Chicago is a beautiful city with lots to see! Whether you’re here for the breathtaking architecture and abundance of history or you came to feast on all of the famous dishes, you’re in for a real treat. While you can see all and do all of this stuff on your own with a couple of days time and a google search, the best way to get the true Chicago experience is by taking a tour. Many people frown at the idea of paying for an experience you can do yourself for free, but the guided tours in Chicago are something you won’t be able to experience in any other city. These tours are far more entertaining, while being just as informational, and there’s no better way to see all of the top Chicago attractions in just one afternoon! All of the best of things to do in Chicago can and should be experienced on a tour, and there’s a different type of tour for every traveler, on every trip!
One of the most popular ways to tour Chicago is aboard a boat on the Chicago River or Lake Michigan. All the different boat tours in Chicago give tourists the most incredible view of the city skyline that you won’t be able to get any other way, unless you were to rent a boat and take it out yourself. Learn all about the second city and enjoy all of its famous architecture from your entertaining and knowledgeable tour guide. Many of the boat tours include a brunch, lunch or dinner with more live entertainment playing in the background, while some are more fast-paced and adventurous, and some are even pet friendly!
The best and most affordable way to eat your way through Chicago is definitely on a food tour. While some food tours cater specifically to the travelers who came for all the different pizzas, some take guests to a wide variety of restaurants, sampling all of Chicago’s best cuisines. These tours don’t just focus on the food though. As you travel from restaurant to restaurant over the afternoon, your guide will take you past many of the biggest attractions in Chicago! Walk right by the Willis Tower, famous museums and Millennium Park and pick the places you’ll want to come back to later. After all the food is gone of course.
Segway tours are becoming increasingly popular in many cities, and Chicago is a great city for these fun modes of transportation. Take a segway tour by day or night and ride past some of Chicago’s most beautiful sights. These tours are fairly family friendly, but many only allow children 12 and up to ride. That being said, these tours emphasize safety first, so nobody ruins their trip with a nasty fall, and the segway rides are always enjoyable!
Chicago is famous for its architecture, and many people enjoy getting up close and personal with the buildings and structures throughout the city. Walking tours take place all over Chicago, so whether you’re exploring the city through the underground Pedway that lets out at many popular destinations, or your tour takes you down the Chicago River, you’re sure to see some of the most amazing sights and learn tons of interesting facts about Chicago’s history, architecture and even the locations many famous movie scenes have been filmed!
Bus and trolley tours are another great way to see the city. For those who don’t want to walk, ride a segway, eat too much or maybe are prone to seasickness, a bus or trolley may be the way to go! Hop aboard an air-conditioned (or heated, depending on the season) motorcoach and your friendly bus driver will take you exploring all over the city as they point out all the top attractions and recommend places for you to visit later. This is a great thing to do upon your arrival so that you can start scouting out the rest of your trip, and everything you want to do in each neighborhood.
These are not the only ways to see the city, (you can also bike, get behind a horse in a carriage ride, or hop in a helicopter) but they are certainly the most popular. On top of all the different ways to explore the Windy City, there are also countless variations on each tour! While many tours offer a traditional experience and take you to some of the top attractions, you can also find tours that specialize in movies, music, haunted places and more! All these tours allow everyone to see the parts of Chicago that interest them most, in the best way they can think of!
This article was written by Lizz Riggs, editor of ChicagoTraveler.com.