Grant Park

  • 337 E. Randolph St.   Chicago, Illinois 60601 [View Map]
  • Park Hours:
  • Park Supervisor: Jackie Guthrie (Daley Bicentennial Park)
  • Park Phone: (312) 742-3918

Proudly referred to as Chicago's "front yard," Grant Parkis a public park, 319 acres located in Chicago’s central business district in the Loop Community area.  Grant Park’s most notable features include Millennium Park, Buckingham Fountain, the Art Institute of Chicago and the Museum Campus. Named for United States President and Civil War General, Ulysses S. Grant, Grant Park was developed as one of Chicago's first parks and expanded through land reclamation. The park was the focus of several disputes in the late 1800s and early 1900s over open space use. It is bordered on the north by Randolph Street, on the south by Roosevelt Road, on the west by Michigan Avenue and on the east by Lake Michigan. The park contains performance venues, gardens, art work, sporting, and harbor facilities. It hosts public gatherings, and several large annual events.

A city centerpiece much like New York’s Central Park, the site of three world-class museums -- the Art Institute, the Field Museum of Natural History, and the Shedd Aquarium and the Adler Planetarium-- the park includes the museum campus, a 1995 transformation of paved areas into beautiful contiguous greenspace. Grant Park's centerpiece is the Clarence Buckingham Memorial Fountain, built in 1927 to provide a monumental focal point while protecting the park's breathtaking lakefront views. The park also contains baseball diamonds, tennis courts and plays host some the city's largest food and music festivals.

The park has been the site of many large civic events. In 1911, it hosted the major Chicago International Aviation Meet.  It was the scene of clashes between Chicago Police and demonstrators during the 1968 Democratic National Convention. Pope John Paul II celebrated an outdoor mass to a large crowd here in 1979. Championship celebrations for the Chicago Bulls were staged here during the 1990s. The park was the location for President Barack Obama's Election Day victory speech on the night of November 4, 2008.

Annually, the park hosts some of Chicago's biggest festivals and spectator events including The Taste of Chicago—a large food and music festival held around the Independence Day holiday; The Grant Park Music Festival;  and the park is also the site of the start and finish lines of the Chicago Marathon. Since 2005, Lollapalooza, a popular series of rock concerts has taken place in the park.

Grant Park offers many different attractions in its large open space. The park is generally flat. It is also crossed by large boulevards and even a bed of sunken railroad tracks. While bridges are used to span the tracks, and also used to connect with Millennium Park, the rest of the park must be reached by pedestrians at traffic crossings, except for a spacious underpass connection to the Museum Campus. There are also several parking garages underneath the park, near Michigan Avenue.

Features and layout of Grant Park

Millennium Park
The northwestern corner of the park was renovated between 1998 and 2004 to become Millennium Park, a contiguous area with a variety of artistic features by architects and artists. Millennium Park has free admission, and features the Jay Pritzker Pavilion, Cloud Gate, the Crown Fountain, the Lurie Garden and other attractions. The park is connected by the BP Pedestrian Bridge and the Nichols Bridgeway to other parts of Grant Park.

Daley Bicentennial Plaza
Across the BP Pedestrian Bridge from Millennium Park, the northeast corner of Grant Park hosts outdoor activities at Daley Bicentennial Plaza. Attractions here include a garden, a winter ice skating rink, tennis courts, chess tables, and a fieldhouse, complete with a fitness center.  The far north end of Grant Park the site of the Richard J. Daley Bicentennial Plaza is set to be completely restructured beginning in 2012.  The new park design will replace the concrete-heavy design with a more pastoral park featuring winding paths connecting wide lawns and hills with active areas. Among the new park’s features will be a skate park and scooter plaza, an undulating ribbon-like ice skating loop with a climbing wall at its center, and a large “play garden” for children.  The goal, is to open the new park in summer 2015.

Art Institute of Chicago
Built in 1893, on the western edge of Grant Park is the Art Institute of Chicago, one of the premier art museums and art schools in the United States, known especially for the extensive collection of Impressionist and American art, such as A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte, and Grant Wood's American Gothic.

Buckingham Fountain
The center piece of Grant Park is Buckingham Fountain, one of the world's largest fountains. The fountain, in a rococo wedding cake style, was dedicated in 1927 as a gift to the city from Kate Sturges Buckingham in memory of her brother Clarence. The fountain operates from April to October with water displays every 20 minutes and a light and water display from 9:00pm to 10:00pm.

