Historic Water Tower
Historic Water Tower
4
Points of Interest & LandmarksObservation Decks & Towers
About
Suggested duration
< 1 hour
Suggest edits to improve what we show.
Improve this listing
Tours & experiences
Explore different ways to experience this place.

Top ways to experience Historic Water Tower and nearby attractions

The area
Address
Neighbourhood: Near North Side
How to get there
  • Chicago • 5 min walk
  • Grand • 9 min walk
Reach out directly
Detailed Reviews: Reviews order informed by descriptiveness of user-identified themes such as cleanliness, atmosphere, general tips and location information.
Popular mentions

4.0
228 reviews
Excellent
88
Very good
102
Average
36
Poor
1
Terrible
1

Cheryl J
Indianapolis, IN529 contributions
Nov 2023 • Family
Quick stop to see a great piece of Chicago history. Worth walking to and stopping to see and take pictures.
Written 13 November 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

BradJill
Hong Kong, China1,59,141 contributions
May 2023
The historic Water Tower is a landmark building located along N. Michigan Avenue at the Jane Byrne Plaza. It was built along with the pumping station across the street by prolific architect William W. Boyington (1867-69) and made up entirely of limestone which allowed the two buildings to survive the infamous fire of 1871 that destroyed almost the entire city of Chicago. As such, the Water Tower and Pumping Station are two of the oldest surviving buildings in the city. It is also recognised as an American Water Landmark (1969) for being the second oldest water tower in America.

From the Jane Byrne Plaza you can enjoy an up close look at the Water Tower and its somewhat whimsical castle like exterior. The City Gallery is located with and is open for visitation when exhibitions are being held. It makes for an interesting building to view while browsing or shopping along the Magnificent Mile.
Written 22 May 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

betsnow
Tucson, AZ1,324 contributions
Mar 2023 • Couples
Easy historical site to visit as you explore the beautiful downtown city of Chicago. We had no idea the amazing architecture in this city and The Water Tower is worth meandering by. It is pretty awesome to see such a unique structure made of limestone so long ago that survived the fires.
Written 1 April 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Grover R
Pensacola, FL18,030 contributions
Jun 2022
This is rarity in downtown Chicago as this building, due to its stone exterior, is one of the only survivors of the Chicago fire. So it offers the visitor a rare glimpse of Old Chicago juxtaposed to New Chicago and the difference is jarring, see the pictures. It is on the Magnificent Mile so it is easy to combine with other sites in the city.

The building itself is an awesome stone structure that appears closer to Europe than the US and certainly Chicago, the home of the modern skyscraper. Also interesting that the building to supply water survived the fire. Still this is another different architectural style you can find in this city.
Written 24 November 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Lois C
4 contributions
May 2022 • Couples
My husband and I visited Chicago for our 55th wedding anniversary trip. It was our first vacation since COVID, and we have always wanted to see the city. We stayed in the Hampton Inn hotel in the theater district. It was very convenient to public transportation and was in walking distance to many attractions. We had some cold rainy weather which prevented us from taking the Sunday boat tour to hear the history of the architecture of the buildings, but we went to the Field Museum, had a Chicago style hotdog, visited Navy Pier, Millennium Park, Cloud Gate, tour of Wrigley Field, and had a delicious deep dish pizza. We spent a wonderful day at the Chicago Art Institute, as well. The Skydeck in the Willis Tower was a highlight for us both! Our son who has been to Chicago with his wife and famiky twice, helped us plan a great trip.
Written 6 June 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

James A
Windsor, Canada18,686 contributions
May 2022 • Solo
I went by the Water Tower on my way to the Starbucks Reserve so it was not the attraction I was aiming for but it was in a nice little park with lots of benches to sit and relax on and there were families there. I stayed a few minutes and took some photos. It was really nice but don’t go out of your way to see it.
Written 27 May 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Betty
2,780 contributions
Oct 2021
The building is impressive and it is an architectural landmark. There is an art gallery inside but it is temporarily closed.
Written 6 November 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

CharlieinTexas
Austin, TX3,911 contributions
Jul 2021 • Couples
This building was across from our hotel, and visible out the window. When I first saw the building from our hotel window I thought it was awfully small for a church. And then realized that it wasn’t a church. Really impressive architecture, worth a very close look from the outside.
Written 25 July 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

The_Loup_Garou
Phoenix, AZ1,66,281 contributions
Sep 2019
I first encountered the Water Tower, on N Michigan Ave (Magnificent Mile), when we first stayed at the near-by Ritz Carlton. That was about 25-30 years ago. On this September trip, we were staying near-by, but at the Westin, a block, or so away.

The Water Tower is really two buildings, on either side of N Michigan Ave, the Water Tower itself, with a small art gallery, and then the Chicago Avenue Pumping Station, much of which is now a Department of Tourism office, a small theater, the Looking Glass Theater Company.

For me, the architecture is the primary draw, and it always has been, however, there is much history associated with the Water Tower - the second oldest remaining such tower in the USA. Even in the dull light of a cloudy September day, the structure is beautiful, reaching into the sky 185'. As much of this area has been rebuilt, with much more modern structures, the Water Tower is a throwback - a throwback to 1869. Visually, it almost seems out of place, but then maybe it’s the newer, much more modern structures, which are themselves, out of place?

One positive effect that I encountered on this day, was that the light was soft, as too often, these two structures have some hard shadows cast upon them, by the taller, surrounding buildings.

Besides walking around each of the buildings, I also got to gaze upon the Tower Building, from the restaurant, a few floor up in the Park Hyatt hotel - a view that I had never taken in before.

I spent probably an hour and a half between both buildings, and would recommend that one budget at least an hour, to take both structures in, to their fullest.
Written 1 February 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Eva J
Moscow, Russia2,698 contributions
Aug 2019 • Solo
This water tower saved the city during a major fire. There are tall buildings quite close by, you don't see it from as far away as you'd expect.
Written 21 January 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Showing results 1-10 of 163
Is this your Tripadvisor listing?
Own or manage this property? Claim your listing for free to respond to reviews, update your profile and much more.
Claim your listing

Historic Water Tower (Chicago) - All You Need to Know BEFORE You Go (with Photos) - Tripadvisor

Frequently Asked Questions about Historic Water Tower


Restaurants near Historic Water Tower: View all restaurants near Historic Water Tower on Tripadvisor