Chicago Tourism: New Ways to See the City
Each year, close to 32 million leisure travelers converge on Chicago to see all of the sights and sounds that make the city so great. Many Chicago tourism companies offer group or private tours of the city via trolley, bike, or Segway, as well as on foot. These scheduled Chicago tours are a great way to see all of the major tourist attractions, including the Willis Tower, Lincoln Park, and Wrigley Field. If you want to experience the city your way and enjoy some parts that are off the beaten path, simply create your own itinerary of landmarks and diversions.
Chicago for Foodies
In addition to foods that are uniquely Chicago, like Italian beef, deep-dish pizza, and Chicago-style hot dogs, the city has an ethnically diverse culinary landscape that reflects the foods of the immigrants who settled there. The New Maxwell Street Market, open every Sunday from 7 a.m. until 3 p.m., offers a taste of Mexico with foods like the al pastor taco and filled churros. Nosh on bratwurst and sauerbraten at two iconic German restaurants, the Chicago Brauhaus and the Berghoff, or enjoy some Asian fare in Chinatown. For the best in Italian eats, take a stroll through Little Italy. Enjoy the antipasto Italiano for two at Bruno's, share a bowl of sheet pasta at The Rosebud, and end the evening with some tiramisu and espresso at Francesca's on Taylor.
Chicago Dine Around offers a unique way to experience the foods of the city. A high-end coach bus will take you and other tour guests to three separate city eateries, so you can enjoy appetizers at one venue, your main course at another, and finally dessert at a third restaurant. Tours leave from the John Hancock Center each Saturday at 6 p.m.
The Family Experience
Chicago is a great place for families to spend quality time. The Lincoln Park Zoo and the Navy Pier are enthralling places to spend a day. Pritzker Park's Eye, a 30-foot recreation of an eyeball by local artist Tony Tasset, is a must-see for kids, while the Adams Water Playground or the Archer Park Water Playground are great places to cool down on a warm day. The Little Beans Café is the perfect place to enjoy coffee or a snack while the kids explore the interactive play space. Future firefighters will enjoy seeing the city from an antique fire truck courtesy of O'Leary's Fire Truck Tours. For pirate adventure, take an hour-long wacky pirate cruise along the Chicago River where your host, Buccaneer Bob, will teach your children nautical knots and pirate speak.
Explore Chicago's History
Get a feel for Chicago's rich and vibrant history by touring some of the city's most famous landmarks. The Chicago Water Tower, which was originally constructed as part of the city's municipal water system in 1869, is one of the few buildings that managed to survive the Great Chicago Fire of 1871. The building is now home to the City Gallery, which showcases the work of local photographers and artists. Frank Lloyd Wright left his mark on Chicago through the Frederick C. Robie House and the Heurtley (Arthur) House. Get a taste of the Chicago mafia years by visiting the Lexington Hotel, which is reputed to have been gangster Al Capone's headquarters, or 2122 North Clark Street, the site of the 1929 St. Valentine's Massacre.
Unique Chicago Tours
Visitors who want to really head off the beaten path have plenty of options. Explore the Chicago Pedway, a maze of subterranean tunnels, on a tour hosted by comedienne Margaret Hicks, or go for the weirder side of the city with a Devil in the White City tour, which chronicles the history of serial killer H.H. Holmes. As far as Chicago tourism goes, the Untouchable Tours, which offer a view of what Chicago was like during the roaring twenties, and the Chicago Hauntings tours offer something very different.
Booking your Chicago vacation
Chicago is known as one of the most haunted places in the country. With a variety of Chicago ghost tours, it's easy to scare yourself silly.
If you're on your way to Chicago, be sure to check out segway tours. You'll be able to see more of the sights if you're not walking the whole time.
Be sure to book your tickets for a Chicago Architecture Foundation boat tour before you leave. You won't want to miss out on seeing all of Chicago's architecture from the water.