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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

Magnificent 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
$26 public (includes CAC admission), Free for CAC members
Duration
1.5 Hours
Meet
Chicago Architecture Center, 111 E. Wacker Dr.

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Price
$26 public (includes CAC admission), Free for CAC members
Duration
1.5 Hours
Meet
Chicago Architecture Center, 111 E. Wacker Dr.

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
$20 public (includes CAC admission), Free for CAC members
Duration
0.75 Hour
Meet
140 S. Dearborn St., inside the building lobby

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Price
$20 public (includes CAC admission), Free for CAC members
Duration
0.75 Hour
Meet
140 S. Dearborn St., inside the building lobby

Media Production Center of Columbia College Chicago

Discover one of Chicago's boldest and most colorful buildings, the Media Production Center at Columbia College, designed by world-renowned Chicago architect Jeanne Gang, winner of a 2011 MacArthur Foundation Fellows Award.

Duration
1 Hour
Meet
Media Production Center, 1600 S. State St.

Note: No upcoming departures are currently scheduled for this tour. To learn about other CAC tours and events, sign up to receive our monthly e-news at architecture.org/email.

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Duration
1 Hour
Meet
Media Production Center, 1600 S. State St.

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
$20 public (includes CAC admission), Free for CAC members
Duration
0.75 Hour
Meet
222 Merchandise Mart Plaza, Chicago River entrance

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Price
$20 public (includes CAC admission), Free for CAC members
Duration
0.75 Hour
Meet
222 Merchandise Mart Plaza, Chicago River entrance

Mies and Modernism: The IIT Campus Tour

The Illinois Institute of Technology is home to the largest group of buildings designed by Mies van der Rohe—the most influential figure in American Modernism. This tour traces the evolution of the campus with a special emphasis on the years 1938—1958—the…

Price
$26 public (includes CAC admission), Free for CAC members
Duration
2 Hours
Meet
Inside Perlstein Hall, 10 W. 33rd St.

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Price
$26 public (includes CAC admission), Free for CAC members
Duration
2 Hours
Meet
Inside Perlstein Hall, 10 W. 33rd St.

Millennium Park: Beyond the Bean

Learn how architects, artists and engineers collaborated with Chicago’s movers and shakers to transform a railroad yard and parking lot into a magnificent park that has thrilled millions and become the envy of cities around the world.

Price
$26 public (includes CAC admission), Free for CAC members
Duration
1.5 Hours
Meet
Chicago Architecture Center, 111 E. Wacker Dr.

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Price
$26 public (includes CAC admission), Free for CAC members
Duration
1.5 Hours
Meet
Chicago Architecture Center, 111 E. Wacker Dr.

Modernist Masterpieces: Marina City and the IBM Building

Where else but Chicago can you find two iconic mid-century buildings living side by side? Get the inside scoop on the buildings and their architects, Bertrand Goldberg and Mies van der Rohe. We will compare and contrast the sites, uses, structures, styles…

Price
$20 public (includes CAC admission), Free for CAC members
Duration
1.25 Hours
Meet
35 W. Wacker Dr.

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Price
$20 public (includes CAC admission), Free for CAC members
Duration
1.25 Hours
Meet
35 W. Wacker Dr.

Monadnock Building

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

Price
$20 public (includes CAC admission), Free for CAC members
Duration
0.75 Hour
Meet
Inside Monadnock building, 53 W. Jackson Blvd.

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Price
$20 public (includes CAC admission), Free for CAC members
Duration
0.75 Hour
Meet
Inside Monadnock building, 53 W. Jackson Blvd.

Monroe Building and Pritzker Military Museum & Library

Come discover the Monroe Building—Chicago's architectural gem hidden in plain sight! See its gorgeous façade and amazing Rookwood tiled lobby, both lovingly restored to their 1912 splendor, along with the Pritzker Military Museum & Library.

Price
$20 public (includes CAC admission), Free for CAC members
Duration
1 Hour
Meet
Lobby of 104 S. Michigan Ave.

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Price
$20 public (includes CAC admission), Free for CAC members
Duration
1 Hour
Meet
Lobby of 104 S. Michigan Ave.

Motor Row

Take a trip back into the Golden Age of the automobile when all your automotive needs could be found in what remains the most intact historic automotive mall in the United States. The Landmark Motor Row Historic District contains more than 50 buildings…

Duration
1.25 Hours
Meet
2222 S. Michigan Ave.

Note: No upcoming departures are currently scheduled for this tour. To learn about other CAC tours and events, sign up to receive our monthly e-news at architecture.org/email.

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Duration
1.25 Hours
Meet
2222 S. Michigan Ave.

Must-Hear Chicago: A Tour for the Visually Impaired

CAC's walking tour for the visually impaired or blind and their companions is offered from May through October. The tour, led by a team of CAC docents, takes place in the Loop and includes six buildings of varying styles from the 1890s to the 1970s. Custom-made…

Duration
2 Hours
Meet
Federal Plaza, Jackson Blvd. and Dearborn Ave. Tour ends at Sullivan Center, 1 S. State St.

Note: This tour can be scheduled for private departures, from May through October, during any day of the week between 10am and 3pm.

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Duration
2 Hours
Meet
Federal Plaza, Jackson Blvd. and Dearborn Ave. Tour ends at Sullivan Center, 1 S. State St.

Navy Pier and Chicago Shakespeare Theater

Explore the ever-changing Navy Pier and Chicago Shakespeare Theater on this new tour! Learn how the pier has served Chicago through adaptive reuse since 1916 and why both the pier and theater are such popular tourist destinations.

Price
$26 public (includes CAC admission), Free for CAC members
Duration
2 Hours
Meet
Polk Bros Park, 600 E. Grand Ave.

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Price
$26 public (includes CAC admission), Free for CAC members
Duration
2 Hours
Meet
Polk Bros Park, 600 E. Grand Ave.

Old Town Triangle

No other Chicago neighborhood is like Old Town. Tucked behind high-rises and moments from the vast green space of Lincoln Park, this landmark district has a unique history and diversity. We’ll explore homes built immediately after the Great Fire of…

Price
$26 public (includes CAC admission), Free for CAC members
Duration
2 Hours
Meet
2001 N. Clark St., Lincoln Park Zoo admin building

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Price
$26 public (includes CAC admission), Free for CAC members
Duration
2 Hours
Meet
2001 N. Clark St., Lincoln Park Zoo admin building

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
$20 public (includes CAC admission), Free for CAC members
Duration
1 Hour
Meet
Inside the hotel entrance at 124 S. Wabash Ave.

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Price
$20 public (includes CAC admission), Free for CAC members
Duration
1 Hour
Meet
Inside the hotel entrance at 124 S. Wabash Ave.

Parks by Bus

You might drive or bike past them often, but have you ever really explored Chicago’s beautiful parks? This year’s Parks by Bus tour will take you to fascinating parks and fieldhouses, with time to stop and smell the flowers!

Duration
4 Hours
Meet
Chicago Architecture Center, 111 E. Wacker Dr.

Note: The annual departure of this special CAC tour will be scheduled again next year. To get tour updates, sign up to receive our monthly e-news at architecture.org/email.

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Duration
4 Hours
Meet
Chicago Architecture Center, 111 E. Wacker Dr.