Chicago Loop
Sightseeing Walking Tours

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Our most recommended Chicago Loop Sightseeing Walking Tours

Chicago River: 1.5-Hour Guided Architecture Cruise

1. Chicago River: 1.5-Hour Guided Architecture Cruise

Experience more of Chicago by boat than on any other architectural cruise. See architectural highlights and enjoy an open-air deck or climate-controlled interior as you travel the main River and its north and south branches. View all of Chicago's architectural highlights during this comprehensive sightseeing tour. Be entertained by the expert and friendly tour guides as they explain the 130 year-long history behind the skyline, while bartenders and staff keep you comfortable with refreshments.  Choose between the fresh air of the open-air decks or enjoy the comfort of the climate-controlled interiors during your cruise. The tour starts at the Michigan Avenue (DuSable) bridge and goes up the main branch of the Chicago River past Wolf Point. It then cruises along the north and south branches of the river, before heading back past the Chicago Riverwalk towards Lake Michigan. On the way, learn about ornate, historic early skyscrapers like the Wrigley Building and the Tribune Tower, the imposing art deco Merchandise Mart, mid-century skyscrapers like the Mies Van der Rohe AMA Building. Don't miss the circular Marina City Towers, the majestic Willis Tower (formerly the Sears Tower and the tallest building in Chicago) the soaring AON Center, and more modernist structures like Aqua, Trump Tower, Nuveen, and the new Vista Tower. During your cruise, have the opportunity to enjoy a full-service cash bar featuring authentic Chicago products, including local beer and spirits, and Garrett’s Popcorn. Don’t forget to take a selfie at the Grand Staircase at the front of the boat or pose for photos at the picturesque stern or bow of this classic vessel.

Chicago: Gangsters and Ghosts 2-Hour Walking Tour

2. Chicago: Gangsters and Ghosts 2-Hour Walking Tour

See a different side of Chicago on a family-friendly guided tour and hear the tales of the ghosts that haunt the city. Explore the famous Chicago Loop district with interesting stories hidden behind each turn. Embark along the Chicago Loop, known as the vice district during the 1920s and 30s. See the places where gangsters such as Al Capone used to party, make deals, and carry out business. Visit haunted locations and old crime scenes led by historians. Stop at the Congress Hotel, Death Alley, and the Palmer House. Enjoy a refreshment along with way, with frequent stops and a restroom break.

Chicago Food Tasting: 2.5-Hour Guided Walking Tour

3. Chicago Food Tasting: 2.5-Hour Guided Walking Tour

Combine an enjoyable walk around Chicago's downtown to see some of the city’s top sites with stops to sample some of the city’s famous tastes. On this 2.5-hour guided walk, you'll get to taste the foods Chicago is best known for doing right. Enjoy deep-dish pizza, the original Italian pastries, Chicago-style hot dog, and a classic Italian beef sandwich. Enjoy a VIP craft beer sample for an additional fee. Along the way, you’ll see some of Chicago's most iconic spots including Millennium Park, the Chicago Riverwalk, the Art Institute, and the famous Bean. By the end of the tour, your stomach will be full of delicious food and your head will be full of fascinating knowledge about Chicago. During the colder months, the tour makes use of the unique underground Pedway system that connects much of downtown and keeps you warm and cozy. On warmer days, you’ll walk at street level to enjoy the large promenades of the loop. The leisurely walking pace is suitable for people of all fitness levels.

Chicago: City Minibus Tour with Optional Architecture Cruise

4. Chicago: City Minibus Tour with Optional Architecture Cruise

Start with pickup from your downtown Chicago hotel. Board your climate-controlled minibus and embark on your guided sightseeing tour. Begin in the heart of downtown Chicago, at The Loop. Here you'll see incredible architecture, including the world's first skyscrapers. You'll even go inside one that features a beautiful lobby designed by Frank Lloyd Wright. The stop also includes views of The Chicago Board of Trade and the Willis (Sears) Tower. After The Loop, head through Grant Park, which is known as the city's front yard. The centerpiece of the park is the Buckingham Fountain. Museum Campus is up next, with three museums, Soldier Field, and the most spectacular skyline views in the city. After a ten minute photo stop, travel around Millennium Park, featuring The Bean, before heading up north along Wacker Drive, which parallels the Chicago River. Arrive in the fancy Gold Coast nightlife area and residential neighborhood - one particularly interesting sight here is the original Playboy Mansion. Then you'll take a trip through part of Lincoln Park, and end the tour by zipping along Lake Shore Drive, past beaches, and old mansions, before being dropped off at your hotel. For those wanting the ultimate Chicago experience, add on the option of the world-famous architecture cruise of Chicago. After your minibus tour and a short break, climb aboard a state-of-the-art cruise vessel for a 75-minute cruise of all three branches of the Chicago River. Marvel at the architecture that has made the city so legendary. Gain insights into the buildings and engineering of a city that gave birth to the skyscraper and is the spiritual home of modern American architecture. An expert guide will lead you down the Chicago River to uncover hidden gems, as well the city’s most renowned landmarks, such as the John Hancock building and more.  

Chicago: Secret Food Tour

5. Chicago: Secret Food Tour

Sample the culinary delights of Chicago with the help of a fun and enthusiastic foodie guide. Be amazed by the city's eclectic mix of architecture and public art along the way. Taste delicious bites as you explore the city's central Loop district for 3 hours. Get better acquainted with what sets this friendly Midwest metropolis apart from other destinations and get a great insight into the art, architecture and everyday life in the city. Benefit from your guide's local knowledge and get tips to help you sightsee and explore the food and dining scene some more in your own time.

