Chicago Cultural Center

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Chicago Cultural Center: Our most recommended tours and activities

Chicago: Hop-on Hop-off Open Top Bus Tour

1. Chicago: Hop-on Hop-off Open Top Bus Tour

From your vantage point on the double-decker sightseeing bus, you'll enjoy panoramic views of Chicago’s finest skyscrapers, including the 875 N Michigan, the Willis Tower, and the Wrigley Building. Take in the city's impressive landmarks as your tour guide provides entertaining commentary and insight into Chicago's history. Enjoy exploring this dynamic city with the freedom to hop on and hop off as many times as you wish to visit attractions such as the Shedd Aquarium and the Field Museum. You’ll travel down the famous Magnificent Mile, considered one of the great avenues of the world, and continue across the Michigan Avenue Bridge over the Chicago River. The bridge connects the north and south sides of the city. This hop-on, hop-off bus tour of Chicago makes it easy for you to explore the city's sights at your own pace. There are 12 stops, where you can hop off to visit attractions and explore places of interest. The stops are conveniently located to make navigating your way around the city easy, and with a choice of 24- or 48-hour tickets, you can take your time discovering Chicago. Be sure to take advantage of admission to the Chicago Architecture Center, included if an appropriate option is selected, to dive deeper into the city that invented the skyscraper. So don't wait, just hop on an exciting journey through Chicago.

Chicago: Treasures of the Golden Age Walking Tour

2. Chicago: Treasures of the Golden Age Walking Tour

This Historic Treasures of Chicago tour covers the most significant historic architectural landmarks in Chicago’s Loop. Your expert guide, trained by the Chicago Architecture Center, will focus on great cultural buildings from the late 19th and early 20th centuries, which harkened back to earlier time periods and were designed in revival styles such as Beaux Arts, neo-Georgian and neo-Gothic. Marvel at exteriors and interiors of dazzling beauty and startling originality, and get a glimpse inside some of the city's most beloved buildings.    The highlights of this walking tour will include the Chicago Cultural Center, home to the world's largest Tiffany dome; the iconic Marshall Field's department store, now Macy's on State; and the Palmer House, a beautifully restored hotel from the 1920s. 

Chicago: Inside the Loop Architecture Tour

3. Chicago: Inside the Loop Architecture Tour

Get to know Chicago on this guided walking tour around The Loop. See Chicago come to life as a local guide shows you the iconic history, art, and architecture of the city. See the Palmer House’s golden peacock doors, the Tiffany Dome, and more. Start by meeting your guide at a coffee shop near the Monadnock Building. The Monadnock Building is famous amongst engineering circles for its impressive characteristics. Move on to other notable places like the Chicago Federal Reserve. Enter the Chicago Board of Trade Building and Rookery Building for up-close views of their ornate surfaces. Visit Inland Steel Building and the Palmer House, a hotel famous for its intricate golden peacock doors. Along the tour, get to see one of Frank Lloyd Wright's first masterpieces. Finish off your tour at the iconic Chicago Cultural Center. Stand under the Tiffany Dome, the largest Tiffany glass dome in the world. End your experience seeing color and light dance across the room.

Chicago: Riverwalk Guided Walking Tour

4. Chicago: Riverwalk Guided Walking Tour

Tag along on this essential Chicago experience: a guided walking tour of the Chicago Riverwalk. Spend your day exploring art, architecture, and all the locals’ favorite spaces. Visit the Meatpacking District, Chelsea Market, DuSable Bridge, and more. Birthed around the banks of the (now) Riverwalk, Chicago is a city teeming with tales. With the help of your local guide, discover the stories behind the sites you visit and see. Visit all four districts of the Riverwalk, each offering its own flavor of Chicago. Pass iconic sites including the Wrigley Building, Tribune Tower, DuSable Bridge, and the Marina Towers. As an added perk, become a Chicago insider with behind-the-scenes access at the McCormick Bridgehouse & Chicago River Museum. Stop at Heald Square and see the city’s many monuments and memorials. Along the tour, spot the touching Vietnam Veterans Memorial. Continue strolling down the Riverwalk and hear stories at the site of Old Fort Dearborn and the disaster that was the SS Eastland. Then, pass by the Jeweler's Building and find out if Al Capone really had a super-secret speakeasy at the very top. Nearing the end of the tour, take in a Picasso gifted to the city by the artist himself, see the first church at the Chicago Temple, and end under the prisms of light filtering in the Tiffany Dome at the Chicago Cultural Center.

Chicago: Downtown Architectural Interiors Tour

5. Chicago: Downtown Architectural Interiors Tour

Jump right into beautiful architectural interiors of the Roaring '20s, taking in the class and elegance of a classic Art Deco masterpiece. Go back 50 years to the 1880s and explore the structure and style of one of the most famous and oldest buildings in downtown Chicago. Next, you'll marvel at a vaulted ceiling from the Postmodern era, surrounded by Moorish details. Finally, you'll end looking up at the world's largest Tiffany stained-glass mosaic, and very close to the world-famous Millennium Park with one of the most famous landmarks of Chicago, "The Bean."

Chicago: Private Architecture Tour - 3 or 6 Hours

6. Chicago: Private Architecture Tour - 3 or 6 Hours

Start with pickup from your hotel and meet your local tour guide, an expert on the architecture of Chicago. Travel through the city in luxury private transportation to discover its rich architectural history. See famous buildings such as the Sears Tower, The John Hancock Building, and the Wrigley Building Discover Gothic gems along the Magnificent Mile, historic brownstones, and the Frank Lloyd Wright homes of Oak Park. Enjoy a unique added value opportunity to view not only the outside but the amazing hidden interior of many of the buildings on the tour. At your discretion, make numerous stops along the tour to go to the top of the sky decks of famous skyscrapers. Walk along the Chicago River and enter the inside of buildings designed by many famous architects. This tour has several different options. Enjoy the sites of the downtown Chicago area with its many skyscrapers, amazing interiors and great photo opportunities. You may also choose the Oak Park Frank Lloyd Wright Homes and Studio option in lieu of the downtown tour where you will have the opportunity to view the interior of his very first home and studio along with over two dozen of his original structures lining Forest Street in Oak Park anchored by Unity Temple, considered to be the world's first building of the modern architectural style. Each of the above separate options are 3 hours long. If you are to choose both options for a full 6-hour touring experience, enjoy a lunch stop at one of Chicago's many famous hot dog stands or deep-dish pizza joints.

Other Sightseeing Options in Chicago Cultural Center

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What people are saying about Chicago Cultural Center

Overall rating

4.5 / 5

based on 497 reviews

Kylie gave an exceptional tour of many of Chicago’s landmark buildings providing excellent architectural and historical analysis in an interesting and easy to understand fashion. She shared interesting information about Chicago’s origins and redevelopment after the Chicago Fire. Throughout the tour she gave us moments to observe, appreciate, and take photos of the various styles of architecture.

The best way to see downtown! The fact that you can get on or off at any of the 12 stops was so great. And you’re ticket last for 12 hrs I didn’t even realize when booking it but really made our next day as well. they have headphones to listen to an automated tour but we enjoyed the driver’s info more. We will definitely book again thank you!

Wonderful overview of some interesting buildings. Well paced and the guide Ross, told lots of interesting stories. You don't have to love architecture to enjoy this tour.

Very informative. We try to do this the first day in each new city. Take one full trip around then the second trip we hop on and off.

Our guide was great and made for a very interesting and informative tour. I would highly recommend!