principal Conductor Carlos Kalmar and the award-winning Grant Park Chorus led by Chorus Director Christopher Bell, in a summer of world premieres, Festival favorites, world-renowned guest artists, a weeklong composer-in-residency and two visiting youth symphonies. Most performances are Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays at the Jay Pritzker Pavilion, presented by the Grant Park Orchestral Association in partnership with the Chicago Park District and DCASE. Start times vary. For the complete schedule, visit gpmf.org.
Millennium Park Presents, May 25–September 6 (select dates), is a series of one-night-only performances curated by DCASE to showcase symphonic music, dance, opera, Broadway hits and more—performed by some of Chicago’s best-loved cultural institutions. This summer’s lineup includes Northwestern University Symphonic Wind Ensemble on Sunday, May 25 at 6:30pm; a simulcast of the Hubbard Street Dance Chicago Summer Series performed at Harris Theater for Music and Dance on Friday, June 6 at 8pm; Chicago Youth Symphony Orchestras’ Tour to China Send-off Concert on Sunday, June 8 at 6:30pm; Rhythms of China 2014 presented by the Chinese Fine Arts Society on Sunday, August 10; the annual Broadway in Chicago Summer Concert at Millennium Park on Monday, August 18 at 6:15pm; a special Chicago Dancing Festival Simulcast from the Harris Theater on Wednesday, August 20 at 7pm; a live performance of the Chicago Dancing Festival Celebration of Dance on Saturday, August 23 at 7:30pm; the Sones de México Ensemble 20th Anniversary Concert on Wednesday, September 3 at 7pm; a Stars of Lyric Opera at Millennium Park concert presented by Lyric Opera of Chicago on Saturday, September 6 at 7:30pm; and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra: Concert for Chicago on Friday, September 19 at 6:30pm. All performances are FREE, at the Jay Pritzker Pavilion.
Free Outdoor Movies
The Chicago Millenium Park Film Series includes free movie offerings this summer of 2014 at the Jay Pritzker Pavilion in Millennium Park. The 10-week series will begin on June 24 and the films will start at 6:30 p.m. The series continues every Tuesday evening through August 26, 2014 and will highlight Ghostbusters on June 24th as well as musicals including “DreamGirls”.
The series’ films will be presented on the latest and most sophisticated outdoor screen with sound projected from the Pavilion’s state-of-the-art sound system.The screen was acquired by Millennium Park, Inc. to serve as a permanent enhancement to the Pritzker Pavilion. It measures 40 feet long and 22.5 feet high with an LED system and technology that is similar to that of a giant-screen television. The images are bright, clear and visible from the front row to the back of the lawn seating area. Both live and recorded presentations can be seen either day or night.
June 24: “Ghostbusters,” a special tribute to Chicago filmmaker Harold Ramis
July 1: “Top Gun”
July 8: “20 Feet from Stardom”
July 15: “O Brother, Where Art Thou?”
July 22: “Field of Dreams”
July 29: “This is Spinal Tap,” presented with WBEZ’s Sound Opinions
August 5: “The Birdcage”
August 12: “American Graffiti”
August 19: “Dreamgirls”
August 26: “The Wizard of Oz”
Admission is FREE.
Families are invited to join the fun all summer long with activities, including music and arts and crafts, for kids of all ages, at the Target Family Fun Festival, June 23–August 24, 10am–3pm. The daily schedule includes Wiggleworms® at 10am with the Old Town School of Folk Music, a Reading Circle at 11am and Family Performances at 1pm. Activity Zone partners change weekly and include Lurie Garden, Get Out & Grow, Barrel of Monkeys, Chicago Parent Magazine, Museum of Science and Industry, Chicago History Museum, Easel Art Studio, CircEsteem and Lookingglass Theatre. New activities this year include Movement Mondays, Mondays at 1pm, and Read All About It!, a reading and book giveaway Wednesdays at 11am. Sponsored by the Millennium Park Foundation (under the tent at Chase Promenade North). Admission is FREE.
For the fitness-minded – Millennium Park will once again offer FREESummer Workouts on the Great Lawn funded by McDonald’s, Saturdays, June 7– September 6 featuring music during yoga and pilates and drumming during Zumba®. Workouts are 45 minutes with classes in Tai Chi at 7am, Yoga at 8am, Pilates at 9am and Zumba, a Latin-inspired calorie-burning dance fitness party, beginning at 10am.
Chicago Bike Week is a celebration of cycling in the city on June 13–20, with several FREE activities at the Park presented by DCASE including Bike Chicago Film: Rushmore on Monday, June 16, 8:30pm at Jay Pritzker Pavilion; and Life Time Cycle Palooza, an outdoor spin class complete with DJ and a certified instructor on Thursday, June 19, 5:30pm at Cloud Gate. For details, visit bikechicago.us.
Millennium Park is located on Michigan Avenue, bordered by Randolph St. to the north, Columbus Dr. to the east and Monroe St. to the south. The Park is open 6am–11pm daily. Convenient parking is located in the Millennium Park Garage (entrance on Columbus at Monroe or Randolph) and Grant Park North.