It's one of those things that you always appreciate, but never really think about. One of landscape's great masterpieces that rarely gets a spotlight - the wind beneath landscape design's wings, if you will. Yes, my friends, I am talking about the fountain, that fair beacon of watery artistry, so often outshined by its floral or architectural counterparts. The humble water-spewing construct now gets its day in the spotlight as I highlight some of Chicago's finest fountains and why you should visit them.

Buckingham Fountain (301 S. Columbus Dr.)

This is probably the most recognizable of Chicago's fountains (photo above), and therefore, must be on this list. Located in Grant Park, right on Lake Michigan, Clarence F. Buckingham Memorial Fountain first opened to the public in 1927, with legendary American composer John Philip Sousa directing the band as its opening. The water in this impressive and beautiful fountain was manually operated until 1980, when a computer took over. It remains one of the focal points of Chicago's lakefront and one of the largest tourist attractions in the city.

Fountain of Time (5531 S. Dr. Martin Luther King Dr.)

Fountain of Time sculpture in Chicago

This beautiful Washington Park fountain has a rich history and has been a part of Chicago for 90 years. Dedicated to the city in 1922, this beautiful work of steel reinforced concrete was built to memorialize one hundred years of piece between Great Britain and the United States. The fountain depicts one hundred characters all passing before Father Time, who stands in the center.

Exelon Fountain (Chase Tower Plaza)

Exelon Fountain

Located in the heart of Chicago's downtown business and commerce district, this astounding rectangular jet fountain is one that serves as a meeting-place for Chicago's many residents and tourists. The fountain inhabits the plaza in front of the Chase building and shares the space with other public art masterpieces, including a bronze clock and Chicago's Four Seasons ceramic tile walk mosaic.

Drexel Fountain (East of Washington Park)

Drexel Fountain

Located just east of Washington Park in Drexel Square, the Drexel Fountain is the oldest existing public sculpture in any of Chicago's Parks. Built on land donated to the city by real estate tycoon Francis M. Drexel, the fountain commemorates the man vital to Chicago's development. Dedicated in 1881 by Drexel's two sons, this fountain is a stunning representation of Chicago's long and fascinating history.

Crown Fountain (Millennium Park)

Crown Fountain Chicago

Containing two, 50-foot towers that project facial images of Chicago citizens, the Crown Fountain is one of the city's most recognizable displays of public art. During summer days, visitors can cool off by wading in the structure's reflecting pool. Or, if they're daring enough, by taking a stroll under the fountains cascading waterfall.  

Fountain of the Great Lakes (South Garden at the Art Institute of Chicago)

Fountain of the Great Lakes sculpture in Chicago

The beautiful bronze fountain located on the south side of the Art Institute is a part of the McCormick Memorial Courtyard. The fountain, designed and built by Lorado Taft depicts five women arranged in a way that allows water to flow through them the same way it does through the Great Lakes. With construction finishing on the fountain in 1913, it was moved to its current home in 1963, making it a longstanding fixture in Chicago's public art scene.  


Additional photo credits: Adam Alexander Photography (Buckingham Fountain, Fountain of Time, Crown Fountain, Fountain of the Great Lakes)