Museum Campus
Chicago's Museum Campus is a 57 acre addition to Grant Park's southeastern end. The Museum Campus is the site of three of the city's most notable museums, all dedicated to the natural sciences: Adler Planetarium, Field Museum of Natural History, and Shedd Aquarium. A narrow isthmus along Solidarity Drive dominated by Neoclassical sculptures of Kosciuszko, Havlicek and Copernicus connects to Northerly Island where the planetarium is located to the rest of the Museum Campus situated on the mainland.

Petrillo Music Shell
The Petrillo Music Shell hosts music performances during the Chicago Jazz Festival, Taste of Chicago and Lollapalooza. Located at 235 S. Columbus Drive, the music shell's area encompasses the entire block bounded by Lake Shore Drive to the east, Columbus Drive to the west, East Monroe Street to the north and East Jackson Street to the South. The structure was relocated to this site in 1978 from the south end of the park. The amphitheater and paved surface for public seating is in the southwest corner.

Congress Plaza
Located in the center, on the west side of the park, is Congress Plaza. The two semicircular plazas, created by East Congress Plaza Drive, and bisected by East Congress Parkway, contain gardens, fountains, and artwork, including the large bronze warrior statues, The Bowman and the Spearman that are positioned like gatekeepers to the park.

Hutchinson Field
Much of the southern end of Grant Park is given over to Hutchinson Field, an open space for large events, with a dozen baseball or softball diamonds. Chicago Lakefront Trail The Chicago Lakefront Trail is an 18-mile multi-use path along the coast of Lake Michigan. It is popular with cyclists and joggers. From north to south, it runs through Lincoln Park, Grant Park, Burnham Park and Jackson Park.

Marinas and Harbors
There are two pleasure and leisure boat marinas on Lake Michigan, which are accessed from Grant Park. Monroe Harbor provides 1000 mooring cans, tender service, and facilities in the expansive harbor east of the park. It is the home of the Chicago Yacht Club and the Columbia Yacht Club. DuSable Harbor (formerly, Chicago Harbor) northeast of the park, offers 420 boat docks and a harbor store. Both Harbors may be accessed off Lake Shore Drive near Monroe Street.

While there is no structured programming taking place at this location, we invite you to check out our great programs offered at nearby Daley Bicentennial Plaza.

History

Grant Park's beginnings date to 1835, when foresighted citizens, fearing commercial lakefront development, lobbied to protect the open space. As a result, the park's original area east of Michigan Avenue was designated "public ground forever to remain vacant of buildings." Officially named Lake Park in 1847, the site soon suffered from lakefront erosion. The Illinois Central Railroad agreed to build a breakwater to protect the area in exchange for permission for an offshore train trestle. After the Great Fire of 1871, the area between the shore and trestle became a dump site for piles of charred rubble, the first of many landfill additions.

In 1901, the city transferred the park to the South Park Commission, which named it for Ulysses S. Grant (1822-1885), 18th President of the United States. Renowned architect Daniel H. Burnham envisioned Grant Park as a formal landscape with museums and civic buildings. However, construction was stalled by lawsuits launched by mail-order magnate Aaron Montgomery Ward, who sought to protect the park's open character. Finally, in 1911, the Illinois Supreme Court ruled in Ward's favor. New landfill at the park's southern border allowed construction of the Field Museum to begin, and the park evolved slowly. In 1934, the South Park Commission was consolidated into the Chicago Park District, which completed improvements using federal relief funds.

At the turn of the 21st century, the north end of Grant Park is undergoing a multi-million-dollar facelift, as old railbeds are transformed into Millennium Park, a major landscape and festival site."

Parking/Directions

For directions using public transportation visit www.transitchicago.com.

Grant Park - Chicago Trolley & Double Decker Co.

Grant Park - Chicago Trolley & Double Decker Co.

