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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

Pub Tour: River North

Admire River North’s architecture and explore some of the neighborhood’s favorite watering holes while you learn about Chicago’s role as the center of the brewing industry, the 1850s “beer wars” and more. We’ll visit an Irish pub, an English…

Duration
2.5 Hours
Meet
The outdoor plaza of 515 N. 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
2.5 Hours
Meet
The outdoor plaza of 515 N. State St.

Pub Tour: West Loop

Combining post-Chicago fire buildings with the legends of the Haymarket Riots, Chicago's West Loop will certainly make a lasting impression on you. The Chicago Park District has added green space to this growing community that retains deep roots to the…

Price
$26 public (includes CAC admission), Free for CAC members
Duration
2.5 Hours
Meet
Haymarket Pub, 737 W Randolph St.

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Price
$26 public (includes CAC admission), Free for CAC members
Duration
2.5 Hours
Meet
Haymarket Pub, 737 W Randolph St.

Railway Exchange Building

While touring the Railway Exchange building it's easy to imagine Chicago soon after the turn of the 20th century, when this glistening white skyscraper was a dramatic addition to the skyline.

Duration
0.75 Hour
Meet
224 S. Michigan Ave.

Note: Scheduled departures for this tour will return next season. To be notified when tickets for our next tour season go on sale, email tickets@architecture.org.

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Duration
0.75 Hour
Meet
224 S. Michigan Ave.

Reliance Building (Alise Chicago)

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
$20 public (includes CAC admission), Free for CAC members
Duration
0.75 Hour
Meet
Main Lobby, 1 W. Washington St. entrance

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Price
$20 public (includes CAC admission), Free for CAC members
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
$26 public (includes CAC admission), Free for CAC members
Duration
2 Hours
Meet
On the plaza at 65 E. Huron St.

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Price
$26 public (includes CAC admission), Free for CAC members
Duration
2 Hours
Meet
On the plaza at 65 E. Huron St.

Riverwalk West

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
$26 public (includes CAC admission), Free for CAC members
Duration
1.5 Hours
Meet
River-level, Vietnam Memorial near State St.

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Price
$26 public (includes CAC admission), Free for CAC members
Duration
1.5 Hours
Meet
River-level, Vietnam Memorial near State St.

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. Venture to the 11th floor to visit the architects’ private library, a space rarely open to visitors…

Price
$20 public (includes CAC admission), Free for CAC members
Duration
1 Hour
Meet
209 S. LaSalle St. at the grand staircase

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Price
$20 public (includes CAC admission), Free for CAC members
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
$26 public (includes CAC admission), Free for CAC members
Duration
1.5 Hours
Meet
South east corner of State St. and Jackson Blvd.

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Price
$26 public (includes CAC admission), Free for CAC members
Duration
1.5 Hours
Meet
South east corner of State St. and Jackson Blvd.

Schools by Bus

Take a day trip to the North Shore to see some fantastic school architecture. We will visit the acclaimed Crow Island School, the North Shore Country Day School in Winnetka and two new additions to Northwestern University.

Price
$55 public (includes CAC admission), $47 CAC members
Duration
5 Hours
Meet
Chicago Architecture Center, 111 E. Wacker Dr.*

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Price
$55 public (includes CAC admission), $47 CAC members
Duration
5 Hours
Meet
Chicago Architecture Center, 111 E. Wacker Dr.*

Sculpture in the Loop

From the traditional realism of the Art Institute's bronze lions to the sleek modernism of the "Cloud Gate" in Millennium Park, downtown Chicago is filled with great public sculpture. Discover the changing relationships between architecture and sculpture…

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

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
2 Hours
Meet
Chicago Architecture Center, 111 E. Wacker Dr.

Sheffield Historic District

Hear how the Sheffield District has evolved since its formation as a working-class neighborhood in the 1870s. See beautiful historic row houses and learn about residents' preservation efforts amid gentrification and DePaul University’s expansion.

Price
$26 public (includes CAC admission), Free for CAC members
Duration
2 Hours
Meet
SE corner of Sheffield and Fullerton

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Price
$26 public (includes CAC admission), Free for CAC members
Duration
2 Hours
Meet
SE corner of Sheffield and Fullerton

Spanish Language: Historic and Modern Skyscrapers

Este tour en español incluye rascacielos históricos y modernos. Seguiremos la historia de los “edificios altos”, partiendo de modelos del siglo XIX hasta llegar a los rascacielos contemporáneos. Descubriremos distintos estilos arquitectónicos…

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

Note: Scheduled departures for this tour will return next season. To be notified when tickets for our next tour season go on sale, email tickets@architecture.org.

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

Streeterville: From Sandbar to Lakefront Residences

Take a walk along Lake Shore Dr. to see the residences of the East Lake Shore Historic District with unobstructed views of Lake Michigan. Learn how the lake shaped the shore line and about a ne’er-do-well tug boat captain who held off the Pinkertons…

Duration
1.5 Hours
Meet
Gazebo across from the Drake Hotel

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
1.5 Hours
Meet
Gazebo across from the Drake Hotel

Sullivan Center (Carson Pirie Scott)

Celebrate the beauty of Louis Sullivan's largest commercial commission and learn about the restoration of this landmark department store. This tour looks at Sullivan’s innovative building design, characterized by magnificent ornamental detail.

Duration
0.75 Hour
Meet
33 S. State St., inside the building entrance

Note: Scheduled departures for this tour will return next season. To be notified when tickets for our next tour season go on sale, email tickets@architecture.org.

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Duration
0.75 Hour
Meet
33 S. State St., inside the building entrance

Synagogues by Bus

Learn about synagogue architecture and the history of Chicago’s early German Jewish community on this new tour, with stops on the South Side and in the Loop.

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

Note: No upcoming departures are currently scheduled for this one-time only 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
4.5 Hours
Meet
Chicago Architecture Center, 111 E. Wacker Dr.