Address: Grant Park
Phone: (312) 747-2633; 742-PLAY
Clarence Buckingham Memorial Fountain is perhaps one of the best places to relax and enjoy Chicago. During the summer, when the wind whips off the lake, a fine mist cools passersby. People gather here during festivals in Grant Park, and at night to watch the light and music show when changing colored lights illuminate the spraying water. Itís a memorable sight with the Chicago skyline behind it, and one you wonít want to miss.
The fountain was donated by Kate Buckingham in honor of her brother Clarence in 1927 and was the largest decorative fountain at that time. Sculptor Marcel Francois Loyau was inspired by the Latona Basin in the gardens at Versailles, but created the fountain with Art Deco style seahorses rather than the more realistic looking horses sculpted in the French fountain. Architects Bennett, Parsons and Frost and Engineer Jacques H. Lambert also worked on this amazing Grant Park landmark.
Buckingham fountain is still one of the largest in the world, and when the Georgia pink marble basins are filled, the water capacity is 1.5 million gallons. Every minute, 133 jets spray approximately 14,000 gallons of water into the air. The center jet of water rises to 150 feet high.
At night, the fountain is aglow with 780 lights that are choreographed with the water and music. Light shows begin every hour on the hour and last about 20 minutes, beginning at 7:00 p.m. The fountain is in operation from 10:00 a.m. until 11:00 p.m. daily.
Whether youíre looking for a romantic spot or simply somewhere to unwind and get off your feet after a day of sightseeing, the fountain is the perfect place to sit a while. Be cautioned though, itís not a good place to arrange to meet someone. The fountain is large and the area around it is often crowded. Itís a difficult spot to find someone.
Although the water is turned off in the winter, there is a holiday light show at the fountain, with holiday music.
To reach Grant Park and the fountain, you can drive and park in one of three garages operated by the Chicago park District. There is one garage on Columbus at Monroe, one on Michigan Avenue at Van Buren, and one on Michigan Avenue at either Monroe or Randolph. To reach Grant Park by public transportation, contact the RTA Travel Information Center at 312-836-7000.