Grant Park and Buckingham Fountain

#2 in Best Things To Do in Chicago
Grant Park and Buckingham Fountain picture
Grant Park and Buckingham Fountain
1 of 4
MattFrankel/Getty Images

Key Info

337 E. Randolph St.

Price & Hours

Free
6 a.m.-11 p.m. daily

Details

Parks and Gardens, Recreation, Free Type
Half Day to Full Day Time to Spend
4.9scorecard
  • 5.0Value
  • 4.5Facilities
  • 5.0Atmosphere

Often referred to as "Chicago's front yard," Grant Park is a 319-acre swath of green space that starts at the eastern edge of the Loop and stretches down to the northern fringes of the Near South Side. First-time visitors should plan on spending a fair amount of time in Grant Park: This is where you'll find several of Chicago's most popular things to do, including The Field Museum, the Art Institute of Chicago and Shedd Aquarium. (Millennium Park also rubs elbows with the northwest corner of Grant Park.) Baseball diamonds, flower gardens, walking paths and wide-open grassy terrain are available as well.

At the heart of Grant Park is Buckingham Fountain. One of the largest fountains in the world, this tiered water feature boasts 133 jets that shoot water as high as 150 feet into the air during 20-minute choreographed displays (which take place every hour on the hour between 9 a.m. and 10:35 p.m. from April to October). At night, the fountain's performance is accompanied by lights and music.

Though some recent travelers said there was little to do in this park, many appreciated Grant Park's meticulously manicured grounds and superb views of downtown Chicago. Before you visit the park, be sure to check the Chicago Park District's website for events listings, since some festivals and concerts – such as Lollapalooza and Taste of Chicago, which take place here – cause crowds to swell and some areas to become restricted.

Grant Park is open to visitors every day from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. Admission to the park and Buckingham Fountain are free, but select attractions within the park operate set hours and may charge entry fees. Some of the park's events and festivals also cost extra. Restrooms, grab-and-go eateries, a playground and a skate park are offered on-site, and during the winter, visitors can skate on the park's ice rink. Grant Park can be accessed from a variety of L train stops, including Monroe, Adams/Wabash, Jackson and Roosevelt – all lines except for the Yellow and Blue lines service one or more nearby stations. A few parking garages and limited street parking are available within walking distance.

See all Hotels in Chicago »

More Best Things To Do in Chicago

Millennium Park
Lincoln Park Zoo
Type
Time to Spend
1 of 20
#1 Millennium Park

A first-time visit to Chicago isn't complete without a stop at Millennium Park. Situated in the Loop just north of the Art Institute of Chicago, this 24.5-acre space is used to showcase cutting-edge art, architecture and landscaping; it also acts as a backdrop for concerts and festivals. Most visitors come to

Read more
A Ryan/Flickr
See full list of Best Things To Do in Chicago »

Explore More of Chicago

Recommended

The 21 Most Beautiful Waterfalls to See Around the World

Discover which stunning falls offer once-in-a-lifetime travel experiences.

Kyle McCarthyApril 25, 2019

The 20 Best Michigan State Parks

Two peninsulas, four Great Lakes and innumerable natural highlights elevate Michigan's state parks.

Zach WatsonApril 18, 2019

50 Awesome Vacation Ideas for Every Type of Traveler

Consider these vacation ideas for your next getaway.

Holly JohnsonApril 11, 2019

The 13 Best National Parks in California

You won't regret adding one of these national parks to your California itinerary.

Rachel CenterApril 10, 2019

10 Beautiful Places to Visit in the South of France

Plan a getaway to these special destinations to soak up culture, cuisine and quaint atmospheres.

Gwen PratesiApril 8, 2019

Best Carry-on Luggage of 2019

U.S. News rated the best carry-on luggage, considering recommendations from experts and consumers.

Lyn MettlerApril 3, 2019

The 11 Best Utah National Parks and Monuments to Visit

From birding to bouldering to boating, Utah's national parks have it all.

Zach WatsonApril 2, 2019

The 30 Best Zoos in the U.S.

Get an up-close look at wild creatures in natural settings at America's top animal parks.

Kyle McCarthyMarch 28, 2019

15 Scenic Train Rides to Add to Your Bucket List

Climb aboard these locomotives for jaw-dropping views.

Christine SmithMarch 26, 2019

13 Top Places to Visit in Tuscany, Italy

Ditch the crowded streets of Rome or Milan and head to Italy's picturesque countryside.

Lyn MettlerMarch 25, 2019