Maggie Daley Park

Maggie Daley Park

Maggie Daley Park turned the roof of a 4,000-car parking garage in downtown Chicago into a 27-acre park for visitors of all ages. Designed to complement nearby Millennium Park, which is focused largely on cultural programming, the park offers world-class facilities such as the three-acre Play Garden, the quarter-mile loop of the Skating Ribbon, and the 40-foot-high Climbing Wall. Its central location makes Maggie Daley Park an integral part of Chicago's network of lakefront landscapes, with the 18-mile Lakefront Trail immediately to its east and the monumental civic expanse of Grant Park to the south. During the planning and design of Maggie Daley Park, MVVA held well-attended public meetings throughout the city to shape the future of this key part of what is sometimes called Chicago’s Front Yard.

A combination of soil engineering and extensive native plantings helps mitigate the heat-island effect and enables the park to manage rainfall from a 100-year storm.

The Play Garden offers thrills, challenges, and delight for children of all abilities who live in the growing residential neighborhoods nearby, or who come to Maggie Daley Park from across the city, state, and region.

The park offers space for imagination-driven play as well as extraordinary versions of time-honored playground favorites like slides, swings, and climbing structures. A child-scaled trail system links smaller spaces such as the Enchanted Forest, the Lagoon, the Wave Lawn, and the Slide Crater.

Feedback from the community revealed a desire for neighborhood-based programming and provisions for both active and passive recreation, all of which are reflected in the park’s design. Two diagonal axes structure the park, with lawn spaces running from northwest to southeast and play and sports areas from northeast to southwest.

Large-scale “light masts” serve as beacons that draw visitors to Maggie Daley Park. At the same time, they cast a glow across the park that emulates the softness of moonlight. Recognizing the universal need to experience the outdoors even in harsh Chicago winters, the park is designed to feel joyful in all seasons, in light and in dark.