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Michigan Avenue

Michigan Avenue: Our most recommended tours and activities

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: 360 Chicago Observation Deck Skip-the-Line Ticket

2. Chicago: 360 Chicago Observation Deck Skip-the-Line Ticket

Marvel at the views from 1,000 feet over Chicago’s legendary Michigan Avenue with this ticket to the 360 CHICAGO observation deck on the 94th floor of the John Hancock Center. Save time with skip-the-line access to this popular attraction. Head up to the 360 CHICAGO observation deck to take in breathtaking views of Chicago’s lakefront and view the city skyline from above. Take a peek at 4 neighboring states from this height. Feel the thrill of a 40-second ride in one of North America's fastest elevators to the observation deck to experience what 'Travel & Leisure Magazine' voted one of the best views in America. Enjoy an interactive exhibit on the Ground Floor that highlights Chicago’s rich history and showcases 9 of the city’s culturally unique neighborhoods. On the 94th floor, explore the history and architecture of the magnificent city stretched out before you. To enhance your experience, download the Magnicity App for a guided tour right from your smartphone. The App includes an interactive viewfinder, unique facts, stories and recommendations. Enjoy a thrilling photo opportunity at CloudWalk, a breathtaking 3D mural with the optical illusion of walking in the clouds. Relax and take in the view at the 94th floor’s Cloud Bar which serves up iconic Chicago snacks, neighborhood-inspired Cocktails, and a local brew, Moody Tongue, on tap. By purchasing this timed ticket, you get to skip the ticket desk and present your barcoded voucher to security to be scanned - you may have to wait in a short line at security, then head directly into the Ground Floor Exhibits, and then on to the Elevator Line.

Chicago: 1.5-Hour Romantic Sunset Cruise

3. Chicago: 1.5-Hour Romantic Sunset Cruise

Relax as you glide over the Chicago River and into Lake Michigan on this cruise. Enjoy the glow of the sunset on Chicago's sparkling skyline. Have the option to purchase delectable drinks and snacks at the onboard bar as you sail. Start your sunset cruise on the Chicago River at Michigan Avenue. Make your way along the main branch of the river towards Lake Michigan before entering the Chicago Locks, a modern engineering marvel, that will transfer the vessel onto the great Lake Michigan. The vessel will cruise along Lake Michigan as the sun sets behind the wonderful skyline offering several amazing views. Your local tour guide will give a very brief commentary along the Chicago River and entrance to Lake Michigan, but most of the 1.5-hour cruise is spent without narration, leaving you to watch the sun put on a beautiful display with the City skyline. Admire the many angles of the Chicago skyline from Lake Michigan, one of the largest bodies of fresh water in the world. Capture magical views of Chicago's twin super-skyscrapers, the famous Willis (formerly Sears) Tower and the John Hancock Building. You'll also get to admire the majesty of Grant Park with its famous Buckingham Fountain, and iconic Chicago venues such as Soldier’s Field, Adler Planetarium, and the Shedd Aquarium. During your cruise, treat yourself at the full-service cash bar featuring authentic Chicago products. Try local beer and spirits and Garrett’s Popcorn. Choose between the fresh air of the open-air decks or enjoy the comfort of the climate-controlled interiors during your cruise. 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: Hop-on Hop-off Sightseeing Tour by Open-top Bus

4. Chicago: Hop-on Hop-off Sightseeing Tour by Open-top Bus

Experience the best of Chicago at your own pace from the unique vantage point of a Big Bus tour. Board our open-top, double-decker bus as you take a relaxing ride through the city's most iconic landmarks, from the Magnificent Mile to Millennium Park. Hop on and off at our convenient stops throughout the city to discover Chicago's vibrant neighborhoods and world-famous attractions including 360 CHICAGO, Willis Tower, the Chicago Riverwalk, Museum Campus, The Bean, and more. Spend your day shopping on Magnificent Mile, riding the Ferris Wheel at Navy Pier, or sampling authentic Chicago Deep Dish Pizza. With our flexible and convenient tour, create your own itinerary and explore the city at your own pace. Track bus arrivals in real time with our free downloadable app so you always know when the next bus is coming. Marvel at the stunning skyline as you enjoy professional digital commentary in multiple languages, with earbuds provided. Hear expert insight into Chicago's rich history and culture, as well as tips on the best places to eat, drink, and shop. With comfortable seating and panoramic views, our Hop-On Hop-Off Sightseeing Tour is the perfect way to see the city. Hop off the tour as many times as you like within the validity period of your ticket and simply hop on again when you're ready to keep exploring.

Chicago: American Writers Museum Flexible Date Entry Ticket

5. Chicago: American Writers Museum Flexible Date Entry Ticket

Learn about the history of writing and how it has shaped American culture with a ticket to the American Writers Museum in Chicago. Stroll through exhibits that appeal to all 5 senses, explore the intricacies of language through games, and write your own story on a vintage typewriter. Enter the museum on any day within 14 days of your chosen date. Connect with your favorite authors and writings from more than 5 centuries while exploring and discovering works of every type, including poetry, lyrics, speeches, drama, fiction, nonfiction, and journalism. Explore the permanent exhibits of the museum. Start with the Nation of Writers Gallery and follow the interactive timeline. Stop at the surprise bookshelf and engage all 5 of your scenes. Watch videos, see dioramas, and marvel at the Word Waterfall. Next, head to the Mind of a Writer Gallery for insights into how writers think. Learn about the daily discipline and habits necessary to get the work done and the deep understanding of the language required to make the writing sing. Continue to the Chicago Gallery honoring Chicago poets, novelists, journalists, and writers who found inspiration from the Windy City. Next, bring your kids to the Children's Gallery and relax in one of the cozy reading areas or the interactive reading space.

