Visit One Of Chicago's Biggest Attractions: Buckingham Fountain

USA, Illinois, Chicago, Buckingham Fountain at dusk
••• Dennis Flaherty/The Image Bank/Getty Images

In Brief:

Opened May 26, 1927, the Buckingham Fountain is one of the Windy City's top attractions. It arguably competes with Willis Tower as Chicago's most famous landmark.

Where:

Columbus Drive and Congress Parkway in Grant Park

Getting There By Public Transportation:

Either the south-bound CTA bus line #146 or #147 to Congress and Michigan, walk .3 miles east to fountain.

Driving From Downtown:

Lake Shore Drive (US 41) south to Jackson, right on Jackson to Columbus.

Left on Columbus to fountain.

Parking at the Buckingham Fountain:

There is limited meter street parking, but your best bet is to follow the signs in the area to the Grant Park underground garage at Monroe and Columbus.

Buckingham Fountain hours:

The fountain runs from 8 a.m. to 11 p.m. daily, from mid-April through mid-October, depending on the weather.

Fountain Water Display:

For 20 minutes starting every hour on the hour, the fountain features a large water display and the center jet sprays 150 feet into the air.

Fountain Light Show:

Beginning at dusk, the water display is accompanied by a major multi-colored light and music show.

About the Buckingham Fountain:

Donated to the city by Kate Buckingham, the Chicago Buckingham Fountain is the city's centerpiece along the Lake Michigan shore, and is a popular destination spot for visitors and locals alike.

Made out of gorgeous pink Georgia marble, the real attraction of the fountain is the water, light, and music show that takes place every hour.

Controlled by a computer in its underground pump room, it's a dazzling display that makes for a fantastic photo opportunity and a picture perfect background, which is why you'll inevitably see a wedding party having portraits taken there during milder weather.

Want to know more? Read my list of Buckingham Fountain trivia.

Hotels in Walking Distance To Buckingham Fountain

Chicago Athletic Association Hotel: The property originally opened in 1890 as an exclusive men's club, but in its new life it operates as a lifestyle hotel catering to well-heeled men and women. It boasts 241 guest rooms, six dining and drinking establishments, an interactive game room, 17,000 square feet of event space, 24-hour fitness center, massive ballrooms and an indoor, full-size basketball court.

Embassy Suites Chicago Lakefront Hotel: Tucked into the southeast corner of Chicago's Streeterville neighborhood, the property is part of River East Center, a development that includes the hotel, luxury condominiums, an upscale bowling alley/lounge, a restaurant and a 21-screen movie theater. This location is ideal for tourists, as the hotel is within .5 miles from Navy Pier, Michigan Avenue shoppingRiver North entertainment district and the lakefront.

Hilton Chicago: Situated directly across the street from Grant Park and down the street from Millennium Park, Hilton Chicago is one of the Windy City's most venerable hotel properties. It opened in 1927 and has played host to every president since its debut. It is also the third-largest hotel in Chicago.

Loews Chicago Hotel: Located in the upscale, well-to-do Streeterville neighborhood, Loews Chicago Hotel is situated on the first 14 floors of a brand-new, 52-story tower. It boasts many amenities for the leisure and business traveler, from spacious meeting rooms and spectacular city views to Rural Society--an Argentine steakhouse concept from "Iron Chef" champion Jose Garces.

Where To Grab A Bite To Eat Near Buckingham Fountain

Acanto. The Italian-focused eatery is adjacent to The Gage, and specializes in southern Italian cuisine, including hand-crafted pastas, stone-oven pizzas and artisanal ingredients. It's directly across the street from Millennium Park and less than a block away from the Art Institute of Chicago. 18 S. Michigan Ave., 312-578-0763

Chicago Athletic Association Hotel restaurants.

The biggest draws at the hotel, which overlooks Millennium Park, are its dining and drinking establishments: Cindy’s, a rooftop restaurant and bar reminiscent of a Great Lakes beach house, and gourmet burger shop Shake Shack, a New York-based chain by famed restaurateur Danny Meyer, are two of its most popular eateries. 2 S. Michigan Ave.

Seven Lions. Noted master sommelier Alpana Singh opens her second Chicago restaurant, this time downtown in walking distance of Art Institute of Chicago and Millennium Park. The clubby restaurant offers a menu of updated retro fare paired with wine. There's also a special early menu for the theater crowd, served from 4:30 to 6 p.m. It's $39 for three courses and includes a soup of the day and dessert. 130 S. Michigan Ave., 312-880-0130

Tesori. Adjacent to Chicago Symphony Center, the Italian-focused eatery specializes in pastas, pizzas and pastries made from scratch. It’s a popular destination before and after concerts, and the front room lounge serves as a fine option for Loop workers. 65 E. Adams St., 312-786-9911

--Edited by Audarshia Townsend