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Tours & Events

Best Tours in Chicago

Last Updated

August 28, 2023

Chicago, the third largest city in the United States, is a true architectural gem. Renowned for its impressive skyline, it boasts iconic structures such as the Willis Tower (formerly known as the Sears Tower) and the Tribune Tower. The Monadnock Building, which held the title of the world's tallest building upon its completion in 1893, is also a notable landmark. This Midwestern hub has thrived since the early 19th century and emerged as a modern cultural capital after being rebuilt following the devastating Great Fire of 1871. Chicago is not only a haven for architecture enthusiasts but also an art lover's paradise. The Art Institute of Chicago houses a world-class collection, while captivating public art sculptures by esteemed artists like Alexander Calder grace the city streets. To truly immerse yourself in Chicago's vibrant culture, look no further than taking an exceptional private or small group tours. Discover the city's rich history, stunning architecture, and artistic treasures with confidence and expert guidance.

Art Institute of Chicago Tour with Skip-the-Line Tickets

The Art Institute of Chicago Tour is an exceptional experience that should not be missed by art lovers visiting the city. Hosted by a knowledgeable local expert, this tour takes you on a journey through the museum's extensive Beaux-Arts complex, which houses an astonishing collection of over 260,000 works from all corners of the globe.

During the tour, you will have the opportunity to examine iconic pieces from renowned artists such as van Gogh, Picasso, Monet, Seurat, Hopper, Dali, O'Keeffe, Warhol, and many more. The breadth and depth of these collections are truly awe-inspiring.

The tour begins with an orientation to the museum, providing you with a solid understanding of its history and architecture. This sets the stage for an immersive experience as you explore the diverse collections and their historical context. From the dazzling works of the Impressionist and Post-Impressionist era to the captivating Asian and American collections, you will discover a world of art that spans five millennia.

One of the highlights of the tour is delving into the lesser-known but equally impressive Medieval and Renaissance collections. You will also have the opportunity to uncover hidden gems in the Byzantine and Ancient Galleries, expanding your understanding of different periods of art.

Throughout the tour, your expert guide will provide personalized attention and tailored insights, ensuring that you get the most out of your visit to the world-renowned Art Institute of Chicago. The aim is to leave you with an increased awareness of the museum's significance for the city and its global standing, as well as a deep appreciation for its eclecticism, architecture, and the various art movements and eras it encompasses.

Chicago Architecture Tour

This tour provides a comprehensive introduction to the main periods and styles that define Chicago architecture, offering participants a deeper understanding of the city's architectural heritage.

Starting at the Monadnock Building, once the world's tallest office building, participants are guided through downtown Chicago by an expert guide. As they walk through Federal Plaza, they have the opportunity to admire Alexander Calder's iconic red sculpture, Flamingo, and engage in discussions about the interconnectedness of interior and exterior spaces. Notable structures such as the Post Office, Dirksen Federal Building, and Kluczynski Federal Building serve as focal points for further exploration and conversation.

Continuing the journey, participants encounter the historic Chicago Board of Trade Building, where they learn about the blend of historic and contemporary styles that define this architectural gem. The towering Willis Tower, formerly known as Sears Tower, offers a moment of awe as participants marvel at its construction techniques and impressive stature. Although not ascending the tower during the tour, participants gain a deeper appreciation for the architectural ingenuity behind this iconic structure.

The tour may also include visits to other significant landmarks, such as the nineteenth-century Rookery, with its stunning central court and Frank Lloyd Wright-designed elements. Alternatively, participants may explore the Chase Tower and its adjacent glass and mosaic plaza or the Marquette Building, a testament to the architectural prowess of Holabird & Roche.

As the tour progresses northward towards the river, participants are captivated by the striking facade of the Reliance Building, designed by Burnham & Root. This architectural masterpiece, originally intended to be self-cleaning, showcases the ambition and innovation of its creators. The tour concludes at the Chicago Cultural Center, where participants are treated to the breathtaking Tiffany Dome, the largest of its kind in the world. This Beaux Arts building, once Chicago's first Public Library, holds a rich history and serves as a symbol of resilience and architectural grandeur.

The final leg of the tour takes participants to the Michigan Avenue Bridge, where they learn about the Tribune Tower, Marina Towers, and the Wrigley Building. These iconic structures represent the outcome of international competitions, urban experiments, and the city's architectural and commercial dominance.

By the end of the Chicago Architecture Tour, participants gain a deeper understanding of the city's architectural heritage, its urban past, and future development. They leave with an orientation to the city and a newfound appreciation for the visionary architects who have shaped Chicago's captivating skyline. Embarking on this tour promises an enriching experience that unveils the secrets and beauty hidden within the architectural wonders of Chicago.

Our Recommended Hotels in Chicago

Planning a trip to Chicago and wondering where to stay? Here's a curated list of the top recommended hotels in London that offer a blend of luxury, comfort, and a prime location: 

  • Waldorf Astoria Chicago

  • Trump International Hotel & Tower Chicago

  • Viceroy Chicago

  • Thompson Chicago

  • The Peninsula Chicago

  • Four Seasons Hotel Chicago

  • The Langham, Chicago

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