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Chicago is known around the world for its architecture. Whether you tour downtown or a neighborhood, our expert docent guides will tell you the stories behind the buildings. Visit iconic skyscrapers, elegant hotels or the legendary houses of Frank Lloyd Wright. With more than 85 tours to choose from, we won't blame you if you can't pick just one.

Recommended Tours

Behind the Scenes: Buffett Place

On July 9, 2015, come see the Fred and Pamela Buffett Place—a completely renovated, environmentally-friendly, supportive housing community by Landon Bone Baker Architects in 2014. This transformation of the 1920s Diplomat Hotel in Lakeview won a Chicago…

Price
$20 non-members, $15 CAF members
Duration
1.5 Hours
Meet
3208 N. Sheffield Ave.

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Price
$20 non-members, $15 CAF members
Duration
1.5 Hours
Meet
3208 N. Sheffield Ave.

Chicago Architecture Foundation River Cruise Aboard Chicago's First Lady Cruises

Voted “Chicago’s Best Tour” by Chicago Reader, the CAF River Cruise is a “must” for out-of-towners and Chicagoans alike. CAF-certified volunteer tour guides—called docents—interpret more than 50 buildings along the Chicago River, revealing…

Price
$39.74 (plus tax) non-members, $42.58 (plus tax) 7:30pm departures
Duration
1.5 Hours
Meet
Dock is located at the southeast corner of the Michigan Avenue Bridge at Wacker Dr. Look for our blue awning marking the stairway entrance.

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Price
$39.74 (plus tax) non-members, $42.58 (plus tax) 7:30pm departures
Duration
1.5 Hours
Meet
Dock is located at the southeast corner of the Michigan Avenue Bridge at Wacker Dr. Look for our blue awning marking the stairway entrance.

Must-See Chicago

Must-See Chicago is a fast-paced, 90-minute tour introducing Chicago and many of its most famous buildings, including the Art Institute of Chicago, Sears (Willis) Tower, Wrigley Building, Chicago Theatre and John Hancock Center. As you explore downtown…

Price
$20 non-members, $12 CAF members
Duration
1.5 Hours
Meet
CAF Shop and Tour Center, 224 S. Michigan Ave.

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Price
$20 non-members, $12 CAF members
Duration
1.5 Hours
Meet
CAF Shop and Tour Center, 224 S. Michigan Ave.

Architectural Highlights by Bus

Discover the exciting diversity of Chicago architecture on this wide-ranging odyssey, which traces the city’s development from its founding through the very present.

Price
$45 non-members, $37 CAF members
Duration
3.5 Hours
Meet
CAF Shop and Tour Center, 224 S. Michigan Ave.

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Price
$45 non-members, $37 CAF members
Duration
3.5 Hours
Meet
CAF Shop and Tour Center, 224 S. Michigan Ave.

Historic Treasures of Culture and Commerce

Learn about the great late 19th— and early 20th—century architectural landmarks of Michigan Ave. and State St., ranging from museums to department stores, skyscrapers to concert halls, including the Reliance Building, the Sullivan Center and the Chicago…

Price
$20 non-members, FREE for CAF members
Duration
2 Hours
Meet
CAF Shop and Tour Center, 224 S. Michigan Ave.

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Price
$20 non-members, FREE for CAF members
Duration
2 Hours
Meet
CAF Shop and Tour Center, 224 S. Michigan Ave.

Historic Skyscrapers

Step back in time to the late 1800s and explore how Chicago went from a city devastated by a great fire to a leader in skyscraper engineering and design.

Price
$20 non-members, FREE for CAF members
Duration
2 Hours
Meet
CAF Shop and Tour Center, 224 S. Michigan Ave.

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Price
$20 non-members, FREE for CAF members
Duration
2 Hours
Meet
CAF Shop and Tour Center, 224 S. Michigan Ave.

Intersections of Old and New Chicago

Explore Chicago architecture from the 1870s to the present while examining the intersections of streets, styles and cultures of our history. We’ll view many different architectural styles and examine how they have become essential elements of Chicago’s…

Price
$20 non-members, FREE for CAF members
Duration
2 Hours
Meet
CAF Shop and Tour Center, 224 S. Michigan Ave.

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Price
$20 non-members, FREE for CAF members
Duration
2 Hours
Meet
CAF Shop and Tour Center, 224 S. Michigan Ave.