Chicago: Treasures of the Golden Age Walking Tour

6. 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: Must See Chicago 90 minute Walking Tour

7. Chicago: Must See Chicago 90 minute Walking Tour

Starting at the Chicago Architecture Center (CAC), this tour gives you an overview of many of the must see buildings and landmarks in the City of Chicago. Led by an expert guide who has been rigorously trained by the CAC to be equal parts storyteller and educator, you will get a fantastic introduction to the city’s wide variety of architectural styles, construction methods, and materials. There is so much to see downtown, and this tour makes it easy and fun to learn about some of the buildings that make Chicago’s architecture world-class. There are lots of photo opportunities along the way, so be sure to bring your camera! The tour covers three of the main focal points of Downtown Chicago – the Chicago Loop, the heart of historic Chicago; the Chicago River, the lifeblood of the city; and Millennium Park, where the iconic “The Bean” sculpture is located. Landmark buildings covered on this tour include soaring modernist skyscrapers (Willis Tower, John Hancock Center, and AON Building), buildings paying homage to classical styles (Wrigley Building, Tribune Building, the Chicago Theatre, and the Art Institute of Chicago), Art Deco edifices (Carbide & Carbon Building and the Chicago Board of Trade Building), and recently completed skyscrapers (Aqua & Trump Tower). Finally, admission to the Chicago Architecture Center (CAC) is also included with your walking tour ticket. CAC exhibits focus on Chicago’s diverse neighborhoods, housing types, leading architects and future projects, and include the largest scale model of the city, with more than 4,250 miniature buildings and a cinematic backdrop animating key moments in its history. The stories of the city begin at the CAC.

The Chicago Theatre Marquee Tour

8. The Chicago Theatre Marquee Tour

Explore the grandeur of The Chicago Theatre, which opened in 1921, on a 1-hour guided tour. Your guide will accompany you through the elegant lobby, sweeping staircase and the majestic auditorium, which is complete with murals above the stage and on the ceiling. During your visit, you will get access to various sections of the seven-story, 3,600-seat auditorium and an intimate view of the 29-rank Wurlitzer theatre pipe organ, the first musical instrument having attained a city landmark status.  Next, view artist signatures on the dressing room walls, including Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Dolly Parton and many more. You will finish your tour on a high and feeling like a star as you get the chance to stand on the famous Chicago Theatre stage. Once called “the Wonder Theatre of the World”, the Chicago Theatre hosts over 175 events a year, bringing together the world’s brightest stars and greatest productions.

Chicago: Underground Pedway & Downtown Secrets Walking Tour

9. Chicago: Underground Pedway & Downtown Secrets Walking Tour

Come experience Chicago's famous "Pedway" – the mysterious underground tunnels downtown that keeps us all warm & dry in bad weather. Wandering the Pedway, through hidden corridors of stained glass and even underground swimming pools, you'll access interiors that seem to come up out of nowhere. In the first part of our 2-hour walk, on weekdays, you'll see beautiful and historic government building interiors, learning not only about the design and history of the buildings, but also about the movies filmed there. On weekends, as government buildings are closed, we instead explore a couple stunning interiors with stained glass mosaics that will leave you awe-struck. You'll walk under full blocks of buildings, up and down staircases, accessing these buildings through the Pedway's secret passages. In the second part of our walk, you'll discover some of the other "secrets of the Loop" hidden in plain sight. What is the meaning behind "The Bean"? What is the significance of Chicago and Route 66? How can someone walk right by a garden and not even SEE it -- or walk by a building and not see it, for that matter? You'll find so many secrets, packed into a leisurely 2-hour walk with your expert Chicago guide. Ending with a fabulous “secret” interior near the Art Institute, you’ll be in the perfect central spot for continuing your exploration of downtown Chicago on your own after the tour!

Chicago: Historic Skyscrapers Guided Walking Tour

10. Chicago: Historic Skyscrapers Guided Walking Tour

Take a step back in time to the late 19th century to see and experience these world-famous early tall buildings that transformed a city devastated by fire into a center of skyscraper design and engineering. Let your expert guide immerse you in the architectural history of this city on this walking tour of Chicago.  Highlights of this walking tour include: Burnham and Root's Rookery (1888), with its Moorish and Romanesque exterior and its interior atrium redesigned by Frank Lloyd Wright; Adler and Sullivan's Auditorium Building (1889), a masterpiece of acoustical and structural engineering; and Holabird and Roche's Marquette Building (1895), an outstanding example of Chicago commercial building design.

Frequently asked questions about Chicago Loop Sightseeing Walking Tours

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Other Sightseeing Options in Chicago Loop

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What people are saying about Chicago Loop

Overall rating

4.7 / 5

based on 309 reviews

Great trip. Fairly comfortable seating. We sat near the back with our backs to the stairwell. This was nice as it added the support of the boat itself to our turning to look. Go. You won't be sorry.

We had an extremely knowledgeable and personable guide on our cruise, the boat was clean and comfortable, overall a great way to learn about Chicago architecture and history at the same time.

Sarah was an awesome guide! Very funny and knowledgeable! We really enjoyed our tour with her!

It was a great time. The narration was very informative. Awesome tour

Great tour about the history of gangsters and ghosts in Chicago!