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Chicago's Millennium Park

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Cloud Gate, unofficially dubbed "The Bean"
Cloud Gate

Cloud Gate, aka "The Bean" © Prescott Carlson

Cloud Gate -- referred to by locals as "The Bean", for obvious reasons -- is a public sculpture by talented British artist Anish Kapoor. Cloud Gate weighs in at over 110-tons, and is 66 feet long and 33 feet high. "The Bean" was created using a huge number of individual stainless steel plates -- Cloud Gate's seamless surface is the result of thousands of hours of polishing.

The sculpture has the appearance of a giant drop of liquid mercury, and the mirrored surface offers an amazing reflection of the city skyline, even more breathtaking on a bright, clear day. Visitors can walk underneath the Cloud Gate, which is surprisingly concave. Kids especially enjoy the fun house mirror effect that this creates.

Cloud Gate is quickly becoming one of the more popular photo opportunities in the city. In 2005, the City of Chicago tried an ill-fated attempt at requiring permits to photograph the sculpture -- a move that was soon rescinded to the delight of shutterbugs everywhere.

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