Chicago Water Works Visitor Center - A New Look

Water Tower nestled in the city center


Stepping out of the Loyola University Art Museum at lunchtime, my cousin and
I wondered where to go for lunch.  It was a summer day and crowds of shoppers and tourists were everywhere.  Something about the Chicago Water Works across the street caught our attention and we headed there.  Each of us remembered going there to purchase gifts to take to hosts abroad.  Stepping inside, we were delighted to see changes that make it more interesting accommodating.  This is the perfect spot for visitors, anyone who has recently moved to the city and long time residents.  So many services and activities are gathered in one spot.

Enjoying a meal


The recently renovated Chicago Water Works is a visitor welcome center that offers many attractions. The space had great photos and a pleasant atmosphere.  We picked up some information about park district events and some maps.  We noted that you could tour a Chicago landmark, learn about Chicago attractions, check out some of Chicago's hottest gift ideas, purchase discounted theater tickets, and even see a play at the Looking Glass Theatre.

Inside the Chicago Water Works Visitor Center


Since we were looking for lunch, we were happy that Chicago Flat Sammies, a
Lettuce Entertain You restaurant was there.  It’s menu has a fast-food aspect with a range of choices that are interesting,  and reasonable. Each of us enjoyed our food very much and the ambiance that was enhanced by the noontime cabaret.

Leaving the visitor center


The location is interesting in many ways, in that the Chicago Water Works has a pumping capacity of 250 million gallons of water per day and serves a population of more than 390,000 people in the central district of the city. Built on the site of Chicago's first municipally owned water works in 1867, the Pumping Station was completed in 1869 as part of a plan developed by Ellis Sylvester Chesbrough, Chicago's first Commissioner of Public Works. Located across Michigan Avenue from the Historic Water Tower, the Pumping Station was, in turn, connected via a tunnel to a wooden pentagonal intake crib located two miles east, offshore in Lake Michigan.

The City of Chicago Store


City Of Chicago Store continues to be a great place for visitors to find items to remind them of their Chicago visit and for residents to find gifts to bring to friends in other places.  The official city store sells city equipment, now retired and recycled into treasured artifacts that many collect. Merchandise includes street signs, parking meters, street banners, and other collectibles as well as a myriad of Chicago souvenirs and unusual gift ideas. And you can shop the City of Chicago Store on line.

Hot Tix is operated by the League of Chicago Theaters and offers half-price tickets to more than 125 theaters throughout the Chicago area. Tickets are sold for the day-of-performance, Sunday through Thursday. On Friday, half price tickets for many weekend shows are available. Hot tix is also a Ticketmaster outlet selling full-price tickets to all Ticketmaster events.

Getting information


The Chicago Office of Tourism is proud of their toll free hotline 1-877-CHICAGO; 1-866-710-0294(TTY) that responds to visitor inquiries about events, exhibits, programs, accommodations, sightseeing, and requests for a free Chicago vacation-planning package. The hotline is staffed 24 hours, 365 days a year.

Across Michigan Avenue from the Water Tower


Exploring Chicago Visitor Information is provided on-line through the city's
website and also provides monthly calendar information and links to hundreds
of Chicago's many cultural institutions and attractions.

Chicago Water Works Visitor Center
163 E. Pearson at Michigan

Hours:
Mon-Thru 8am-7pm
Fridays 8am-6pm
Saturday 10am-6pm
Sunday 10am-4pm

Chicago Water Works is closed on Thanksgiving and Christmas Day.

Photos: courtesy of the City of Chicago

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