Update 01/24/2016: The original Chrome extension suggested within this post has been replaced with an alternative one after receiving feedback from readers. (Thanks everyone!)
Chrome handles downloads by adding them to a bar along the bottom of the screen, which can be clicked to open the file or file's location. Closing this bar means removing your shortcut to the file, so you'll probably be looking for it in the Downloads Manager.
Gaining access to the Downloads Manager in Chrome is easy (Menu > Downloads, or Ctrl+J), but some users may prefer a visual shortcut. These are great for those who have to open the Downloads Manager often, or relatives who forget how to access this tool. Here's how to add visual shortcuts:
Method 1: Create a bookmark for the Downloads list.
Open chrome://downloads in your browser. Click the star next to the link and then save it on your bookmarks bar. You can adjust the name to your liking.
This method will not hide the download bar that appears along the bottom of the page, only make it easier to access finished downloads. If you'd like to hide the bar, too, check out the next option.
Method 2: Use a Download Manager extension.
A recent post on Ghacks.net recommended using an extension called Your Download Box, which gives you an arrow-shaped button to click for fast-access to your downloads. This extension is a good alternative for users that want to stay on their current tab, whereas the default manager will open a new one.
After clicking the icon, you can open selected files, their locations, cancel ongoing downloads, or retry failed ones through a pop-up list. To remove an item from the list, right-click it and delete button (X) will appear. Additionally, clicking the Show All Downloads button serves as a shortcut to the stock Downloads Manager.