Location: 1400 S. Lake Shore Drive

Location Notes: on the Museum Campus, near the Shedd Aquarium

Hours:

Phone: (773)648-5000

Notes:

 www.coachusa.com

Grant Park - Clark St. Sports

Grant Park - Clark St. Sports

Location: 1400 S. Lake Shore Drive

Location Notes: on the Museum Campus, near the Shedd Aquarium

Hours:

Phone: (773)456-2605

Notes:

www.clarkstreetsports.com

Grant Park - Frutallia Italian Ice

Grant Park - Frutallia Italian Ice

Location: Michigan & Jackson

Location Notes: at Solti Gardens

Hours:

Phone: (312)519-1280

Grant Park - Juicy Jays

Grant Park - Juicy Jays

Location: Monroe & LSD

Location Notes: at Monroe Harbor

Hours: , ,

Phone: (773)787-9475

Grant Park - Kilwin's Chocolate

Grant Park - Kilwin's Chocolate

Location: E. Congress Pkwy & LSD

Location Notes: at Queen's Landing

Hours:

Phone: (773)456-5442

Notes:

www.kilwins.com

Grant Park - Kim & Carlo's Chicago Style Hot Dog

Grant Park - Kim & Carlo's Chicago Style Hot Dog

Location: 1400 S. Lake Shore Drive

Location Notes: on the north side of the Field Museum

Hours:

Phone: (312)969-0462

Grant Park - Kim & Carlo's Chicago Style Hot Dog

Grant Park - Kim & Carlo's Chicago Style Hot Dog

Location: 1400 S. Lake Shore Drive

Location Notes: on the south side of the Field Museum

Hours:

Phone: (312)969-0462

Grant Park - Ms. B's Italian Ice

Grant Park - Ms. B's Italian Ice

Location: Monroe & Columbus Drive

Hours:

Phone: (708)560-1225

Grant Park - Ms. B's Italian Ice

Grant Park - Ms. B's Italian Ice

Location Notes: on the Museum Campus, near the Shedd Aquarium

Hours:

Phone: (708)560-7225

Grant Park - Prairie Café

Grant Park - Prairie Café

Location: 1400 S. Lake Shore Drive

Location Notes: on the Museum Campus, near the Shedd Aquarium

Hours:

Phone: (312)375-3475

Grant Park - Stefani's

Grant Park - Stefani's

Location: 1400 S. Lake Shore Drive

Location Notes: on the Museum Campus, near the Shedd Aquarium

Hours: ,

Phone: (312)846-9698

Grant Park - SummerDance

Grant Park - SummerDance

Location: 601 S. Michigan Ave.

Location Notes: at Michigan Ave. & Harrison St.

Hours:

Phone: (773)667-3000

Notes:

www.northpondrestaurant.com

Grant Park - T & M Foods Inc.

Grant Park - T & M Foods Inc.

Location: 1400 S. Lake Shore Drive

Location Notes: on the Museum Campus, near the Shedd Aquarium

Hours:

Phone: (773)807-6448

Grant Park - Wanderbikes

Grant Park - Wanderbikes

Location: E. Congress Pkwy & LSD

Location Notes: at Queens Landing

Hours:

Phone: (312)659-3045

Notes:

www.wanderbikes.com

Grant Dog Friendly Area

Grant Dog Friendly Area

Location Notes: 951 S. Columbus Drive

Notes: .36 acres, located north and west of 9th St. Service yard south of Balbo. Doggie drinking fountain.

Buckingham Fountain Flower Gardens

Buckingham Fountain Flower Gardens

Location Notes: Lake Shore Dr. & Buckingham Fountain (500 S. Lake Shore Dr.)

Notes: Buckingham Fountain Flower Gardens

Descriptors: Ornamental

Cancer Survivor's Garden

Cancer Survivor's Garden

Location Notes: Upper Randolph St. just east of Daley Bicentennial Pkwy., between Columbus Dr. & Michigan Ave.

Notes: Cancer Survivor's Garden

Descriptors: Ornamental

Congress Median Garden

Congress Median Garden

Location Notes: Center Median off of Congress Pkwy., between Columbus Dr. & Michigan Ave.

Notes: Congress Median Garden

Descriptors: Ornamental

Congress Plaza Gardens

Congress Plaza Gardens

Location Notes: Michigan Ave. & Congress Pkwy.

Notes: Congress Plaza Gardens

Descriptors: Ornamental

Congress Triangle Garden

Congress Triangle Garden

Location Notes: Center triangle on Congress Pkwy. & Michigan Ave.

Notes: Congress Triangle Garden

Descriptors: Ornamental

Formal Gardens

Formal Gardens

Location Notes: Corner of Balbo Ave. & Michigan Ave. (across from the Hilton Towers Hotel)

Notes: Formal Gardens

Descriptors: Ornamental

North President's Court

North President's Court

Location Notes: Columbus Dr. & Congress Pkwy. (just north of Congress Pkwy.)

