Buckingham Fountain

Buckingham Fountain is one of the biggest fountains around the globe. It was built in 1927. The fountain is located at the center of the historic grant park. Its inspiration was taken from the Latona Fountain at the Palace of Versailles. It is designed to represent Lake Michigan. Each horse that is decorated symbolizes its bordering states. While on the operation, every hour for 20 minutes, the fountain produces a major water display, and the center jet shoots for 105 feet in the air. The last display starts at 10 PM.


One of the biggest in the World

The Buckingham fountain is also termed the crown jewel of Grant Park. The design was inspired by one of the fountains at the Palace Versailles, built for Louis XV. It was just double the size of the original making it one of the largest fountains in the world. The fountain uses as much as 15,000 gallons of water per minute.

Light and Music Show

At dusk, the fountain just comes to life. Head to the park after the sunset and you will be mesmerized with the spectacular show every hour on the hour. Do not miss the 20-minute water show featuring the fountain’s center jet 150 feet into the air. The active months of fountain are from May to October.

Wedding Cake Design

The fountain is designed like a rococo wedding cake and is fun to watch. It is meant to represent Lake Michigan. The four seahorses symbolize the four Midwestern states surrounding the lake. The Buckingham fountain has been an iconic landmark for 100 years now.

Important Facts

  • Buckingham fountain operates with the original motors and pumps when it was built 90 years ago.
  • The fountain’s center jet shoots water up to a height of 150 feet in the air.
  • There are three pumps in the fountain. The larges has 250 horsepower and throws 7,000 gallons of water per minute.
  • There are 820 lights including 60 in the seahorse statue.


Walk down the waterfront towards the fountain to see the views of the lake and city with beautiful stone and metalwork. Be amazed by the unique color of the pink marble which looks beautiful with the bronze of other parts of the statue. Pause for a moment to watch out for the biggest water jet roar from the fountain. Let the mist of the powerful fountain spray on your face. Listen to the assembled summer crowd enjoying the magnificent piece of Chicago’s history.

What to Expect

The Buckingham Fountain is located on the waterfront of Lake Michigan, 10 minutes’ walk from the Cloud gate. You can also drive to the fountain in 30 minutes from Chicago O’Hare airport. Lots near the parks have metered parking. You can also opt for the public transport facility if you are not comfortable on your own vehicle.

Plan your Visit

The fountain is active only during the summer, between the months of May and October. Visit the fountain for free as the management particularly doesn’t charge anything to view the water show and enjoy the spectacular water and light shows at the Buckingham Fountain. Best time to visit Buckingham Fountain is after sunset, in the first five days of week.

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