Sightseeing Tours in Chicago

by Katie Hammel  

rivercruiseWhen it comes to touring Chicago, you have multiple options: bus, boat, bike, foot or Segway.

By Bus
The Chicago Trolley and Double-Decker Co., operates hop-on, hop-off double-decker bus tours of Chicago. The Signature Tour package costs $26 from 9am to 6pm (until 8pm in summer) with buses running approximately every 15 minutes.

The bus stops at the Hancock Center, River North, Water Tower, Navy Pier, Magnificent Mile, Michigan Avenue Bridge, Theatre District, Willis Tower Skydeck, Millennium Park, Art Institute, Shedd Aquarium and Field Museum.

Along the way, passengers will learn all about the history of Chicago and the sights they’ll be visiting. The best part is that when you want to stop and explore an area or visit an attraction, you can just hop off and then hop back on the next bus when you are done. In addition to the Signature Tour, the company also offers specific neighborhood tours for a more in-depth look at the city.

Another option for a bus tour is the Chicago Film Tour, which showcases sight used in various movies filmed in the city, and offers a full history of cinema in Chicago. The tour is perfect for film buffs who want to see a lot of Chicago in a short time, or anyone looking for a more unique way to explore Chicago.

>> more on the Chicago Film Tour

By Boat
One of the best tours in Chicago is the Chicago Architecture Foundation River Cruise. Run by actual docents from the Chicago Architecture Foundation, these tours are packed with information and still totally entertaining. Even locals rave about this tour because they learn new facts about Chicago every time they take it. The tours last about an hour and costs $32 for adults. The tour is offered from May to November and can be booked online in advance (highly recommended on weekends and during peak summer months). The cruise passes over 50 notable buildings and sights in Chicago, with full narration from the tour docents along the way.

Shoreline sightseeing also offers 30-minute tours of the Lake from April to October. Adult prices range from $14-17 per person.

By Bike
Get some exercise while you see the city on a Bike Chicago bike tour. Pedal in the steps of President Obama, cruise along the Lakefront or through Chicago’s parks, or visit one of the city’s great neighborhoods. Prices range from $25-$35 for adults.

By Segway
There are multiple Segway tour companies, but one of the most popular is City Segway Tours. The tour stops at the Field Museum, Adler Planetarium, Grant Park, Millennium Park, Soldier Field, and Shedd Aquarium,  and takes in the city skyline from the Lakefront. The cost is $70 per person and you can reserve online. The tour may be worth it for those who really want to ride a Segway, who want a quick overview of the city, or who have problems getting around but still want to see the city by foot. But if you have more time or actually plan to visit any of the stops on the tour, it’s better to skip this one and see these sights on your own.

By Foot
For those who prefer to take in the sights while exploring the city by foot, the Chicago Architecture Foundation also offers a variety of walking tours that are available all year round. Most take about two hours and cost $15. Walk Chicago Tours offers private and customizable tours of art, architecture, history and culture, ranging from $20-$35 per adult. Foodies can even take a Chicago Food Tours walking tour that stops for tastes at multiple restaurants.

Check out more Chicago sightseeing deals and read about unusual tours in Chicago

Photo by Smart Destinations

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