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Chicago is known around the world for its architecture. Whether you choose to explore our fabled downtown or one of the city’s many distinct and charming neighborhoods, our expert docents will guide you by boat, bus, train or on foot and share the stories behind the buildings. Visit iconic skyscrapers, elegant hotels or the legendary houses of Frank Lloyd Wright. With dozens of tours to choose from, we won't blame you if you can't pick just one.

Recommended Tours

Chicago Architecture Center River Cruise aboard Chicago's First Lady

Experience why we're the #1 rated boat cruise in Chicago, tickets are on sale now for the 2024 season!

Price
Tickets start at $54.00, CAC member conditions apply; please call (312)-922-8687 to reserve tickets
Duration
1.5 Hours
Meet
Northeast corner of Michigan Ave. and E. Wacker Dr. Look for the black awning marking the stairway entrance.

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Price
Tickets start at $54.00, CAC member conditions apply; please call (312)-922-8687 to reserve tickets
Duration
1.5 Hours
Meet
Northeast corner of Michigan Ave. and E. Wacker Dr. Look for the black awning marking the stairway entrance.

Chicago Architecture: A Walk Through Time

Want a quick introduction to Chicago’s magnificent architecture? This 90-minute tour takes a comprehensive look at the city’s architectural history by viewing buildings in chronological order, from early skyscrapers to new supertall high rises.

Price
$30 Public, Free for Members
Duration
1.5 Hours
Meet
Chicago Architecture Center, 111 E. Wacker Dr.

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Price
$30 Public, Free for Members
Duration
1.5 Hours
Meet
Chicago Architecture Center, 111 E. Wacker Dr.

Chicago’s First Skyscrapers

Chicago is home to some of the world’s earliest skyscrapers. Get an up-close look at these 19th Century marvels, learn about innovations used to build them and discover how they transformed Chicago into a center of skyscraper design and engineering…

Price
$30 Public, $10 Basic Members, Free for Deco Members and above
Duration
1.5 Hours
Meet
410 S. Michigan Ave.

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Price
$30 Public, $10 Basic Members, Free for Deco Members and above
Duration
1.5 Hours
Meet
410 S. Michigan Ave.

Art Deco Skyscrapers: The Loop

Go inside the lobbies of Art Deco masterpieces built in the heart of Chicago’s financial district during the Roaring '20s. Learn how Art Deco reflected the era’s fun-loving optimism with lavish materials and geometric ornament.

Price
$30 Public, $10 Basic Members, Free for Deco Members and above
Duration
1.5 Hours
Meet
Outside 30 N. LaSalle St.

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Price
$30 Public, $10 Basic Members, Free for Deco Members and above
Duration
1.5 Hours
Meet
Outside 30 N. LaSalle St.

Historic Treasures of Chicago’s Golden Age

Learn about the great architectural landmarks of Michigan Avenue and State Street. The 40 years between 1890 and 1930 saw the creation of some of Chicago’s the most memorable buildings, many of which are featured on this tour.

Price
$30 Public, Free for Members
Duration
2 Hours
Meet
Chicago Architecture Center, 111 E. Wacker Dr.

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Price
$30 Public, Free for Members
Duration
2 Hours
Meet
Chicago Architecture Center, 111 E. Wacker Dr.

Tiffany in Chicago

Learn about the life and work of Louis Comfort Tiffany as we visit some of Chicago’s most magnificent art-glass and mosaic installations, each designed and crafted by the Tiffany Glass and Decorating Company.

Price
$30 Public, $10 Basic Members, Free for Deco Members and above
Duration
1.5 Hours
Meet
Cultural Center north lobby, 77 E. Randolph St.

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Price
$30 Public, $10 Basic Members, Free for Deco Members and above
Duration
1.5 Hours
Meet
Cultural Center north lobby, 77 E. Randolph St.

Must-See Chicago

Must-See Chicago is a fast-paced, 90-minute introductory tour to Chicago featuring some of its most famous buildings, including the Wrigley Building, Tribune Tower, the Art Institute of Chicago, Willis (Sears) Tower, and more!

Price
$30 Public, Free for Members
Duration
1.5 Hours
Meet
Chicago Architecture Center, 111 E. Wacker Dr.

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Price
$30 Public, Free for Members
Duration
1.5 Hours
Meet
Chicago Architecture Center, 111 E. Wacker Dr.

