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Historic Water Tower


Water Tower Place
Digital Vision./Photodisc/Getty Images

Water Tower Address:

800 N. Michigan Avenue




Admission to the Visitor's Center and City Gallery is free.

Water Tower Hours:

Monday - Saturday 10:00 a.m. - 6:30 p.m., Sunday 10:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.

Getting There By Public Transportation:

CTA bus #3, #145, #146, #147, or #151

About the Historic Water Tower:

Even though it stands in the shadows of the tall buildings surrounding it, when the historic Water Tower was first built in 1869, its 154 foot height was probably pretty impressive.

The Water Tower was commissioned to house a 138 foot tall standpipe, which helped with water flow and pressure for the pumping station. But the Water Tower's main claim to fame is that it is one of only a very few structures that remained standing after the great Chicago Fire in 1871 and today is a monument to that event.

While it has served in its original use since 1911, it is a popular tourist attraction. The Water Tower is home to the City Gallery, the "city's official photography gallery", which presents Chicago-themed photography exhibitions all by Chicago photographers. The pumping station (which is still operational) has a Visitor's Information Center which provides tons of free pamphlets and information about Chicago's large number of things to do.

The Water Works building has been converted to a live theater space, and is currently the base for the well-known (thanks in part to the fame of one of its co-founders, David Schwimmer) Lookingglass Theatre Company.

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