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.

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: Downtown Architectural Interiors Tour

3. 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

4. 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 & City Walking Tour

5. Best of Chicago: Skydeck, River Cruise & City Walking Tour

At Willis Tower, take the first elevator of the day up 103 floors to the Skydeck, the 3rd tallest building in the Western Hemisphere. On a clear day views extend to 4 States!! Back on ground level, it’s time to traverse Chicago’s Loop, 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. The Loop may be a business district but it’s much more than that—including the birthplace of the world’s first skyscraper. At the Monadnock Building where your expert local guide will be waiting to take you on a journey through the city’s most storied structures 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.

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 565 reviews

With so many buildings and architecture to see, which ones are the most significant and relevant? This is where the tour comes in. The tour guide did not disappoint; you enter into some of the buildings where if you go by yourself, you wouldn’t dare. The tour is awesome and it leaves you with a nice feeling of appreciating the architecture of the city. Buildings we entered: Chicago Cultural Center Palmer House Marshall Field and Company Building - this is the Macy's store, its public, but the surprise is something that you wouldn't see if you are wandering by yourself (Ceiling with Tiffany Mosaics). Impressive and highly recommended.

The tour bus really covers the highlights of Chicago. The bus drivers are fun and provide extra useful information. Really enjoyed the rides.

We had a great time taking this cruise around Chicago River. The cruise was excellent, the guide knew a lot and I strongly recommend

Great content. Wonderful guide. Kylie is knowledgeable and personable

We had a great time in Chicago. This app was one of the reasons why!