10 Best Fountains In Chicago, Illinois

fountains in chicago
Alyssandra Raiza
Alyssandra Raiza 

Chicago is known not just as a center of finance and commerce, but also as a place where art and culture can flourish. This is evident in many parts of the city, including its various parks and fountains! Though fountains are easy to dismiss as mere water fixtures, they often do a lot more than just help keep the surrounding areas cool. Chicago, in particular, is home to fountains that are excellent works of art! Many of these fountains are not just beautifully designed, they also have interesting stories to tell. Visiting the Windy City soon? Check out our picks for the best fountains in Chicago, Illinois, and be sure not to miss them on your next trip!

1. Crown Fountain

Chicago - Crown Fountain - Millennium Park (2713868085)
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Serge Melki used under CC BY 2.0

Perhaps one of the more unusual, yet memorable fountains in Chicago is the Crown Fountain in Millenium Park. This towering structure is an interactive art installation called “Faces of Chicago”, designed by artist Jaume Plensa. Portraits of some local residents are projected on the large LED screens, and the movement of the water is timed to match the projections. The Crown Fountain also encourages its viewers to interact with the water - making this fountain a popular haunt during the humid summer months!

Crown Fountain

Address: 201 E Randolph St, Chicago, IL 60602, USA

Website: Crown Fountain

Opening hours: 6am - 11pm (daily)

2. Buckingham Fountain

Buckingham Fountain in Chicago at night
Source: Photo by user Kkmd used under CC BY-SA 3.0

Located in Grant Park, Buckingham Fountain is easily one of the most popular fountains in the city. It also happens to be one of the largest fountains in the world! Built in 1927, the fountain boasts a beautiful Rococo style, similar to that of the Latona Fountain at the Palace of Versailles. Historically, the fountain is said to represent Lake Michigan - its four sets of sea horses symbolizing the states of Illinois, Wisconsin, Michigan, and Indiana, which surround the lake. It is worth noting that the fountain is only operational from mid-April to mid-October. Be sure to catch one of the water shows and light shows that are held throughout those months!

Buckingham Fountain

Address: 301 S Columbus Dr, Chicago, IL 60605, USA

Opening hours: 8am - 11pm (daily)

3. Rose Petal Fountain

CBG 067
Source: Photo by user Ronincmc used under CC BY-SA 4.0

Nestled in the scenic Chicago Botanic Garden is the Rose Petal Fountain! Designed by Perron Collaborative, the fountain features 30 feet (9.14 m) of cascading water, with a base in the shape of a single rose petal. Surrounded by blossoming annuals, the scenery of the fountain goes through lots of changes throughout the year. It especially popular during the summer months, where the plants are at their tallest and most beautiful. Set against a panoramic view of the Willamette Valley, the Rose Petal Fountain is an excellent spot to take photographs during your visit to the Botanic Garden!

Rose Petal Fountain

Address: 1000 Lake Cook Rd, Glencoe, IL 60022, USA

Opening hours: 8am - 5pm (daily)

4. Spirit of the Great Lakes Fountain

Also known as “The Fountain of the Great Lakes”, this historic fountain designed by American sculptor Lorado Taft represents just that. The five women in the sculpture are arranged in such a way that the flow of water is similar to that of the Great Lakes - flowing east from Lake Superior to Lake Ontario, and on to the St. Lawrence River. Today, it can be found at the Art Institute of Chicago’s South Stanley McCormick Memorial Court.

Spirit of the Great Lakes Fountain

Address: 111 S Michigan Ave, Chicago, IL 60603, USA

Website: Spirit of the Great Lakes Fountain

Opening hours: 9am - 6pm (daily)

5. Mary Bartelme Park and Fountain

Among the newer and more modern fountains in Chicago is the gateway fountain at the Mary Bartelme Park. One may not even notice that it is a fountain at first. However, once the water comes on, visitors - especially young children - cannot resist running through the mist cascading from its geometric arcs! This is the perfect place to cool down on a hot summer’s day!

