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Grant Park - Buckingham Fountain Tips (62)

Buckingham Fountain day and night is gorgeous

its sort of a shame that this gorgeous fountain is most well know for the show married with children .. it is huge and just beautiful ..with the city in the background. It is a great place to sit and relax ... wait for the lights to come on at night. Sometimes there is music which is so dramatic. Its fun to people watch but as all places be aware of your safety .. while we were there in was on the news a few people were robbed there but I still went on my own and I felt safe.

chattygirl7491's Profile Photo
Sep 23, 2016

Buckingham Fountain

Clarence F. Buckingham Memorial Fountain, one of the largest in the world, It operates 8 a.m. to 11:00 p.m. daily, typically from April to mid-October, depending on weather. Times are subject to change when large events take place in or around Grant Park.

While in operation, every hour on the hour for 20 minutes the Fountain produces a major water display and the center jet shoots 150 feet into the air. The initial major display begins at 9:00 a.m. and thereafter, is every hour on the hour. Beginning at dusk, every hour on the hour for 20 minutes the Fountain's major water display is accompanied by a major light and music display. The final display of the evening begins at 10:35 p.m.

The water displays are powered by three pumps and 134 jets with a water capacity of 1.5 million gallons. Depending on wind conditions, major displays use approximately 14,100 gallons of water per minute conveyed through 134 jets. Water is re-circulated from the base pool after the basins are filled and not drawn from the outside except to replace losses from wind and evaporation.

The bottom pool of the fountain is 280 feet in diameter, the lower basin is 103 feet, the middle basin is 60 feet and the upper basin is 24 feet. The lip of the upper basin is 25 feet above the water in the lower basin. The underground pump room is 35 feet long, 25 feet wide and 25 feet high.

Kate Buckingham envisioned a fountain whose effect was that of "soft moonlight." She worked many nights with technicians, testing the various colors of the glass filters and currents to produce an ethereal, mystical aura. The Fountain contains 820 lights in the following configurations:

Buckingham Fountain officially opened in 1927 as the centerpiece of Grant Park—“Chicago’s Front Yard”, architect Edward H. Bennett (1874–1954) designed the Fountain to serve as the park’s formal focal point without obstructing the views of the Lake Michigan. Kate Sturges Buckingham (1858-1937) dedicated the structure to the people of Chicago in 1927 in memory of her late brother, Clarence, donating one million dollars for the Fountain.

apbeaches's Profile Photo
Nov 08, 2014

The spectacular Buckingham Fountain of Chicago

One of its famous attractions at the Grand Park is the Buckingham Fountain which was built in 1927 in honor of Clarence Buckingham. The design was inspired by a fountain found in Versailles Palace in France.
It is considered as one of the World´s largest Water Fountain with a basin that measures about 280 feet in diameter and height of 23 feet which has the ability to eject up to 150 feet water in the air. During the day it performs every hour from 8:oo am until 11:00 pm spectacular turbulent geyser- like water shows to enjoy the people and in the evening a choreographed water with red light and music is a big attraction.
The vapor phase that is being ejected and sprayed in the atmosphere is too refreshing especially during summer. The fountain runs from middle April to middle of October and depending upon the weather conditions. It is awesome and amazing! So don´t miss it!

kharmencita's Profile Photo
Dec 24, 2012


In the southwest corner of Grant Park, there's an art installation by Magdalena Abakanowicz, a sculptor from Poland. It's fun to wander about the headless bodies.

afowles's Profile Photo
Feb 18, 2011
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Museum Campus

the museum campus is one of the major things to do in the huge grant park and south loop area and is located in the southern section of the grant park area near the soldier's field and is near the southern lakefront area. It has quite a number of museums and attractions dedicated to natural sciences like the Adler Planetarium, the Shedd Aquarium, and the Field Museum of Natural History. Again I will make a separate things to do tips of each apart from this general tip. The area is landscaped with greenery and flora as well as jogging paths and walkways. A picturesque promenade along Solidarity Drive, a narrow isthmus links Northerly Island to the mainland. The drive itself is lined with a number of grand bronze monuments commemorating Koœciuszko, Havlièek and Nicholas Copernicus, the last of which is a replica of a famous 19th-century work in Warsaw by Danish sculptor Bertel Thorvaldsen.