Architecture of the Magnificent Mile

Discover how a dirt road known as Pine Street transformed into a "Paris on the Prairie" and later into the Magnificent Mile, the city’s premier shopping district. Hear the secrets and stories behind the striking buildings on North Michigan Avenue that…

Price
$30 Public, Free for Members
Duration
1.5 Hours
Meet
Chicago Architecture Center, 111 E. Wacker Dr.

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Price
$30 Public, Free for Members
Duration
1.5 Hours
Meet
Chicago Architecture Center, 111 E. Wacker Dr.

What's New

Over the course of 90 minutes, explore some of the newest buildings around the Chicago Architecture Center, focusing on construction elements and their impact on the city’s built environment.

Price
$30 Public, Free for Members
Duration
1.5 Hours
Meet
Chicago Architecture Center, 111 E. Wacker Dr.

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Price
$30 Public, Free for Members
Duration
1.5 Hours
Meet
Chicago Architecture Center, 111 E. Wacker Dr.

Modernism: Reviving the Loop

Previously titled Mid-Century Modern Skyscrapers, this tour takes a look at iconic Mid-Century Modern architecture in Chicago and its triumvirate of modern architects (Mies van der Rohe, Bertrand Goldberg and SOM)

Price
$30 Public, Free for Members
Duration
1.75 Hours
Meet
Chicago Architecture Center, 111 E. Wacker Dr.

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Price
$30 Public, Free for Members
Duration
1.75 Hours
Meet
Chicago Architecture Center, 111 E. Wacker Dr.

Chicago Icons: Connecting Past and Present

This lively overview of Chicago architecture explores iconic buildings from the 1890s to present. We'll compare and contrast a wide range of buildings with varying architectural styles and see how older structures connect to new skyline additions.

Price
$30 Public, Free for Members
Duration
1.75 Hours
Meet
Chicago Architecture Center, 111 E. Wacker Dr.

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Price
$30 Public, Free for Members
Duration
1.75 Hours
Meet
Chicago Architecture Center, 111 E. Wacker Dr.

Lights, Camera, Architecture!

Chicago’s unique architecture has co-starred in movies with Ferris Bueller, Batman and the Blues Brothers, among other famous big screen characters. See some of the buildings featured in these films and more!

Price
$30 Public, Free for Members
Duration
1.5 Hours
Meet
Chicago Architecture Center, 111 E. Wacker Dr.

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Price
$30 Public, Free for Members
Duration
1.5 Hours
Meet
Chicago Architecture Center, 111 E. Wacker Dr.

Aqua, St. Regis Chicago and Lakeshore East

Take a short walk to see the Lakeshore East neighborhood, featuring two notable buildings designed by the woman-led Studio Gang Architects: Aqua Tower and the St. Regis Chicago.

Price
$30 Public, Free for Members
Duration
1.5 Hours
Meet
Outside the Chicago Architecture Center, 111 E. Wacker Dr.

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Price
$30 Public, Free for Members
Duration
1.5 Hours
Meet
Outside the Chicago Architecture Center, 111 E. Wacker Dr.

Grant Park Secrets

Grant Park’s landscape is both front yard and recreation spot for Chicago. But did you know that the area was once under water? Or that at one time it housed an airfield, a major league sports team and the tomb of a Civil War hero? Join us as we unlock…

Price
$30 Public, $10 Basic Members, Free for Deco Members and above
Duration
2 Hours
Meet
Art Institute Chicago South Garden; S Michigan Ave. and E. Jackson Blvd., 111 S. Michigan Ave.

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Price
$30 Public, $10 Basic Members, Free for Deco Members and above
Duration
2 Hours
Meet
Art Institute Chicago South Garden; S Michigan Ave. and E. Jackson Blvd., 111 S. Michigan Ave.

Chicago's Moveable Bridges

Understand how the unique Chicago-style bascule bridges work. View the underpinnings of the bridges, as the tour follows the bridge lifts of three of the Chicago River’s most famous bridges, including Michigan Avenue’s DuSable Bridge, Columbus Drive’s…

Price
$30 Public, $10 Basic Members, Free for Deco Members and above
Duration
1.5 Hours
Meet
Northeast corner of Wacker and Columbus, at the top of the Riverwalk staircase.

