Nature lovers, architecture buffs, public art aficionados — Grant Park has something for everyone. And so does Buckingham Fountain, the park’s centerpiece. Located right along the lake in the heart of the park, this majestic fountain is the one Grant Park attraction you shouldn’t miss. Here’s why.

It’s one of the biggest in the world

Buckingham Fountain in Grant Park during summer.

The crown jewel of Grant Park is fit for a king — literally. The design was inspired by one of the ornate fountains at the Palace of Versailles in France, built for Louis XV. It just happens to be double the size of the original, making it one of the largest fountains in the world. The size is meant to symbolize the enormity of nearby Lake Michigan and uses as much as 15,000 gallons of water per minute.

It puts on a show

Buckingham Fountain

At dusk, Buckingham Fountain comes to life. Head to the park after sunset and you’ll be treated to a spectacular light and music show every hour on the hour. If you’re there during the day, don’t miss the hourly, 20-minute water show featuring the fountain’s center jet shooting water 150 feet into the air. The fountain is active from May through mid-October.

It’s got a cool history

Buckingham Fountain during the day

Opened to the public in 1927, Buckingham Fountain was commissioned by avid art collector and philanthropist Kate Sturges Buckingham as a memorial for her brother Clarence. The “wedding cake” design was the work of architect Edward H. Bennett, while the fountain’s sculptures — including four sets of Art Deco-style seahorses representing the four states bordering Lake Michigan — were created by French artist Marcel Loyau, who won the Prix National at the 1927 Paris Salon for the project.

Explore more about Grant Park.