The 24.5 acre Millennium Park sits on former industrial land that was controlled by the Illinois Central Railroad from the 1850s until the 1990s. The current park was first conceived in late 1997 with Mayor Richard M. Daley’s vision of turning the area into a new public space for residents of Chicago. The original plan called for a 16-acre park and outdoor music venue in the traditional Beaux Arts style of Grant Park. Over time, with the commitment of the private sector and the involvement of world-renowned architect Frank Gehry, the project evolved into an ambitious undertaking featuring a collection of world-renowned artists, architects, planners, landscape architects and designers. Popular features include Anish Kapoor's "Cloud Gate," the Crown Fountain, and Gehry's Jay Pritzker Pavilion.
Today, the 24.5-acre Millennium Park represents an unprecedented public-private partnership. It hosts over 500 free events each year, and is an award-winning center for art, music, architecture and landscape design. Since opening in July 2004, the Park has had millions of visitors, making it one of the most popular local, national and international destinations.