machomikemd's Profile Photo
Nov 12, 2010

The Famous Buckingham Fountain

is one of the major highlights in walking or strolling the huge grant park area and is right in the middle of it at provides a panoramic bonanza plus is one of the largest outdoor fountains with amazing water sprays in the world! It was donated to the city by Kate Buckingham in memory of her brother, Clarence Buckingham. The fountain itself represents Lake Michigan, while each sea horse symbolizes a state bordering the lake. The statues were created by the French sculptor Marcel F. Loyau. The design of the fountain was based on the Bassin de Latome and modeled after Latona Fountain at Versailles and was was designed with sculptures by Jacques Lambert. The fountain runs from 8:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m. every day from mid-April to mid-October. During a water display that runs for 20 minutes every hour on the hour, the center jet shoots up vertically to 150 feet (46 m). At dusk, a light and music show coincides with the water display. The last show of the night begins at 10:00 p.m. Each display last for 20 minutes.

machomikemd's Profile Photo
Nov 12, 2010

The Huge Grant Park

this huge park is a landmark is chicago and is a sprawling area fronting the lake michigan area (known as the lake front as locals would say) and is named after Civil War Hero and former President and Illinois Native Ulysses S. Grant in 1901, it was original named as Lake Park. It is bordered on the north by Randolph Street, on the south by Roosevelt Road, on the west by Michigan Avenue and on the east by Lake Michigan. Actually, many of the famed chicago attractions are located in this very huge park like the Buckingham Fountains and Millenium Park and the Adler Planetarium to name a few but I will have separate things to do tips for the others. It can be crowded in weekends as there are many activities going in this park and is the site of the victory speech of the current President Barack Obama and other activities like the major Chicago International Aviation Meet in 1911. It was the scene of clashes between Chicago Police and demonstrators during the 1968 Democratic National Convention. Pope John Paul II said an outdoor mass to a large crowd here in 1979. Championship celebrations for the Chicago Bulls were staged here during the 1990s. More tips to follow!

machomikemd's Profile Photo
Nov 12, 2010

Buckingham Fountain

The Fountain which is located in Grant Park is consider one of the biggest fountain in the world and most popular attractions in Chicago. The four sea horses on its sides represent the four states that touch Lake Michigan: Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana and Michigan.
The fountain operates from Apr to Nov (10am to 11pm each day). Every hour for 20 minutes the fountain produces a major water display and accompanied by lights and music at dusk.

winnietankl's Profile Photo
Nov 01, 2009
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Buckingham Fountain

A lot of people want to view this iconic Chicago landmark because of the association with the film "Married with Children". I personally never watched it but this fountain is quite spectacular. From April to Mid October for 20min every hour ending at 11pm there is a water display jets of water jump 150ft into the air accompanied by a light and music display. The fountain looks like a wedding cake but was designed as Lake Michigan with 4 sea horses. These symbolise the 4 states which touch the Lake Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana & Michigan. The fountain is made out of Georgia pink marble and first opened in 1927. The designer was inspired by Louis XIV's garden in Versailles.

jo104's Profile Photo
Sep 03, 2009

Top 10-Buckingham Fountain

Buckingham Fountain had a major multi million dollar facelift in 2008/2009 and was reopened in April 2009.

Buckingham Fountain is one of the most recognizable symbols of Chicago, both because of it's lakefront/Grant Park location and it's appearance at the beginning of "Married with Children" which has given it the nickname of the Bundy Fountain.

The fountain is active from mid April to mid October, depending on the weather, from 8 am to 11 pm daily.

Every hour on the hour for 20 minutes the fountain has a major water display with the center jet shooting 150 feet into the air. Beginning at dusk, the hourly major water display is accompanied by a light and music display. The final display of the evening begins at 10:00 p.m. I've heard that they shoot fireworks off from there on New Year's Eve but have never personally seen it.

At one time the fountain was actually operated by computer from Atlanta but the computer was moved to Chicago in 1994 when the fountain was renovated.