Mary Bartelme Park and Fountain

Address: 115 S. Sangamon St., Chicago, IL 60607

Website: Mary Bartelme Park and Fountain

Opening hours: 6am - 11pm (daily)

6. Vietnam Veterans Fountain

Dedicated in 2005, the Vietnam Veterans’ Memorial was designed to replace the original memorial along Wacker Drive. The fountain features a large, rectangular fountain basin. With the names of perished in the war etched in the fountain’s basin and stone walls, the Vietnam Veterans Fountain serves as a fitting tribute to the fallen soldiers. Viewers can also learn more about the war through the inscriptions and other details of the fountain. The fountain was designed by Gary Tilley, who was a veteran of the Vietnam War himself.

Vietnam Veterans Fountain

Address: 35 E Wacker Dr, Chicago, IL 60601-2314

7. Fountain of the Tritons

Also found at the Art Institute of Chicago’s South Stanley McCormick Memorial Court is the Fountain of the Tritons. Designed by Carl Milles and installed in 1931, the fountain is an iconic fixture in the Art Institute. Surrounded by beautiful Dutch Elm trees, the fountain itself was designed as a tribute to John Ericsson, maker of the first iron-clad turret ship used in the Civil War, as well as other Swedish Americans.

Fountain of the Tritons

Address: 111 S Michigan Ave, Chicago, IL 60603, USA

Opening hours: Fri - Wed: 6pm - 11pm (closed on Thu)

8. Fountain Girl

Simply known as “Fountain Girl”, this charming bronze fountain seems unassuming at first, but it actually has one of the most colorful histories. The original Fountain Girl, designed by George Wade in 1893, was made in an attempt to get the park’s visitors to drink fresh water instead of liquor. Unfortunately, the Fountain Girl was stolen from Lincoln Park over six decades ago. To this day, its whereabouts remain unknown. However, in the year 2013, a replica of the Fountain Girl sculpture was installed through the efforts of private donors and local officials.

Fountain Girl

Address: 2045 N Lincoln Park West Chicago, IL 60614

Website: Fountain Girl

Opening hours: 6am - 11pm (daily)

9. Drexel Fountain

fountains in chicago | drexel fountain
Source: th0maspope on Instagram

Drexel Fountain is the oldest public sculpture in Chicago, dedicated to the memory of Francis M. Drexel, an Austrian banker and real estate speculator who donated to the city of Chicago for the construction of the now-Drexel Avenue. Surrounded by lush foliage, the fountain features the image of Neptune, riding a dolphin, as well as other symbols for bodies of water. The fountain is especially beautiful at night, when the fountain’s lights and water shows begin, set against the Chicago skyline.

Drexel Fountain

Address: 5100 S Drexel Ave, Chicago, IL 60615-3704

Website: Drexel Fountain

Opening hours: 6am - 11pm (daily)

10. Wicker Park Fountain

fountains in chicago | wicker park fountain
Source: joshbern on Instagram

The Wicker Park fountain was installed as the park’s centerpiece way back in the 1890s by the J.L. Mott Ironworks Company. This two-tiered fountain’s most distinctive features are the grotesque faces from which the water comes out - giving the fountain the nickname, “Gargoyle Fountain”. Although it was initially made with much a higher basin, the fountain’s basin is now low enough so that kids can splash around in it - adding to the charm of this beloved piece.

Wicker Park Fountain

Address: 1590 N Damen Ave, Chicago, IL 60622, USA

Opening hours: 6am - 11pm (daily)

The beauty and stories of Chicago's fountains

Although it can be easy to take them for granted, fountains are not just mere decorative pieces. Rather, these fountains are important parts of Chicago’s public spaces and art. These beautiful structures have plenty of stories to tell - be sure not to miss out on them while you are in the Windy City!

Disclosure: Trip101 selects the listings in our articles independently. Some of the listings in this article contain affiliate links.

Get Trip101 in your inbox

Unsubscribe in one click. See our privacy policy for more information on how we use your data

Constantly learning and exploring the world!

 Want to contribute as a Local Expert?
Explore Chicago
Looking for accommodation?
Good things are meant to be shared!