When you think of Chicago, you most likely think of our beautiful skyline glistening above Lake Michigan, or imagine the hustle and bustle on Michigan Avenue…you may even picture yourself digging into a Chicago style hot dog at Wrigley. But I am here to tell you to picture one of the world’s most stunning water structures: The Clarence F. Buckingham Memorial Fountain. We Chicagoans simply refer to it at “Buckingham Fountain,” and most of us still make a yearly touristy trek to see it, and I recommend you do the same with your little ones.
The actual fountain is almost one hundred years old and adds a French twist to the beautiful scenery along Lake Shore Drive. The reason why so many people are so enraptured by it is because of its size and grandeur. Also, for twenty awe-inspiring minutes every hour on the hour, the fountain performs a water show with the center jet shooting water 150 feet up into the air. It is an amazing site, especially on a hot day in Chicago, when it provides some wet relief to bystanders.
When you do go to visit Buckigham Fountain, be prepared to do some walking (bring the stroller for kiddos–you are NOT going to want to carry them) and bring your camera to capture the excitement of Chicago. There are always tons of spectators admiring the fountain, indulging in Chicago staples (hot dog and pizza stands abound), enjoying the beautiful gardens outside of the fountain, watching the street performers that travel all over the city, as well as posing for wedding photos. Just this past year I have been in two wedding parties that have spent time posing in front of Buckingham Fountain, and we were NOT the only ones. For a minute I thought there was going to be a bridal throw down over securing a photo location, but thankfully Midwestern friendliness was maintained. So if I were you, I would avoid busy wedding Saturdays when you go to visit the fountain.
During the day, the fountain has a water show every 20 minutes. But at night, the show gets an upgrade with lights and music, and occurs every hour on the hour.
Looking for other water fountains? Simply search “waterfountains” in the search box.