• Discover Chicago’s newest urban green space at Maggie Daley Park
• Take a turn on the ingeniously designed ice-skating ribbon in winter
• Catch a summer concert or an outdoor movie under the stars
Millennium Park changed the face of downtown Chicago (and lured many Chicagoans back downtown) when it opened in 2004. More recently, the local buzz has been all about Millennium’s smaller yet equally impressive neighbor, Maggie Daley Park, which debuted in 2014. Named for Chicago’s late first lady (the wife of former mayor Richard M. Daley), the park consists of 20 gently graded, ingeniously landscaped acres that feel convincingly organic; hardly any of its walking paths unfold in straight lines. The showpiece is the “Skating Ribbon,” a riverine circuit of ice that winds among the pine trees, changing elevation over its quarter-mile course. (Skates can be rented for $12; otherwise admission is free.) In warm weather, the ice is replaced by a walking path, and the faux-rock formations at the center of the ribbon are transformed into climbing walls. Their climbing walls are some of the largest outdoor in the world, at over 19,000 square feet of climbing space. And there’s plenty more to see in Millennium Park, just over the Frank Gehry–designed BP Pedestrian Bridge, whose twisting, scaly enclosure recalls a serpent coiled across the roadway. Just past the bridge, look for the Lurie Garden, a lush 2.5-acre oasis that’s ideal for a picnic or a quiet moment away from the crowds. Nearby, you’ll spot the outline of Jay Pritzker Pavilion, a wildly deconstructed band shell (also by Gehry) that hosts outdoor concerts and movies in warmer months. If writing about music is “like dancing about architecture,” as someone famously said, then the Pritzker Pavilion is architecture dancing to music: Its sinuous curves seem to capture melodies in shimmering steel.