Maggie Daley Park
Â In 2012, the Chicago Park District began transforming the northeastern part of Grant Park into Maggie Daley Park. For many decades, an expansive surface parking lot occupied this site with a portion of the Illinois Central's sunken rail yard extending along the northwestern edge. In the mid-1970s, the Chicago Park District replaced the old park lot with the Richard J. Daley Bicentennial Plaza, a complex that provided a new 3700-car underground garage with major recreational facilities. Dedicated to Chicago's former Mayor Richard J. Daley (1902 - 1976), the facility included a new fieldhouse for indoor recreational programming as well as several outdoor amenities such as tennis courts, an ice skating rink, picnic areas, and Grant Park's first playground.
In 2009, the City of Chicago and the Park District began plans to renovate the underground parking garage and fieldhouse and enliven the outdoor elements in this area. Over the next several years, thousands of citizens participated in community workshops and meetings to help determine the programming for this prominent lakeshore site which lies just east of Millennium Park. The Park District hired Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates, an internationally renowned landscape architecture firm to design the new park space. Serving as a counterpoint to the symmetry and formality of Grant Park, the design incorporates curvilinear forms, dramatic topography, and many whimsical elements.
The Chicago Park District Board of Commissioners renamed the site in honor of Maggie C. Daley (1943 - 2011) Chicago's longtime first lady, who was deeply committed to improving the lives of children and making the city culturally rich for all of its citizens. Maggie Daley was the co-founder of Gallery 37, a cultural arts program for teens in the summer. This led to the creation of After School Matters, a non-profit organization that offers Chicago teens innovative activities in the arts, communication, science, sports and technology. It is now the nation's largest out-of-school program of its kind for teenagers.
A dynamic force behind many of Chicago's non-profit organizations, large and small, Mrs. Daley was a tireless advocate for her city. Today, she is remembered for her grace, perseverance, zest for life, and commitment to a better Chicago.
We recently went ice skating here right before the Christmas holiday. I could argue that it felt like it was quite a cold long wait to even get inside the warm building to do the skate rental, but it was the holiday season so it was probably busier than usual. It is about the same price as going to the movies so it is worth the unique experience.
The largest playground in Chicago! Lots of different things to do: different kinds of slides, bridges, water activities in summer, swings, mazes. No food stands inside, do bring your own if want to have a picnic. Gets very crowded on sunny days and weekends. The big downside for me is it's size and easy exit, which means I'm always stressed to watch the kids closely in the crowd so they don't wander away somewhere
Great climbing walls in new park in downtown Chicago. Belay walls as well as bouldering. The walls are encircled by a skating ribbon, which is ice in the winter and wheels the rest of the year. Challenging, incredibly well-designed playground areas for kids. Water spray areas in Summer. Picnic areas. Adjacent to Millennium Park, accessed by long, undulating bridge covered in snakeskin-like metal. Great for families that enjoy walking, since the park is set up to include long walks between the different attractions. Bring a stroller or wagon for when kids get tired. Bring water and a picnic or snacks. Bring scooters or skates for skate ribbon. Consult park map to find attractions that interest you. Secure, safe, pleasant, clean, well-kept.
Winter and summer fun time. This is particular a good park to enjoy downtown Chicago feel and get a good walk around the edge of the city, before the lake begins. It is also quite close to the running path of lake shore drive. Ice skating here is a must-try. Also the snacks and hot chocolate.. depending on the time of the year. Picturesque... Good location for photoshoots.
activities abounds in this newer park just east of millennium Park. An ice skating ribbon surrounds a climbing wall structure. Wait what is an ice ribbon? It's ice skating but instead of an oval, it's a wandering left and right, up and down path. There is a food cart nearby, I haven't tried it but it smells like tasty burgers. A playground big enough for adults is just South of there. Too bad it's full of kids all the time