Chicago Water Tower, Chicago

Chicago Water Tower, Chicago

The intersection of Michigan Avenue and Pearson Street in Chicago serves as a fascinating meeting point between the city's historical legacy and its contemporary identity. Here, the towering Water Tower Place, long considered the pinnacle of Chicago shopping, stands in contrast to one of the few remaining remnants of Old Chicago: the historic Water Tower. This unique limestone structure, adorned with peculiar turrets that Oscar Wilde humorously described as resembling "a castellated monstrosity with pepper boxes stuck all over it," was constructed in 1869 to accommodate a standpipe, regulating water pressure from the nearby Pumping Station.

Both of these edifices played pivotal roles in the city's ambitious endeavor to provide safe drinking water to its burgeoning population. It wasn't until 1900, when the city reversed the flow of the Chicago River to redirect its waste southward toward St. Louis, that this goal was truly achieved. Remarkably, these buildings withstood the devastating Great Fire of 1871 that consumed much of downtown Chicago, becoming enduring symbols of the city's resilience and remaining among its most iconic landmarks.

Today, the interior of the Water Tower has been repurposed to host temporary photo exhibitions centered around Chicago themes, while the Pumping Station houses the Chicago Water Works Visitor Center, where visitors can obtain a wealth of maps, brochures, and information about the latest cultural events happening throughout the city. Notably, a recent addition to the Pumping Station is a 270-seat theater that showcases productions by the Lookingglass Theatre Company.

Want to visit this sight? Check out these Self-Guided Walking Tours in Chicago. Alternatively, you can download the mobile app "GPSmyCity: Walks in 1K+ Cities" from Apple App Store or Google Play Store. The app turns your mobile device to a personal tour guide and it works offline, so no data plan is needed when traveling abroad.

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Chicago Water Tower on Map

Sight Name: Chicago Water Tower
Sight Location: Chicago, USA (See walking tours in Chicago)
Sight Type: Attraction/Landmark
Guide(s) Containing This Sight:

Walking Tours in Chicago, Illinois

Create Your Own Walk in Chicago

Create Your Own Walk in Chicago

Creating your own self-guided walk in Chicago is easy and fun. Choose the city attractions that you want to see and a walk route map will be created just for you. You can even set your hotel as the start point of the walk.
Chicago Navy Pier Walking Tour

Chicago Navy Pier Walking Tour

Additional to scenic views of the lake, the boats, and the city skyline, the Navy Pier offers a variety of attractions on the waterfront – for kids as well as adults – that draw nearly ten million people annually, making this Chicago's most visited spot. Yes, some may see it as a “tourist trap”, but it is worth the time and money to spend some time here, so take this self-guided walk...  view more

Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 1.0 Km or 0.6 Miles
Loop District Architecture Walking Tour

Loop District Architecture Walking Tour

Chicago features an outstanding architectural legacy, having long been connected with some of architecture's most important names: Frank Lloyd Wright, Louis Sullivan, Mies van der Rohe, Holabird & Root, and others. The multi-layered Loop District, in particular, offers an extensive number of Chicago’s famous architectural “must-sees” – from modern skyscrapers to historic buildings...  view more

Tour Duration: 3 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 4.6 Km or 2.9 Miles
Chicago Chinatown Walking Tour

Chicago Chinatown Walking Tour

Tucked away just south of the Loop, the Chinatown of Chicago was established in 1912 and is considered one of the best examples of American Chinatown. While it may be one of Chicago’s smallest neighborhoods geographically, it is big on character, colors, sights, sounds, and flavors. Here, you’ll find a wide range of unique boutiques, specialty shops, religious sights, authentic Chinese...  view more

Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 1.7 Km or 1.1 Miles
Frank Lloyd Wright Architecture Tour in Oak Park

Frank Lloyd Wright Architecture Tour in Oak Park

Oak Park is a village in Cook County, Illinois, adjacent to Chicago. Architect Frank Lloyd Wright and his wife settled in Oak Park in 1889, and his work heavily influenced local architecture and design, including the Frank Lloyd Wright Home and Studio. Oak Park is home to the world’s largest collection of buildings designed by Frank Lloyd Wright. View the exteriors of nearly a dozen of...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.2 Km or 2 Miles
University of Chicago Walking Tour

University of Chicago Walking Tour

Founded in 1890, the University of Chicago is among the world’s most prestigious educational institutions. As of 2020, the University’s students, faculty and staff have included 100 Nobel laureates, giving it the fourth-most affiliated Nobel laureates of any university.

Set in the heart of Chicago’s famous eclectic neighborhood, Hyde Park, the campus is worth a visit as it offers a...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.5 Km or 1.6 Miles
Chicago Old Town Walking Tour

Chicago Old Town Walking Tour

Settled in 1850 by German immigrants, Chicago’s Old Town neighborhood is a popular destination for locals and visitors who cater to the entertainment venues, restaurants, pubs, coffee shops and boutiques – all of which have turned an area once referred to as the “Cabbage Patch” into an attraction that rivals Navy Pier, Wrigley Field and the Magnificent Mile.

Start your Old Town walking...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.6 Km or 1.6 Miles

Useful Travel Guides for Planning Your Trip


Chicago Souvenirs: 15 Distinct Local Products to Bring Home

Chicago Souvenirs: 15 Distinct Local Products to Bring Home

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