Notes: North President's Court (Potager Garden run by Growing Power)

Descriptors: Edible

South President's Court

South President's Court

Location Notes: Columbus Dr. & Congress Pkwy. (just south of Congress Pkwy.)

Notes: South President's Court

Descriptors: Ornamental

Spirit of Music Gardens

Spirit of Music Gardens

Location Notes: Corner of Balbo Ave. & Michigan Ave. (just north of Balbo Ave.)

Notes: Spirit of Music Gardens

Descriptors: Ornamental

Tiffany & Co. Foundation Celebration Garden

Tiffany & Co. Foundation Celebration Garden

Location Notes: South of Buckingham Fountain, East of Columbus Dr. and west of Lake Shore Drive.

Notes: Tiffany & Co. Foundation Celebration Garden

Descriptors: Ornamental

Grant Skate Park

Grant Skate Park

Location Notes: 9th Street and Columbus Dr.

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Description

Proudly referred to as Chicago's "front yard," Grant Parkis a public park, 319 acres located in Chicago’s central business district in the Loop Community area.  Grant Park’s most notable features include Millennium Park, Buckingham Fountain, the Art Institute of Chicago and the Museum Campus. Named for United States President and Civil War General, Ulysses S. Grant, Grant Park was developed as one of Chicago's first parks and expanded through land reclamation. The park was the focus of several disputes in the late 1800s and early 1900s over open space use. It is bordered on the north by Randolph Street, on the south by Roosevelt Road, on the west by Michigan Avenue and on the east by Lake Michigan. The park contains performance venues, gardens, art work, sporting, and harbor facilities. It hosts public gatherings, and several large annual events.

A city centerpiece much like New York’s Central Park, the site of three world-class museums -- the Art Institute, the Field Museum of Natural History, and the Shedd Aquarium and the Adler Planetarium-- the park includes the museum campus, a 1995 transformation of paved areas into beautiful contiguous greenspace. Grant Park's centerpiece is the Clarence Buckingham Memorial Fountain, built in 1927 to provide a monumental focal point while protecting the park's breathtaking lakefront views. The park also contains baseball diamonds, tennis courts and plays host some the city's largest food and music festivals.

The park has been the site of many large civic events. In 1911, it hosted the major Chicago International Aviation Meet.  It was the scene of clashes between Chicago Police and demonstrators during the 1968 Democratic National Convention. Pope John Paul II celebrated an outdoor mass to a large crowd here in 1979. Championship celebrations for the Chicago Bulls were staged here during the 1990s. The park was the location for President Barack Obama's Election Day victory speech on the night of November 4, 2008.

Annually, the park hosts some of Chicago's biggest festivals and spectator events including The Taste of Chicago—a large food and music festival held around the Independence Day holiday; The Grant Park Music Festival;  and the park is also the site of the start and finish lines of the Chicago Marathon. Since 2005, Lollapalooza, a popular series of rock concerts has taken place in the park.

Grant Park offers many different attractions in its large open space. The park is generally flat. It is also crossed by large boulevards and even a bed of sunken railroad tracks. While bridges are used to span the tracks, and also used to connect with Millennium Park, the rest of the park must be reached by pedestrians at traffic crossings, except for a spacious underpass connection to the Museum Campus. There are also several parking garages underneath the park, near Michigan Avenue.

Features and layout of Grant Park

Millennium Park
The northwestern corner of the park was renovated between 1998 and 2004 to become Millennium Park, a contiguous area with a variety of artistic features by architects and artists. Millennium Park has free admission, and features the Jay Pritzker Pavilion, Cloud Gate, the Crown Fountain, the Lurie Garden and other attractions. The park is connected by the BP Pedestrian Bridge and the Nichols Bridgeway to other parts of Grant Park.

Daley Bicentennial Plaza
Across the BP Pedestrian Bridge from Millennium Park, the northeast corner of Grant Park hosts outdoor activities at Daley Bicentennial Plaza. Attractions here include a garden, a winter ice skating rink, tennis courts, chess tables, and a fieldhouse, complete with a fitness center.  The far north end of Grant Park the site of the Richard J. Daley Bicentennial Plaza is set to be completely restructured beginning in 2012.  The new park design will replace the concrete-heavy design with a more pastoral park featuring winding paths connecting wide lawns and hills with active areas. Among the new park’s features will be a skate park and scooter plaza, an undulating ribbon-like ice skating loop with a climbing wall at its center, and a large “play garden” for children.  The goal, is to open the new park in summer 2015.

