Cloud Gate in Millennium Park Chicago

The Bean Chicago | The Silver Pen

Cloud Gate in Millennium Park Chicago

Chicago is definitely “My kind of town…” We moved from Chicago to Santa Barbara 3 years ago. The HOTY (Husband Of The Year) lived in the city his whole life and I lived there for about 16 years. Now, I love living in Santa Barbara (and in fact can’t see myself living anywhere else – ever!), but I do miss Chicago.

One of my all-time favorite places is Millennium Park. The park website describes the park perfectly as a state-of-the-art collection of architecture, landscape design and art that provide the backdrop for hundreds of free cultural programs including concerts, exhibitions, tours, and family activities. In Millennium Park, you’ll find a new kind of town square – a lively, spectacular gathering spot located in the heart of the city. 

My favorite place within Millennium is Cloud Gate (nicknamed The Bean). Cloud Gate is a public sculpture by Indian-born British artist Anish Kapoor.

The Bean

Photograph by Jackman Chiu

Inspired by liquid mercury, Cloud Gate (it looks like a cloud AND a bean, right?) is made of 168 stainless steel plates welded together. Its highly polished exterior has no visible seams and measure 33 x 66 x 42 feet (10 x 20 x 13 m), and weighs 100 tons. On the underside of the sculpture is the omphalos, a concave chamber that warps and multiplies reflections. The apex of the omphalos measures 27 feet (8.2 m) above the ground.

I especially love visiting because at all times the sculpture attracts locals and tourists alike. It is so easy to get lost in The Bean. 

The highly photogenic art makes the Chicago skyline come to life, showing it’s highly diverse and interesting personality that changes by the time of day and weather. The Bean is truly larger than life, interactive and a joy to experience. It’s also a photographer’s dream, offering countless ways to compose and frame it. Below you will find a series of amazing photographs that demonstrate just how diverse the images of The Bean can be.

If you get to Chicago, please oh please add this great Silver Lining to your trip!


Photograph by ZL-Photography

cloud-gate-anish-kapoor-chicago-bean-sculpturePhotograph by Thomas Hawkcloud-gate-anish-kapoor-chicago-bean-sculpture-5

Photograph by Mike Warot

cloud-gate-anish-kapoor-bean-sculpturePhotograph by Mark Watkins

Cloud Gate Millennium Park | The Silver Pen

Photograph by Stefan Georgi

The first photo was taken by: Chris Coleman

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  1. Nanette Jacobs says

    Yes agreed Hollye! I as you know , am also a Chicago transplant living in Cali for 16 years now (wow really? Lol) …but my heart will always remain in my hometown. People ask me all the time where I'm originally from, (yes I have a thick Chicago accent..still) . I proudly answer, "I'm a Chicagoan living in San Francisco". Yup, you can take the girl out of the Midwest, but you can't take the Midwest out of this girl! Indeed. Hugs, Nan

  2. Carolee Groux says

    I too love Chicago and was there last 2 years ago December for a few days during the holiday season. I enjoyed our visit to "Cloud Gate" in Millenium Park, as well as many other wonderful places. Your photographs of "the bean" are so much better than mine. The art sculpture offers wonderful reflections. I also appreciated seeing the dimensions and facts about the sculpture. So interesting. Thank you for this, Hollye.