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Price
$30 Public, $10 Basic Members, Free for Deco Members and above
Duration
1.5 Hours
Meet
Northeast corner of Wacker and Columbus, at the top of the Riverwalk staircase.

Elevated Architecture: Downtown "L" Train

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

Price
$30 Public, Free for Members
Duration
2 Hours
Meet
Chicago Architecture Center, 111 E. Wacker Dr.

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Price
$30 Public, Free for Members
Duration
2 Hours
Meet
Chicago Architecture Center, 111 E. Wacker Dr.

875 N. Michigan Ave (John Hancock Center)

Completed in 1970, 875 N. Michigan Ave (John Hancock Center) dominates the northern end of Chicago’s skyline. On this tour, you'll learn how the building forever changed the character of North Michigan Avenue.

Price
$15 Public, $5 Basic Members, Free for Deco Members and above
Duration
0.75 Hour
Meet
875 N. Michigan Ave., lower level lobby

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Price
$15 Public, $5 Basic Members, Free for Deco Members and above
Duration
0.75 Hour
Meet
875 N. Michigan Ave., lower level lobby

Architectural Highlights by Bus

Discover the exciting diversity of Chicago’s world famous architecture as we trace its development from the early days up to the present.

Price
$50 public (includes CAC admission), $43 CAC members
Duration
3.5 Hours
Meet
Chicago Architecture Center, 111 E. Wacker Dr.

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Price
$50 public (includes CAC admission), $43 CAC members
Duration
3.5 Hours
Meet
Chicago Architecture Center, 111 E. Wacker Dr.

Art Deco Skyscrapers: The Riverfront

Tour the lobbies of five opulent Art Deco skyscrapers built near the banks of the Chicago River during the business boom of the Roaring '20s. Learn how Art Deco reflected the era’s fun-loving optimism with lavish materials and geometric ornament.

Price
$30 Public, Free for Members
Duration
1.5 Hours
Meet
Chicago Architecture Center, 111 E. Wacker Dr.

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Price
$30 Public, Free for Members
Duration
1.5 Hours
Meet
Chicago Architecture Center, 111 E. Wacker Dr.

Chicago Board of Trade Building

The Chicago Board of Trade is a Loop icon and City of Chicago and US National Historic Landmark that anchors La Salle Street, described in the building's opening brochure as the 'monarch' of the street, still standing tall and proud. We’ll see newly…

Price
$15 Public, $5 Basic Members, Free for Deco Members and above
Duration
1 Hour
Meet
141 W. Jackson Blvd., inside the building lobby

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Price
$15 Public, $5 Basic Members, Free for Deco Members and above
Duration
1 Hour
Meet
141 W. Jackson Blvd., inside the building lobby

Devil in the White City

History buffs and true crime lovers, rejoice! This bus tour delves into the compelling true story told in Erik Larson’s best-selling novel, “Devil in the White City.” The story traverses two simultaneous events in Chicago’s history: the World’s…

Price
$50 public (includes CAC admission), $43 CAC members
Duration
3.5 Hours
Meet
Chicago Architecture Center, 111 E. Wacker Dr.

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Price
$50 public (includes CAC admission), $43 CAC members
Duration
3.5 Hours
Meet
Chicago Architecture Center, 111 E. Wacker Dr.

Fine Arts Building

Discover this treasure trove on Michigan Avenue and learn how it went from a carriage showroom to a high-profile artists’ colony that housed tenants like Frank Lloyd Wright, Lorado Taft and Harriet Monroe.

Price
$15 Public, $5 Basic Members, Free for Deco Members and above
Duration
1 Hour
Meet
410 S. Michigan Ave., in front of the building

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Price
$15 Public, $5 Basic Members, Free for Deco Members and above
Duration
1 Hour
Meet
410 S. Michigan Ave., in front of the building

French Language (Langue Française): Les Incontournables

Cette visite vous propose un aperçu complet de l’architecture de Chicago, de ses bâtiments les plus connus et admirés, ainsi que la collection de nombreuses œuvres d’art dans le centre de la ville.

Price
$30 Public, Free for Members
Duration
2 Hours
Meet
Chicago Architecture Center, 111 E. Wacker Dr.

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Price
$30 Public, Free for Members
Duration
2 Hours
Meet
Chicago Architecture Center, 111 E. Wacker Dr.

