Cloud Gate isn’t the name of some kind of Chicago political scandal or anything the like. Instead, this creation from the British artist, Anish Kapoor, is a major Windy City monument and attraction. Often called “The Bean” because of its bean-shaped appearance, this sculpture at Chicago’s AT&T Plaza is easily recognizable due to its highly polished stainless steel exterior. Its size also makes Cloud Gate stand out. Measuring 66 feet long by 33 feet high, The Bean weighs 110 tons and is one of the largest sculptures of its kind in the world.
Cloud Gate, with its polished steel exterior, was inspired by liquid mercury. Found in downtown Chicago between the attractive Chase Promenade and the people-watching hot spot that is the McCormick Tribune Plaza & Ice Rink, the sculpture is the centerpiece of the aforementioned AT&T Plaza and has the power to attract virtually every tourist who passes by. A popular thing to do among Cloud Gate visitors is to admire Chicago’s famous skyline in the sculpture’s reflection. It is also common to see visitors checking out their own images reflected back in a variety of perspectives.
Cloud Gate was officially dedicated in 2006 and has become a must-see Chicago attraction and symbol. Some even refer to the sculpture as one of the world’s greatest pieces of public art. It appears on various Chicago souvenirs, such as postcards and sweatshirts, and because of its downtown location in Millennium Park, The Bean is easy to include on a Chicago sightseeing itineraries. Don’t forget to bring a camera along if you plan on visiting Cloud Gate. The photographic opportunities are great, especially given the sculpture’s highly reflective exterior.