Visit Chicago's giant, spitting face and get soaked in slobber


No visit to the Windy City is complete without a terrifying crawl onto the Willis Tower Skydeck, a visit to the delightfully tacky Navy Pier,...

No visit to the Windy City is complete without a terrifying crawl onto the Willis Tower Skydeck, a visit to the delightfully tacky Navy Pier, or a hot dog dinner at Hot Doug’s, but after you've finished gawking at Cloud Gate, there's one crazy attraction in Millennium Park that's the perfect summer stop in Chicago - a giant human face that cools you down by spitting on you. 

Chicago_-_Crown_Fountain_-_Millennium_Park_(2713868085)
Wikipedia

The Crown Fountain was designed by artist Jaume Plensa, and with the help of Krueck and Sexton Architects, made it's official debut in July 2004. Since then, the interactive work of public art has become of the most iconic, if underappreciated, landmarks in the whole city. Plensa captured over 1,000 of Chicago's residents on video, and incorporated them all into what is essentially a giant video tower with a high powered hose in the middle.

800px-20080517_Crown_Fountain_towers_from_overhead
Wikipedia

The huge faces of Windy City locals appear on the screen to smile at passers-by before puckering up and launching a nice stream of "saliva" straight at the bathing-suit-clad kids waiting in the reflecting pools below. As the faces are swapped, the screens go black and waterfalls are unleashed from either side of the tower. Who knew that getting spit on could be so refreshing?

800px-Crown_Fountain_-_silhouettes
Wikipedia

Crown Fountain wasn't always so loved, though. In fact, it's installation was one of the most controversial in the history of Millenium Park. been one of. Before construction even started on the loogie-hocking tower, city planners were concerned the piece's massive height would "violated the aesthetic tradition of the park", whatever that means. Still, Plensa pushed on with his designs despite the skepticism, and the result was an unveiling that was met with an outpouring of support not just from locals, but from the national news media.

800px-20070616_Crown_Fountain
Wikipedia

Today, Crown Fountain is a must-visit attraction in the city of Chicago, regardless of whether or not you plan to get spit on. 

Places explored in this article:

This was originally written for Roadtrippers, a great resource for anyone interested in travel.
Want more articles by Greg Newkirk? Find them here!