Washington Square Park, located in the Near North Community of Chicago, is a 3-acre park that’s full of history. The park is nicknamed Bughouse Square and was the original site of free speech in the city of Chicago. In addition to hosting many soapbox free speech sessions, it also hosted Chicago’s first Gay Pride Parade. The park was added to the National Register of Historic Places on May 20, 1991.

    Sitting across from the Newberry Library, Washington Square Park is a quiet park featuring a fountain and a floral garden. Unlike Millennium Park or Grant Park, Washington Square Park does not have structured programmes or activities. It is, however,  a nice place to visit so you can get away from the chaos of the city for a while.

    Washington Square Park in New York - one of the highlights of 10 Best Parks in New York and 10 Most Instagrammable Places in New York (Read all about New York here)

    Highlights of Washington Square Park

    The biggest highlight of Washington Square Park is the beauty of its surroundings. When you're there, allow yourself time to relax and unwind from some of the busier outings that you’ve had throughout your stay in the city. Sit on one of the park benches and view the gentle greenery against the robust cityscape.

    Take a walk through the interconnecting paths and admire the different trees, the variety of colours, and, depending on the season, the fragrances of flowers. There’s a good chance you’ll come across a bridal party photo session, as the park is a popular photo op. At the West end of the park, visit the memorial for Chicago's Premier Free Speech Forum.

    History of Washington Square Park

    The American Land Company donated the land to the city of Chicago in 1842 to use as a public park. In 1869, the city began improvements on the park by planting trees, laying down the lawn, building picket fencing, and bisecting diagonal walks. In the 1890s, an attractive Victorian fountain was added. However, about a decade later, the park had deteriorated to the point where the fountain had been razed.

    In 1906, Alderman McCormick decided to work on the park, donating his own salary towards the improvements. By the 1910s, the area had grown more diverse and the mansions had turned into flophouses. It was at this time that the park received its nickname, Bughouse Square. It was also around this time that Washington Square Park would become a Speaker’s Corner, where people would rant about anything with the regulars forming The Dill Pickle Club.

    Good to know about Washington Square Park

    After your time is up in Washington Square Park, you’re in a great location to continue your day. You’ll be surrounded by food, salons, spas, shopping, a library, and performance art. Since you’re in the Near North Community you might as well make the most of your visit.

    To help plan your day, visit online and find the best places to park as well as directions for the best route to the park. While you’re at it, you can also take a look at options surrounding the park, so you can make the most of your trip.

    Washington Square Park in New York

    Location: 901 N Clark St, Chicago, IL 60610, USA

    Open: Daily 6 am to 11 pm

    Phone: +1 312-742-7895

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