Chicago Organized Tours Overview
If you have time for only one tour while you're here (and prefer to hear insider scoop rather than canned tourist lectures), stop by the Chicago Architecture Foundation (224 S Michigan Ave). You can pick a trip to suit your style: a river cruise that highlights modern landmarks; a walking tour of The Loop's early skyscrapers; a bus tour of Frank Lloyd Wright homes in the suburb of Oak Park. The foundation offers tours daily throughout the year, lead by volunteer docents who are passionate about their subject matter.
The city's Department of Cultural Affairs (77 E Randolph St) offers bus tours of neighborhoods throughout the city, organized by theme (Polish Chicago, the Great Chicago Fire, etc). It's a good way to get out of downtown and see how real Chicagoans live.
For sightseeing with a sense of humor, there's Untouchable Tours (600 N Clark St), a bus tour of gangster hotspots from the 1920s and 1930s when Chicago was synonymous with Al Capone. But note that the focus is more on entertainment than serious history lessons.
Wendella Boat Tours (400 N Michigan Ave) offer one-hour and two-hour tours of Lake Michigan and the Chicago River. The Spirit of Chicago Cruises (455 E Illinois St) offer year-round cruises of Lake Michigan leaving from Navy Pier. You can also enjoy dinner on the boat of leisurely sit on the deck.
Chicago has more world-class hotels than you can shake a stick at. Not sure where to stay while you're in town? Keep reading for our guide to Chicago hotels and lodgings.