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Chicago Cultural Center

Chicago Cultural Center: Our most recommended tours and activities

Chicago: Big Bus Hop-on Hop-off Sightseeing Tour

1. Chicago: Big Bus Hop-on Hop-off Sightseeing Tour

From your vantage point on the double-decker sightseeing bus, you'll enjoy panoramic views of Chicago’s finest skyscrapers, including the John Hancock Center, the Willis Tower, and the Wrigley Building. Take in the city's most impressive landmarks while listening to entertaining commentary and insight into Chicago's history. Explore 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 Natural History Museum. You’ll travel along the famous Magnificent Mile, considered one of the great avenues of the world, and continue across the Michigan Avenue Bridge over the Chicago River. This hop-on, hop-off bus tour of Chicago makes it easy for you to explore the city's sights at your own pace. All 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. With the 48-hour ticket, enjoy a non-stop Panoramic Night Tour of the city included with your ticket! Admire the illuminated skyline from the Museum Campus and see River North's vibrant nightlife scene.

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: Wind and Souls Adults Only Guided Ghost Tour

3. Chicago: Wind and Souls Adults Only Guided Ghost Tour

Enjoy a spine-tingling walking tour learning about Chicago's gruesome and haunting past with a local guide. Hear stories about paranormal activity in the Alley of Death, a librarian's spirit that haunts a local library, the ghost of Al Capone, and a hotel that is said to have inspired Steven King. Begin your tour at The Chicago Theater and hear the tragic story of how 602 people lost their lives at the Iroquois Theater in the 1903 fire. Continue walking to the nearby James M. Nederlander Theater and learn about the paranormal activity in the Alley of Death. Move on to the Chicago Cultural Center to hear about Frederick H. Hild, the second librarian in the history of Chicago's public library system, who is claimed to be haunting the local library.  Walk to nearby Lincoln Park and understand why it's considered to be more of a burial ground than an actual park. You will then stop by The Art Institute of Chicago and discuss how more than 300,000 items are considered to be haunted.  Then it's time to visit Congress Triangle Garden to view the Congress Plaza Hotel. Considered to be one of the most haunted hotels in the country, Congress Plaza Hotel is said to have served as a source of inspiration for a short story written by Stephen King. Complete your tour at the Exchequer Restaurant and Pub, where you will hear about Al Capone's dark past, and how people claim his ghost haunts the entirety of Chicago.

Chicago: Downtown Architectural Interiors Tour

4. 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

5. 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.

Best of Chicago: Skydeck, River Cruise, & Loop Tour

6. Best of Chicago: Skydeck, River Cruise, & Loop Tour

The Loop is where Chicago’s history and bustling present truly intersect. Boasting some of the city’s most impressive buildings, The Loop may be a business district but it’s much more than that—including the birthplace of the world’s first skyscraper. Begin your tour at the base of the Monadnock Building where your expert local guide will be waiting to take you on a journey through the city’s most storied structures. At Willis Tower, take the first elevator of the day up 103 floors to the Skydeck. Take advantage of the observational decks to get the best possible view of the city from above. Back on ground level, it’s time to traverse Chicago’s Financial District alongside your local guide and see the city’s Art Deco architecture will be laid out before – or rather, above – you! Pass the magnificent Board of Trade Building and take in the statue of Ceres, Ancient Greek goddess of the harvest, looming over the skyline three stories high. Next, walk through the awe-inspiring lobby designed by Frank Lloyd Wright at the Rookery. Many elements here only an expert can point out, including the secret glass mosaics adorning the lobbies. You’ll listen to the history of the cast of characters that brought Chicago to world-wide fame, admire one of the world’s most historically significant doors and get a view of the largest Tiffany glass dome in the world. Millennium Park is the next stop where the iconic Cloud Gate can be found. After getting a picture in front of ‘The Bean’, it’s time to walk up Michigan Avenue for more architectural stories and history. The last stop of the day is Chicago’s iconic Riverwalk for a 90-minute architecture cruise, passing down the Chicago River and Lake Michigan. Enjoy the snacks and refreshments available to purchase on board, and take in the day’s discoveries from the water.

Chicago: Riverwalk Guided Walking Tour

7. 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.

Other Sightseeing Options in Chicago Cultural Center

Want to discover all there is to do in Chicago Cultural Center? Click here for a full list.

What people are saying about Chicago Cultural Center

Overall rating

4.5 / 5

based on 565 reviews

Candace was an excellent tour guide. Getting off at each stop was a fantastic way to see all the points of interest that Chicago has! The headsets were also a great way to learn more about the history of the area. We were only visiting for 1 day, and felt the HOHO Big bus tour was an excellent way to explore downtown, and all the sights! Made great memories!Thank you!

This is the best way to see a city if you don’t have too much time. You can choose which stops to hop off or continue to the next stop. One of our drivers, Candace, was awesome. She narrated the tour herself, made it very funny and informative, and even made a trivia with a prize for the winner! Great experience overall!!

We loved being able to get on and off plus the info given was great learning. We learned some new things about the city we didn't know.

I was there July 2 the young came and got his passages made sure that were seated the tour guide spoke well just had a great time

Great tour of the city. Where to get on is a little confusing. Not much about the gangsters of Chicago.