From 28 miles of beaches, some of the tallest buildings and most famous architecture in the country and tons of unique landmarks, there’s a lot to see in Chicago! If it’s your first time in the city, it can be hard to find your way around to all the things on your to-do list and have enough time to do it all. The best way to get in all the sightseeing on your trip is on a guided tour of the city! Most Chicago tours fit all the best sightseeing into a few hours. Get a glimpse and hear the story of all Chicago’s important landmarks on a tour, and you’ll still have plenty of time to go back and explore the things you want a better look at afterwards. For many attractions, just passing by is all it takes, while others, like the museums and observatories require a little more time. There are tons of exciting ways to explore Chicago though, so choose the one that works best for you!
Whether you’re on the Chicago River or Lake Michigan, getting out on the water is a fun way to cool down a bit in the summer. Boat tours are available year round though, and in the winter these heated vessels are perfect for romantic dinner cruises. These tours are often voted one of the best things to do in Chicago because of the views, the entertaining guides and the great food. While most of the other tours visit about the same sights, there’s no other way to get this unique view of the city skyline from the water! Boat tours come in a variety of options, so whether you go with a lunch, brunch or dinner cruise, a fast-paced tour on a speedboat or an informative architecture river cruise, you’re sure to have a good time with a fantastic view.
Make sure you pack your comfortable shoes and sunglasses for these tours! Many of the walking tours in Chicago focus on the city’s architecture and landmarks close up. There are tons of takes on walking tours though. While you can take one of the popular sightseeing walking tours, there are also plenty that focus on specific neighborhoods, foods, music or movies. There’s a walking tour in Chicago for every interest.
Chicago is one of the most bikeable cities in America, and it’s fun to pedal through the city exploring all the sights. This is a great activity for families to do together, because kids don’t get bored sitting in one place the whole time, and rarely get as tired as they would walking around. Bike to all the top attractions in the city, or on one of the food tours to burn some calories as you travel from restaurant to restaurant.
Oh, food tours you ask? There are tons of great restaurants in this city, but it’s hard to visit them all when you’re limiting yourself to only eating out 2-3 times a day. It’s tough, we know. Luckily there are food tours that visit 5 or more restaurants in one afternoon. Get a slice of pizza from several of Chicago’s most famous pizzerias to find out which one’s your favorite, or take a tour with a little more variety! While these tours are mainly about the food, you also walk, bike or get on a bus from place to place, so there’s quite a bit of sightseeing involved on these tours as well.
These kind of tours are becoming more and more popular. Most companies require riders to be at least 14 or older, so if you can meet that requirement, you’re in for a treat! These tours provide the best of all worlds, because you don’t get tired like you might walking or biking, but you also get the benefit of being outdoors and getting close and personal with all the places you’re visiting!
No matter which tour you decide on in the Windy City, you’re sure to have a great time, learn quite a bit and go home with an impeccable roll of film to add to your scrapbook!
This article was written by Lizz Riggs editor of ChicagoTraveler.com.