The fountain was a gift to Chicago from heiress (family fortune was in grain elevators and banking) Kate Buckingham in 1927 in memory of her late brother, Clarence. A $300,000 trust fund was established at the time for repair and upkeep. A $2.8 million restoration was done in 1994; the funds came from the Buckingham Fountain Endowment Fund.

It is built of Georgia pink marble and patterned on the Latona Basin in the gardens of Louis XIV's palace at Versailles. It was designed by Edward H. Bennett who also helped design Wacker Drive and the Michigan Avenue bridge; the four bronze sea horses symbolize the four states that touch the lake: Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana and Michigan.

Dabs's Profile Photo
Apr 26, 2009

Public art-Ivan Mestrovic's Spearman and Bowman

Most Chicagoans know the names of the more famous artists who have public sculptures in Chicago, Picasso, Calder and Chagall and perhaps even Miro but even given the prominent location of The Spearman and The Bowman on Congress Parkway and Michigan Avenue in Grant Park, you'd be hard pressed to find someone who could spit out much less pronouce correctly the name of Croatian sculptor Ivan Mestrovic whose better known works are scattered throughout his native country.

His two art deco sculptures were erected in Grant Park in 1928, commissioned by the Art Institute. The warriors were intended to represent the dynamism and energy of the New World. The statues were cast at the artist's studio in Zagreb, he felt he couldn't find the level of skill necessary anywhere but Croatia. He eventually moved to the US in 1947 after having been imprisoned by the Croatian government during WWII, he taught sculpture at Syracuse University in New York and Notre Dame University in South Bend, Indiana which is currently raising funds to open an art museum that will have a gallery devoted to him.

An article in the Chicago Tribune finally answered something I long wondered about, why was it that the Spearman had no spear and the bowman had no bow? According to the article, the original sketches did have the weapons but he eliminated them when he started working on the models because he wanted to put more emphasis on the human body.

Dabs's Profile Photo
Aug 24, 2008

Movie Magic in the Park

In Grant Park there is a fountain which has a fair amount of notoriety. The Buckingham Fountain is a very large, multi-leveled fountain right near Lake Michigan. It has been featured in several movies, and you can always find young couples strolling about, hand in hand. It is a rather romantic setting, and it is lit up in the nighttime. It is wonderful to visit, even if you are single.

HasTowelWillTravel's Profile Photo
May 26, 2008

Things To Do Near Grant Park - Buckingham Fountain

Things to do

Chicago Architecture Foundation - CAF

Open House October 17-18, 2015 Chicago has joined a number of other international cities in offering an Open House weekend, the 5th Open House weekend was October 17-18, 2015. The Open House is free...
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Things to do

Chicago Symphony Orchestra

Symphony Center is the home for more than 200 live concerts a year -- orchestras, recitals, jazz, superstar guest artists, visiting orchestras, and more. I went there for Argentinian tango the other...
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Things to do

Art Institute

A very large impressive art museaum .. one of the countries finest .. nice selection of some famous art ... go when you can spend the day .. I believe Thursdays have extended hours. I really...
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Things to do

Harold Washington Library

I find Libraries are often interesting ... the architecture .. the art ect. . The floor is lovely and some interesting art. a lot is very dark .. my favorite is the pieces on loan from Vetrans...
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Things to do

Millennium Park

Millennium Park ... love the fountain .. the bean .. the people watching .. never saw so many people doing selfies. some come for formal pics .. great place to hang out just watch people. Never got...
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Things to do

Buddy Guy's Legends

If you are fortunate enough to be planning a trip to Chicago for January, check Ticketmaster for Buddy Guy's annual headlining weekend events at his own club: Legend's. It is the best $30 that you'll...
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Getting to Grant Park - Buckingham Fountain


500 S Lake Shore Dr


  • Sunday 06:00 to 23:00
  • Monday 06:00 to 23:00
  • Tuesday 06:00 to 23:00
  • Wednesday 06:00 to 23:00
  • Thursday 06:00 to 23:00
  • Friday 06:00 to 23:00
  • Saturday 06:00 to 23:00