Hotel Boom: Making Old New Again

Chicago’s growth as a favorite travel destination has fueled a surge in the creative repurposing of historic skyscrapers into chic new hotels. Learn how and why a former motor club, insurance company and bank have undergone this change

Price
$30 Public, Free for Members
Duration
1.5 Hours
Meet
Chicago Architecture Center, 111 E. Wacker Dr.

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Price
$30 Public, Free for Members
Duration
1.5 Hours
Meet
Chicago Architecture Center, 111 E. Wacker Dr.

Inland Steel Building

As the first skyscraper built within the Loop after World War II, the Inland Steel Building became an instant symbol of Chicago’s prominence as a modern American city in the 20th century.

Price
$15 Public, $5 Basic Members, Free for Deco Members and above
Duration
0.75 Hour
Meet
30 W. Monroe St., inside the building's lobby

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Price
$15 Public, $5 Basic Members, Free for Deco Members and above
Duration
0.75 Hour
Meet
30 W. Monroe St., inside the building's lobby

Macy's on State: The Legacy of Marshall Field's

Explore the construction, development and renovation of this State Street landmark by Daniel Burnham.

Price
$15 Public, $5 Basic Members, Free for Deco Members and above
Duration
1 Hour
Meet
Meet inside the Washington Street entrance that is closest to Wabash

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Price
$15 Public, $5 Basic Members, Free for Deco Members and above
Duration
1 Hour
Meet
Meet inside the Washington Street entrance that is closest to Wabash

Marquette Building

Completed in 1895, the Marquette Building brings Chicago’s early history to life in an artistic and elegant setting. Examine the innovative exterior and get an up-close view of the beautiful interior.

Price
$15 Public, $5 Basic Members, Free for Deco Members and above
Duration
0.75 Hour
Meet
140 S. Dearborn St., inside the building lobby

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Price
$15 Public, $5 Basic Members, Free for Deco Members and above
Duration
0.75 Hour
Meet
140 S. Dearborn St., inside the building lobby

Merchandise Mart

Once the largest building in the world, the Merchandise Mart remains a center for commercial and residential design. This massive structure has kept up with the times and is now recognized as a key Chicago hub for technological innovation.

Price
$15 Public, $5 Basic Members, Free for Deco Members and above
Duration
0.75 Hour
Meet
222 Merchandise Mart Plaza, Chicago River entrance

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Price
$15 Public, $5 Basic Members, Free for Deco Members and above
Duration
0.75 Hour
Meet
222 Merchandise Mart Plaza, Chicago River entrance

Monadnock Building

Tour the world’s tallest commercial building with load-bearing masonry walls and learn how the transition from masonry to steel frame skyscrapers transformed the workplace.

Price
$15 Public, $5 Basic Members, Free for Deco Members and above
Duration
0.75 Hour
Meet
Inside Monadnock building, 53 W. Jackson Blvd.

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Price
$15 Public, $5 Basic Members, Free for Deco Members and above
Duration
0.75 Hour
Meet
Inside Monadnock building, 53 W. Jackson Blvd.

Palmer House Hotel

Experience the glamour, intrigue and excitement of the bygone "Grand Hotel" era at the Palmer House. See recently restored public spaces and renovated guest rooms while learning about the history of Chicago’s oldest continually operating hotel.

Price
$15 Public, $5 Basic Members, Free for Deco Members and above
Duration
1 Hour
Meet
Inside the hotel entrance at 124 S. Wabash Ave.

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Price
$15 Public, $5 Basic Members, Free for Deco Members and above
Duration
1 Hour
Meet
Inside the hotel entrance at 124 S. Wabash Ave.

Reliance Building

Marvel at the original marble, mahogany doors and decorative wrought iron found throughout the two lobbies and uppermost floors of this 1895 building, designed by John Wellborn Root and Charles Atwood.

Price
$15 Public, $5 Basic Members, Free for Deco Members and above
Duration
0.75 Hour
Meet
Main Lobby, 1 W. Washington St. entrance

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Price
$15 Public, $5 Basic Members, Free for Deco Members and above
Duration
0.75 Hour
Meet
Main Lobby, 1 W. Washington St. entrance

River North: Transformation of a Neighborhood

See historic gems in this former center of manufacturing and explore its boom-and-bust transformation into a vibrant neighborhood buzzing with residential buildings, entertainment venues and office towers. Steeped in history and character, River North…

Price
$30 Public, $10 Basic Members, Free for Deco Members and above
Duration
2 Hours
Meet
On the plaza at 65 E. Huron St.

