How about having one of the most beloved parks in America as your front yard?
As Millennium Park has become one of the most popular residential areas in Chicago, plenty of folks count themselves in. On top of unrivaled views of the Park and Lake Michigan, Millennium Park residents enjoy top amenities, an exciting location, and some of the City’s top shopping and dining. While you can walk to your office, the area is also flush with public transportation, making it the perfect base to explore all Chicago has to offer. That is if you ever feel like leaving the heart of the action!
Millennium Park Neighborhood Guide
In the heart of the Loop, Millennium Park residents enjoy one of the most attraction rich area in the country. Needless to say, you’ll never lack for something to do!
The area is a food haven. Michelin-starred establishments mix with family restaurants and classic Chicago dives. Being Chicago’s business epicenter, the Loop is home to some great lunch spots. Its specialty is the food hall, where everyone in your party can go to a different restaurant. Some classics include Revival Food Hall and the Wells St. Market.
In nicer weather, the neighborhood is also home to many food trucks serving a staggering variety of eats. Date Night? The area has you covered. Everest is the pinnacle of high-end French dining in Chicago and Russian Tea Time is a favorite of theater and symphony goers. That’s only scratching the surface. Great Cuban, Sushi, Middle-Eastern, and Chicago pizza options abound. For residents, the area also has several grocery stores, convenience stores, and pharmacies.
Culture and Entertainment
When the workday ends, the area is just getting going. As Chicago’s theater district, the Loop hosts over a dozen theaters, with offerings ranging from small experimental companies to Broadway musicals. A cultural hub, the area also contains the Lyric Opera of Chicago, the Joffrey Ballet, and the renowned Chicago Symphony Orchestra. Throughout the year, the area is a festival hotspot, with Chicago classics like Lollapalooza, The Taste of Chicago, and the Air and Water Show.
The area around Millennium Park is known for its great shopping. While the “Magnificent Mile” is only a few blocks away, you won’t need to stray that far. State Street is lined with shops, including chains like Macy’s, Old Navy, Nordstrom Rack, and Target. Local shops are also available, including Akira, Reckless Records, and Florodora Shoes.
While Millennium Park is right in front, that’s not the only recreational attraction in the area. Right beyond the park, the Lakefront trail begins, leading through Navy Pier to some of Chicago’s nicest beaches. Keep going and one will get to Lincoln Park, Chicago’s largest lakeside park. Just to the west, one can walk along the Chicago River and admire some of Chicago’s lovely architecture and wealth of outdoor sculpture, including pieces by Pablo Picasso, Joan Miró, and Alexander Calder.
Millennium Park History
Early History (1900-1997)
While Millennium Park today seems synonymous with Chicago, it’s only been part of the landscape since 2004. For over 150 years, lakefront land was wasted on a tangle of railroad tracks owned by the Illinois Central Railroad. The tracks were a thorn in the side of Daniel Burnham’s 1909 Plan of Chicago, which intended for all land along the lake in Chicago to be public parks.
From Tracks to Grand Opening (1997-2004)
After the railroad eyesore had sat mostly unused for several decades, the airspace rights finally fell into the possession of the city in 1997. In honor of two centuries of Chicago, the project was named Millennium Park. With significant private funding (including more than 80 donations of over a million dollars), the project was able to attract world-famous architects and artists, including Sydney Opera House architect Frank Gehry, who designed the Jay Pritzker Pavilion. Fun Fact: the park was built over a massive parking garage and a Metra station, making it the world’s largest rooftop garden!
Millennium Park opened to the public on July 24th, 2004, with 300,000 people attending the three-day opening ceremony.
Millennium Park Today
The park has clearly been a success, even becoming the number one tourist attraction in the Midwest. Since opening, the park’s zip code saw some of the fastest appreciation in the country, with the area surrounding the park becoming one of the most fashionable residential addresses in Chicago.
The park has become one of Chicago’s crown jewels, attracting residents and tourists alike. The pavilion host a “Movies in the Park” series, classical and jazz music festivals, and other performances. Great park features include the Jay Pritzker Pavilion, Cloud Gate (known by locals as The Bean), the lovely Lurie Garden, and the Crown Fountain (featuring faces of Chicagoans). The park is perfect to show off to out-of-town relatives, to see a free concert or festival, or simply take a walk on a nice summer day.
Millennium Park Homes
Given the location, housing in this area is almost entirely in high-rise buildings. That said, there is some serious variety in housing options, including chic urban condos and high-rise penthouses. It’s not cheap; residents pay for their practically non-existent commute. Buildings range from architecturally important historical buildings to ultra-modern new construction. Living in the heart of Chicago, residents enjoy top shopping and dining, easy commutes, and the best attractions in the city. Come take a look!