Wednesday was exactly the sort of perfect June day that blots out memories of the CTA breakdowns, interminable expressway construction, and perpetual March slush that tend to make people decide to move someplace else. Today the cool breezes under a warm sun drew us downtown for unapologetic tourism.
The formal name of this wonderful hunk of steel is "Cloud Gate," but everyone calls it the Bean. We love the Bean. Essentially a giant parabolic mirror, it squats in the middle of Millennium Park, happily reflecting both the skyline and its adoring fans in all sorts of interesting ways. People can't keep their hands off it. Everyone pats it. Small children hug it. It inspires big goofy grins.
More stunning architecture is on display in the Pritzker Pavilion, an amazing outdoor music venue with a lawn the size of a few football fields covered by an open lattice of curving poles. The Grant Park orchestra was rehearsing when we walked through, and the acoustics were thoroughly good.
From Millennium Park, it's a quick hop, skip, and bus to Navy Pier. We walked the thousand yards out to the end to watch the boats go by and listen to the seagulls shriek. Then it was back to the train that pulled out of downtown faster than I would have liked, into the last few days of being in Illinois for a while.