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Welcome back! Choose from more than 50 reinstated walking tours, book a CAFC River Cruise and visit the Center Thursday through Monday.

Each year, CAC staff and our team of more than 450 dedicated docents work together to create new ways to see the city. But have you ever wondered what inspires our tours? Here’s the story behind our Food and Architecture of 1893 walking tour.

by Nikki Snodgrass, Media Relations Manager

Why Food and Architecture?

Informally known as the “see and taste” tour, guests get a chance to experience what are possibly the two things that Chicago is most well-known and well-loved for: food and architecture. 

Dave Gottlieb is the CAC docent who developed this tour. The idea originally came to him after he took a similar one in New York City. Meanwhile, staff members were considering developing a food and architecture tour unique to Chicago. The two ideas seemed to fit together perfectly. The 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition was such an important date in Chicago’s history, we decided the combination of food and architecture of the fair was perfect. 

In 1893, not only were new buildings being developed to coincide with the Exposition, but many different types of food were being dreamed up as well. From meals to desserts, people from all over the country got to try the tasty, and now iconic, Chicago treats. The classic Chicago hot dog, Cracker Jacks and Wrigley Spearmint gum; these were all introduced to fairgoers for the first time.


While the date of the World’s Fair dictates much of the tour's content, guests are not taken to the site of the fair. Instead, we focus on the downtown area. We show our tour takers what visitors would have seen when they explored this part of the city after spending a day at the event.

What did they see? Where did they sleep? What kinds of shopping and food were available? How would visitors navigate this part of the city? These are the questions that Food and Architecture of 1893 will answer while visiting beautiful buildings and tasting the treats novel to this period in Chicago.

So, that’s the story! Sound interesting? Then do join us to see, taste and learn about this era while enjoying a hot dog, caramel corn and brownie along the way!