The Cloud Gate
Millennium Park, Chicago, IL - USA
If you ever visit Chicago be sure to schedule in some time to go to Millennium Park and check out the giant Bean. In 2009 when I was on winter break from college, this bean actually inspired a spontaneous 4 day weekend road trip from Western MA, to the Bean in Chicago and back. If you are lucky you will be there on a day when The Bean has been recently cleaned, and you will be treated to an endless amount of fun distorted reflections of the Chicago skyline from the outside, and equally as entertaining reflections of yourself from in the navel or “omphalos” (the concave underside) of The Bean. The Bean itself is made up of 168 stainless steel plates that are seamlessly welded together, giving off the appearance that it is all one piece, and apparently (according to Wikipedia) it weights approximately 110 tons!! When it was first built there was some controversy about whether or not you could take photos of it for commercial use, but ultimately when the dust settled the decision was made that such permits will only be required for large scale productions like movies. All technical details aside, there is just simply nothing else quite like this Bean in all the world, and if you haven’t been I would recommend adding it to your list of places to visit!