Skyline Vistas by Trolley

Opportunities for great photos at every stop. See Chicago's expansive downtown parks, emerging residential neighborhoods, and commercial developments on this introductory tour of Chicago. Learn how both man and nature impacted the development of the city…

Price
$30 non-members, $22 CAF members
Duration
1.75 Hours
Meet
CAF Shop and Tour Center, 224 S. Michigan Ave.

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Price
$30 non-members, $22 CAF members
Duration
1.75 Hours
Meet
CAF Shop and Tour Center, 224 S. Michigan Ave.

Evolution of the Skyscraper

Chicago is known for building some of the world’s first skyscrapers, but how have their designs and technologies changed over time? Explore everything from classic buildings to super-tall highrises to discover how each one is representative of major…

Price
$20 non-members, FREE for CAF members
Duration
1 Hour
Meet
CAF Shop and Tour Center, 224 S. Michigan Ave.

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Price
$20 non-members, FREE for CAF members
Duration
1 Hour
Meet
CAF Shop and Tour Center, 224 S. Michigan Ave.

Modern Skyscrapers

In the years following World War II, Chicago established itself as a world capital of Modern architecture. On this tour we examine many of the buildings that helped earn Chicago this reputation, from the elegant minimalism of Mies van der Rohe’s Federal…

Price
$20 non-members, FREE for CAF members
Duration
2 Hours
Meet
CAF Shop and Tour Center, 224 S. Michigan Ave.

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Price
$20 non-members, FREE for CAF members
Duration
2 Hours
Meet
CAF Shop and Tour Center, 224 S. Michigan Ave.

Art Deco Skyscrapers: Downtown

Art Deco was a popular, modern style whose lavish materials and geometric ornament epitomized the prosperity and optimism of the Roaring 20s. See how the style enriches the soaring exteriors and opulent interiors of some of the city's most beautiful skyscrapers…

Price
$20 non-members, FREE for CAF members
Duration
2 Hours
Meet
CAF Shop and Tour Center, 224 S. Michigan Ave.

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Price
$20 non-members, FREE for CAF members
Duration
2 Hours
Meet
CAF Shop and Tour Center, 224 S. Michigan Ave.

Elevated Architecture: Downtown "L" Train

Explore Chicago’s amazing architecture from the unique perspective of the elevated trains and station platforms while learning the history of the famous "L" system and how it has shaped the development of the buildings within the Loop.

Price
$20 non-members, $12 CAF members
Duration
2 Hours
Meet
CAF Shop and Tour Center, 224 S. Michigan Ave.

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Price
$20 non-members, $12 CAF members
Duration
2 Hours
Meet
CAF Shop and Tour Center, 224 S. Michigan Ave.

Aqua and Lakeshore East

Come along as we take a short walk to view a skyscraper that has garnered high praise from architects and critics around the world: the Aqua at Lakeshore East by Jeanne Gang of Studio Gang. In addition to focusing on the building itself, the tour will…

Price
$15 non-members, FREE for CAF members
Duration
1 Hour
Meet
Harris Theater, 205 E. Randolph. Ending point is the Park at Lakeshore East (near Aqua at 225 N. Columbus Dr.)

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Price
$15 non-members, FREE for CAF members
Duration
1 Hour
Meet
Harris Theater, 205 E. Randolph. Ending point is the Park at Lakeshore East (near Aqua at 225 N. Columbus Dr.)

Art Deco Skyscrapers: Riverfront Trolley and Walking Tour

Art Deco was a popular, modern style whose lavish materials and geometric ornament epitomized the prosperity and optimism of the Roaring 20s. As the city's central business district expanded to, and across, the Chicago River, sumptuous Art Deco office…

Price
$30 non-members, $22 CAF members
Duration
2 Hours
Meet
CAF Shop and Tour Center, 224 S. Michigan Ave.

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Price
$30 non-members, $22 CAF members
Duration
2 Hours
Meet
CAF Shop and Tour Center, 224 S. Michigan Ave.

Art Institute of Chicago: The Campus and Modern Wing

In partnership with the Art Institute, explore how various styles of architecture, sculpture and landscapes interact to create a unique museum campus. We’ll visit both the interior and exterior of the museum including its newest addition, the critically…

Price
$40 non-members, $20 CAF members, FREE for members of CAF and AIC
Duration
1.5 Hours
Meet
CAF Shop and Tour Center, 224 S. Michigan Ave. Tour ends at the Modern Wing.

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Price
$40 non-members, $20 CAF members, FREE for members of CAF and AIC
Duration
1.5 Hours
Meet
CAF Shop and Tour Center, 224 S. Michigan Ave. Tour ends at the Modern Wing.