Chicago: 360 Chicago Observation Deck Sip and View Ticket

6. Chicago: 360 Chicago Observation Deck Sip and View Ticket

Take in the beautiful views of Chicago as you enjoy a drink from our carefully curated Sip menu. 360 CHICAGO Observation Deck sits 1,000 feet over Chicago’s legendary Michigan Avenue. Located on the 94th floor of 875 N. Michigan (formerly the John Hancock Center), 360 CHICAGO gives you the opportunity to experience the best views of the Chicago Skyline and Lake Michigan. 360 CHICAGO’s concourse level includes an interactive exhibit highlighting the history of Chicago and the vibrant cultures and businesses across Chicago neighborhoods. Get inspired to explore Chicago beyond downtown after watching a short documentary titled 3 of 77 featuring an immersive view of three Chicago neighborhoods. Travel to the 94th floor in 40-seconds on one of North America’s fastest elevators and step foot onto the observation deck to experience what 'Travel & Leisure Magazine' voted one of the best views in America. Experience 360 CHICAGO Observation Deck with panoramic views of the city, lakefront, and four neighboring states. Download the Magnicity App for a guided tour right from your smartphone. The app includes unique facts, stories, and recommendations to further enjoy Chicago. TILT offers thrill-seekers the chance to see Chicago from a one-of-a-kind view. Step onto TILT and peer out of the building through floor to ceiling windows at a 30-degree angle 1,000 feet above Michigan Ave. TILT is Chicago’s highest thrill ride. CloudBar serves up iconic Chicago snacks, like Garrett’s popcorn, and neighborhood-inspired cocktails with local brewery, Moody Tongue on tap. CloudWalk takes you on a walk in the clouds across a 3D mural complete with an optical illusion – a great photo op!

Chicago: Underground Pedway & Downtown Secrets Walking Tour

7. 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, we'll familiarize you with what "The Pedway" is and how to use it. You'll walk under full blocks of buildings, up and down staircases, accessing a variety of buildings' interiors through the Pedway's secret passages. We'll see things like hallways of stained glass, underground swimming pools, and more! In the second part of our walk, we'll use what we've learned in the first part to navigate our way through the newer and more complicated section of the Pedway that most locals have never even seen. Ending with a fabulous interior (in one of the most unique architectural designs in the country!) near Millennium Park, you’ll be in the perfect central spot for continuing your exploration of downtown Chicago on your own after the tour!

Chicago: Treasures of the Golden Age Walking Tour

8. 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.  Tickets purchased for experiences run by the Chicago Architecture Center help build the greater Chicago community. When you hit the pavement on a walking tour, set sail on an award-winning river cruise (Chicago's First Lady), or visit the Center, you’re helping fund Chicago Architecture Center education initiatives like Girls Build!, Teen Fellows and the Newhouse Architecture + Design Competition. Or you may be helping to keep programs like Open House Chicago free for participants for years to come. As a certified nonprofit, all Chicago Architecture Center ticket purchases directly support local education efforts and community engagement projects.

Chicago: Lakefront and Museum Campus Segway Tour

9. Chicago: Lakefront and Museum Campus Segway Tour

Segways are amazingly fun and there is no better way to tour a world-class city like Chicago than on your own personal set of wheels--a Segway! Our 5-7 mile Lakefront Chicago Segway tour lets you learn about and view and many Chicago's attractions in a highly unique way. As you glide effortlessly and enjoy the lakefront, you can learn the history of our city from your friendly and professional tour guide. Immerse yourself in the area's countless attractions, gorgeous parks and gardens, and stunning photo opportunities. See sights like Grant Park, the BP Bridge, the Bean, and the Buckingham Fountain, as well as generous views of Lake Michigan and the majestic skyline. Segways are safe to use, easy to learn, and fun to ride. We offer a thorough training session from our certified guides before we begin the tour.

Chicago River: 1.5-Hour Guided Architecture Riverboat Tour

10. Chicago River: 1.5-Hour Guided Architecture Riverboat Tour

Join an in-depth, expert 90-minute architectural-based river boat tour that delves into one of the most remarkable American cities today. Hop aboard a 90-minute riverboat and witness Chicago from the river. Throw on your captain's hat and get ready to cruise along the Chicago River and see what architects from around the world travel to see in Chicago. Relax with onboard bar with soft drinks and snacks included. Learn why Chicago is known around the world for its architectural feats, both inside and outside of the buildings. From the 100-year-old Art Deco, Neo-Classical, and Gothic Towers, to some of the tallest modern-day skyscrapers. Witness a side of Chicago where old meets futuristic architectural endeavours. It has something for everyone in a way that no other city replicates today. Take in the architecture of the buildings that line the beautiful river. Receive detailed explanations of the construction and history of over 50 significant buildings, wrapping up at the end of the river.

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What people are saying about Michigan Avenue

Overall rating

4.6
(3,512 reviews)

Jack was our tour guide. I’m sure he has showed thousands of people this tour. However was I noticed was his enthusiasm and energy. If I didn’t know any better he sounded like it was his first week at work. It is awesome!!

We loved seeing Chicago from the river and learning about the architecture’s rich history. Our tour guide John was excellent. Very knowledgeable and entertaining!

We had a great time on this tour. Our guide, Kaylee, was very knowledgeable and fun!

Guide was very nice snd funny. This gave another view of the city and it was nice!

Amazing! The guide was awesome - this is a must do in Chicago!