Art Institute of Chicago
Built in 1893, on the western edge of Grant Park is the Art Institute of Chicago, one of the premier art museums and art schools in the United States, known especially for the extensive collection of Impressionist and American art, such as A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte, and Grant Wood's American Gothic.

Buckingham Fountain
The center piece of Grant Park is Buckingham Fountain, one of the world's largest fountains. The fountain, in a rococo wedding cake style, was dedicated in 1927 as a gift to the city from Kate Sturges Buckingham in memory of her brother Clarence. The fountain operates from April to October with water displays every 20 minutes and a light and water display from 9:00pm to 10:00pm.

Museum Campus
Chicago's Museum Campus is a 57 acre addition to Grant Park's southeastern end. The Museum Campus is the site of three of the city's most notable museums, all dedicated to the natural sciences: Adler Planetarium, Field Museum of Natural History, and Shedd Aquarium. A narrow isthmus along Solidarity Drive dominated by Neoclassical sculptures of Kosciuszko, Havlicek and Copernicus connects to Northerly Island where the planetarium is located to the rest of the Museum Campus situated on the mainland.

Petrillo Music Shell
The Petrillo Music Shell hosts music performances during the Chicago Jazz Festival, Taste of Chicago and Lollapalooza. Located at 235 S. Columbus Drive, the music shell's area encompasses the entire block bounded by Lake Shore Drive to the east, Columbus Drive to the west, East Monroe Street to the north and East Jackson Street to the South. The structure was relocated to this site in 1978 from the south end of the park. The amphitheater and paved surface for public seating is in the southwest corner.

Congress Plaza
Located in the center, on the west side of the park, is Congress Plaza. The two semicircular plazas, created by East Congress Plaza Drive, and bisected by East Congress Parkway, contain gardens, fountains, and artwork, including the large bronze warrior statues, The Bowman and the Spearman that are positioned like gatekeepers to the park.

Hutchinson Field
Much of the southern end of Grant Park is given over to Hutchinson Field, an open space for large events, with a dozen baseball or softball diamonds. Chicago Lakefront Trail The Chicago Lakefront Trail is an 18-mile multi-use path along the coast of Lake Michigan. It is popular with cyclists and joggers. From north to south, it runs through Lincoln Park, Grant Park, Burnham Park and Jackson Park.

Marinas and Harbors
There are two pleasure and leisure boat marinas on Lake Michigan, which are accessed from Grant Park. Monroe Harbor provides 1000 mooring cans, tender service, and facilities in the expansive harbor east of the park. It is the home of the Chicago Yacht Club and the Columbia Yacht Club. DuSable Harbor (formerly, Chicago Harbor) northeast of the park, offers 420 boat docks and a harbor store. Both Harbors may be accessed off Lake Shore Drive near Monroe Street.

While there is no structured programming taking place at this location, we invite you to check out our great programs offered at nearby Daley Bicentennial Plaza.

Grant Park's beginnings date to 1835, when foresighted citizens, fearing commercial lakefront development, lobbied to protect the open space. As a result, the park's original area east of Michigan Avenue was designated "public ground forever to remain vacant of buildings." Officially named Lake Park in 1847, the site soon suffered from lakefront erosion. The Illinois Central Railroad agreed to build a breakwater to protect the area in exchange for permission for an offshore train trestle. After the Great Fire of 1871, the area between the shore and trestle became a dump site for piles of charred rubble, the first of many landfill additions.

In 1901, the city transferred the park to the South Park Commission, which named it for Ulysses S. Grant (1822-1885), 18th President of the United States. Renowned architect Daniel H. Burnham envisioned Grant Park as a formal landscape with museums and civic buildings. However, construction was stalled by lawsuits launched by mail-order magnate Aaron Montgomery Ward, who sought to protect the park's open character. Finally, in 1911, the Illinois Supreme Court ruled in Ward's favor. New landfill at the park's southern border allowed construction of the Field Museum to begin, and the park evolved slowly. In 1934, the South Park Commission was consolidated into the Chicago Park District, which completed improvements using federal relief funds.

At the turn of the 21st century, the north end of Grant Park is undergoing a multi-million-dollar facelift, as old railbeds are transformed into Millennium Park, a major landscape and festival site."

For directions using public transportation visit www.transitchicago.com.