The Bean is Closed: What You Need To Know & Nearby Activities

The Chicago Bean is temporarily closed

Chicago's popular photo spot—Cloud Gate, also known as "The Bean," is temporarily closed to the public from August 15, 2023, until Spring 2024. This closure results from construction required on Grainger Plaza for repairs and upgrades. The Plaza surrounds The Bean at Millennium Park. According to the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events, the goal of the repairs is to " enhance the nearly 20-year-old park's appearance, visitor experience, and position as the No. 1 attraction in the Midwest." Find out more things to do in the area, even if this popular attraction is closed. 

What is The Bean?

The Chicago Bean is a renowned outdoor art installation located in the heart of Millennium Park. This interesting stainless-steel structure, shaped like a bean, is a beloved attraction for visitors worldwide. Its reflective surfaces create fascinating distortions of the park's bustling activity and the city skyline. One of the most engaging aspects of the installation is the ability for visitors to touch and interact with the structure, resulting in captivating (and strange) images of themselves from numerous vantage points.

Things to do in Millennium Park

Even if the Chicago Bean is off-limits when you visit Chicago, there are still a ton of interesting things to enjoy in and around the downtown core, close to Millennium Park. 

At Millennium Park

Crown Fountain 

Another exciting and interactive art installation, The Crown Fountain, features two glass brick towers projecting video images of Chicagoans seemingly spouting water from their mouths. Situated above a black granite reflecting pool, the Crown Fountain operates until mid-fall before returning in mid-spring. 

Lurie Garden 

On the southern edge of Millennium Park lies the Lurie Garden, a stunning 2.5-acre urban city garden boasting a vibrant display of seasonal flora, including perennials, bulbs, grasses, shrubs, and trees. This serene oasis offers an ideal escape from the hustle and bustle of city life.

Things to do near The Bean in Chicago

Maggie Daley Park

While it may not be possible to get a direct view of The Chicago Bean, a great way to catch some spectacular glimpses of it is by visiting the nearby Maggie Daley Park. Just a short stroll across S. Columbus Drive from Millennium Park, the park offers plenty of fun-filled activities for families to enjoy, including rollerblading, rock climbing, and mini golf. In the winter, the park transforms into a serene and picturesque setting, perfect for skating along the winding Ice Skating Ribbon. If you prefer to stay in the Millennium Park area, you can visit the McCormick Tribute Plaza, another beloved winter skating spot.

Nearby Millennium Park

The Art Institute of Chicago

Looking for more exciting artwork? The Art Institute of Chicago is a must-visit destination for art enthusiasts, boasting a collection of nearly 300,000 permanent pieces and featuring almost 30 temporary exhibitions each year. There's something to suit every taste, and you can explore at your leisure. Even with the closure of the Chicago Bean, there are still fascinating exhibits, and the museum's permanent collection is also available for viewing.

Catch the Best Views of Chicago at 360 CHICAGO

Although you may miss out on seeing the city skyline reflected in The Bean, you can still marvel at the stunning vistas of Chicago from a better and higher viewpoint within the city! The 360 CHICAGO Observation Deck within the former John Hancock building is perched at almost 1000 feet above ground level. The deck allows visitors to indulge in 360-degree panoramas of the majestic Chicago skyline and the magnificent expanse of Lake Michigan.

To make the experience even better, enjoy a drink and admire the views at Cloudbar—the newest sky-high bar, or check out TILT —the highest thrill ride in Chicago. Don't miss this incredible experience.  Check Availability at 360 CHICAGO Observation Deck.

Field Museum

Feast your eyes on a jaw-dropping collection of almost 40 million artifacts and specimens from all over the planet. The Field Museum has been an exciting display of wonder, science, and nature in its beautiful historic home on the Lake Michigan Shore since 1921.

Fun Facts About the Beloved Chicago Bean

How did “The Bean” get its name?

Cloud Gate is the sculpture's official name; however, before construction was finished or the name was shared, visual representations of the design were released to the public. Chicagoans instantly responded with the nickname "The Bean" once they saw the intriguing bean-like shape. “The Bean” was quickly adopted and remains a popular nickname for the sculpture to this day! 

Who is the artist of the Chicago Bean? & when was it constructed? 

In 2006, the renowned Indian-British sculptor Anish Kapoor, was commissioned to create a work of art in Chicago. Kapoor is well-known for his talent in creating large outdoor sculptures with reflective surfaces. Among his other acclaimed works are The Sky Mirror at the Nottingham Playhouse, and another at Rockefeller Center in New York City, as well as The Leviathan at the Grand Palais in Paris. Despite these impressive accomplishments, many believe The Bean is the most iconic artwork in Kapoor's collection.

Interesting construction facts about The Bean in Chicago

  • The Chicago Bean Stats: It weighs 110 tons, towering 33 feet high with a 12-foot arch, and measures 42 feet wide and 66 feet long. 
  • The Bean is made of 168 stainless steel plates, all welded together to create a striking mirrored appearance.
  • Its unique shape is made possible by the evenly distributed weight of two large metal rings and a bridge-like framework resting on two bases. 
  • The inner frame allows The Bean to maintain its concave shape even in harsh Chicago winters, as the inside frame can expand and contract to accommodate changing weather conditions.

Cloud Gate Chicago

Ready to explore even if The Bean in Chicago is closed? For more tips and things to do in Chicago, visit our blog.

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