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Buckingham Fountain featuring landscape views, a fountain and a city

This enormous art deco installation gives free regular water and light shows symbolizing the power and might of Lake Michigan.

Buckingham Fountain is a large and beautiful fountain along a pretty lake. Though inspired by one of the magnificent fountains at Versailles, Buckingham Fountain is twice its size, making it one of the world’s biggest fountains. Designed and installed in 1927, it is both an essential stop on any tour of Chicago’s waterfront and a glimpse into the desire for monumentality that categorized early 20th-century city buildings. You may recognize the fountain from the opening credits of TV’s Married…with Children.

Walk down the waterfront toward Buckingham Fountain to see alternating views of the lake and the city with the ever-approaching stone and metalwork in the distance. Stroll around it, identifying the four massive art deco seahorses which symbolize the states bordering Lake Michigan: Illinois, Indiana, Wisconsin and Michigan.

Admire the unique color of the pink Georgia marble, which contrasts so pleasingly with the oxidized bronze of other parts of the statue. Pause for a moment on one of the benches to wait for the top of the hour, when the bigger jets roar into action to put on a show.

Return to the fountain at dusk for an unforgettable experience. As the central jet spurts water 150 feet (45 meters) into the air, watch as hundreds of lights hidden in the ironwork turn on, spectacularly changing the color of the water over the course of the show. Let the fine mist from the powerful fountain spray your face. Listen to oohs and aahs of the assembled summer crowd, all enjoying this magnificent piece of Chicago’s history.

Find Buckingham Fountain on the waterfront of Lake Michigan, a 15-minute walk from Cloud Gate, commonly known as The Bean. Drive to the fountain in 30 minutes from Chicago O’Hare International Airport. Lots near the park and surrounding streets have metered parking. Public transportation is available nearby.

The fountain operates only during the summer, between May and October. Major water shows are performed every hour on the hour from mid morning until late at night. Water and light shows begin at dusk. Visit the fountain and enjoy the show for free.

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Top Trending Hotels Near Buckingham Fountain

Congress Plaza Hotel
Congress Plaza Hotel
3.5 out of 5
520 South Michigan Avenue, Chicago, IL
The price is £85 per night from 3 Nov to 3 Nov
Located in The Loop, this hotel is steps away from Columbia College Chicago, Museum of Contemporary Photography and Auditorium Building and Theatre. Fine Arts ...
3.7/5 Good! (4,082 reviews)
"This is a very old hotel but lots of charm. After reading some reviews I almost cancelled. I am happy that I did not. While its old, its very charming and almost looks like an old haunted hotel. The staircases on the top floors look spooky but not in a scary way. Rooms are probably original hardware ..."

Reviewed on 17 Oct 2021

Congress Plaza Hotel
DoubleTree by Hilton Chicago - Magnificent Mile
DoubleTree by Hilton Chicago - Magnificent Mile
4 out of 5
300 E Ohio St, Chicago, IL
The price is £132 per night from 24 Oct to 24 Oct
Located in Near North Side, this hotel is within a 10-minute walk of Michigan Avenue, Northwestern Memorial Hospital and Chicago Riverwalk. Ann and Robert H. ...
4.2/5 Excellent! (1,574 reviews)
"The location was great. Close to Michigan Ave, John Hancock Bldg, Navy Pier and the river. Everyone was very helpful from extra cookies to suggestions about local places to eat/drink. I will be staying here again the next time I’m in town"

Reviewed on 17 Oct 2021

DoubleTree by Hilton Chicago - Magnificent Mile
Radisson Blu Aqua Hotel Chicago
Radisson Blu Aqua Hotel Chicago
4.5 out of 5
221 N Columbus Dr, Chicago, IL
The price is £180 per night from 1 Nov to 1 Nov
Located in The Loop, this luxury hotel is within a 5-minute walk of Chicago Riverwalk, Grant Park and Aon Center. Harris Theater and Michigan Avenue are also ...
4.2/5 Very Good! (1,484 reviews)
"It was beautiful"

Reviewed on 18 Oct 2021

Radisson Blu Aqua Hotel Chicago
Lowest nightly price found within the past 24 hours based on a 1 night stay for 2 adults. Prices and availability subject to change. Additional terms may apply.

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The Whitehall Hotel
The Whitehall Hotel
4 out of 5
105 E Delaware Pl, Chicago, IL
The price is £77 per night from 8 Nov to 8 Nov
The Whitehall Hotel
Congress Plaza Hotel
Congress Plaza Hotel
3.5 out of 5
520 South Michigan Avenue, Chicago, IL
The price is £85 per night from 3 Nov to 3 Nov
Congress Plaza Hotel
DoubleTree by Hilton Chicago - Magnificent Mile
DoubleTree by Hilton Chicago - Magnificent Mile
4 out of 5
300 E Ohio St, Chicago, IL
The price is £132 per night from 24 Oct to 24 Oct
DoubleTree by Hilton Chicago - Magnificent Mile
Radisson Blu Aqua Hotel Chicago
Radisson Blu Aqua Hotel Chicago
4.5 out of 5
221 N Columbus Dr, Chicago, IL
The price is £180 per night from 1 Nov to 1 Nov
Radisson Blu Aqua Hotel Chicago
LondonHouse Chicago, Curio Collection by Hilton
LondonHouse Chicago, Curio Collection by Hilton
4.5 out of 5
85 East Wacker Drive, Chicago, IL
The price is £173 per night from 18 Nov to 18 Nov
LondonHouse Chicago, Curio Collection by Hilton
Club Quarters Hotel, Central Loop
Club Quarters Hotel, Central Loop
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111 West Adams Street, Chicago, IL
The price is £91 per night from 27 Oct to 27 Oct
Club Quarters Hotel, Central Loop
Silversmith Hotel Chicago Downtown
Silversmith Hotel Chicago Downtown
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10 S Wabash Ave, Chicago, IL
The price is £170 per night from 27 Oct to 27 Oct
Silversmith Hotel Chicago Downtown
La Quinta Inn & Suites by Wyndham Chicago Downtown
La Quinta Inn & Suites by Wyndham Chicago Downtown
3 out of 5
1 S Franklin Street, Chicago, IL
The price is £84 per night from 8 Nov to 8 Nov
La Quinta Inn & Suites by Wyndham Chicago Downtown
The St. Clair Hotel – Magnificent Mile
The St. Clair Hotel – Magnificent Mile
2.5 out of 5
162 East Ontario Street, Chicago, IL
The price is £98 per night from 27 Oct to 27 Oct
The St. Clair Hotel – Magnificent Mile
Lowest nightly price found within the past 24 hours based on a 1 night stay for 2 adults. Prices and availability subject to change. Additional terms may apply.