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Price
$30 Public, $10 Basic Members, Free for Deco Members and above
Duration
2 Hours
Meet
On the plaza at 65 E. Huron St.

Riverwalk West

This tour helps you discover the western portion of the Riverwalk, starting at the Vietnam Memorial near State Street. As we walk to Lake Street, hear how this linear park—called Chicago’s new coastline by some—has become a magnet for outdoor recreation…

Price
$30 Public, $10 Basic Members, Free for Deco Members and above
Duration
1.5 Hours
Meet
Vietnam Memorial, at river level, 35 E. Wacker

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Price
$30 Public, $10 Basic Members, Free for Deco Members and above
Duration
1.5 Hours
Meet
Vietnam Memorial, at river level, 35 E. Wacker

Rookery Building

Explore the interior and exterior of one of Chicago’s most famous and beloved historic buildings: The Rookery by Daniel Burnham and John Wellborn Root.

Price
$15 Public, $5 Basic Members, Free for Deco Members and above
Duration
1 Hour
Meet
209 S. LaSalle St. at the grand staircase

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Price
$15 Public, $5 Basic Members, Free for Deco Members and above
Duration
1 Hour
Meet
209 S. LaSalle St. at the grand staircase

Sacred Spaces in Downtown Chicago

Chicago's downtown is home to a number of striking and architecturally significant houses of worship. Visit several of these sites, including "the tallest church in the world"—a skyscraper with offices, designed for worship and work.

Price
$30 Public, $10 Basic Members, Free for Deco Members and above
Duration
1.5 Hours
Meet
South east corner of State St. and Jackson Blvd.

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Price
$30 Public, $10 Basic Members, Free for Deco Members and above
Duration
1.5 Hours
Meet
South east corner of State St. and Jackson Blvd.

The Old Post Office

Explore the new Old Post Office Building, whose early 20th-century design has been adaptively reused into a beautiful, modern Class A Office building.

Price
$15 Public, $5 Basic Members, Free for Deco Members and above
Duration
1.5 Hours
Meet
The Old Post Office Building; meet inside the Van Buren entrance

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Price
$15 Public, $5 Basic Members, Free for Deco Members and above
Duration
1.5 Hours
Meet
The Old Post Office Building; meet inside the Van Buren entrance

Union Station: Icon of a Great Age

Union Station is one of the last grand train stations still operating in the U.S. and the only one in Chicago, serving both Amtrak and Metra commuter rail. Take in the elaborate details of this historic landmark, including the stunning Great Hall, which…

Price
$15 Public, $5 Basic Members, Free for Deco Members and above
Duration
1 Hour
Meet
500 W. Jackson Blvd. between Canal and Clinton

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Price
$15 Public, $5 Basic Members, Free for Deco Members and above
Duration
1 Hour
Meet
500 W. Jackson Blvd. between Canal and Clinton

Willis Tower Revitalized

Experience the iconic Willis Tower with a visit to the 103rd floor Skydeck combined with a tour of the building to experience its exciting new public spaces and to learn about its history and design.

Price
$40 Public (includes Skydeck ticket), $30 for CAC Members (includes Skydeck ticket)
Duration
1 Hour
Meet
232 S. Franklin St. at Willis Tower’s Franklin St. Lobby Entrance, between West Adams & West Jackson Streets.

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Price
$40 Public (includes Skydeck ticket), $30 for CAC Members (includes Skydeck ticket)
Duration
1 Hour
Meet
232 S. Franklin St. at Willis Tower’s Franklin St. Lobby Entrance, between West Adams & West Jackson Streets.

Loop as Lab: the Walking Tour

Chicago was a planned city from its very beginnings. Loop as Lab: the Walking Tour provides a street-level view of how city planning has shaped Chicago's growth from 1909 through to the downtown plan currently in development.

Price
$30 Public , Free for Members
Duration
1.5 Hours
Meet
Chicago Architecture Center 111 E. Wacker Dr.

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Price
$30 Public , Free for Members
Duration
1.5 Hours
Meet
Chicago Architecture Center 111 E. Wacker Dr.