Architectural Highlights by Bus
Discover the exciting diversity of Chicago architecture as we trace the city’s development from its founding through present day.
Travel through unique neighborhoods such as Hyde Park and Kenwood, Bronzeville, the Loop, the Gold Coast and the Magnificent Mile. Visit architectural masterpieces by famous architects at stops in the Loop, Hyde Park, Illinois Institute of Technology and the Museum Campus. Some interiors are included, including Frank Lloyd Wright’s restored Robie House, now a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
- Frank Lloyd Wright properties have stairs and are not completely ADA accessible. Visit the Frank Lloyd Wright Trust’s accessibility page for more information.
- For guests unable to use stairs, please notify us at least two weeks in advance (when possible) by calling 312.922.3432 to ensure an accessible bus is available.
- Mobility aids (walkers, wheelchairs, etc.) can be stored on the bus.
- Ticket price includes entrance to the Chicago Architecture Center within 7 days of your tour. View the CAC's hours.
- Access to building interiors featured on this tour may be subject to change, due to weekend and holiday schedules or unforeseen closures.
Upcoming Architectural Highlights by Bus Tours
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Highlights of this Tour
56 W. Adams St.
It’s easy to focus solely on the Marquette Building's rich terra cotta ornamentation, decorative bronze…
201 E. Randolph St.
“Let’s cover it with a park.”
Museum of Science and Industry
5700 S. Lake Shore Dr.
As visitors approach Chicago’s Museum of Science and Industry, they feel as though they’re entering…
209 S. LaSalle St.
When completed, the Rookery was thought to be the largest and finest office building in the United States…
219 S. Dearborn St.
Eliminating the usual pomp and circumstance of civic buildings, the Federal Center has become a beacon…
430 S. Michigan Ave.
When business and the arts collide, beautiful architecture can emerge.
a method of building done by stacking one brick or stone on top of another; each brick or stone carries…
431 S. Dearborn St.
Chicago’s Manhattan Building is a fascinating surviving example of an early skyscraper from the late…
190 South LaSalle
190 S. LaSalle St.
When walking down LaSalle Street—in the financial heart of Chicago—you might not take notice of 190…
A reaction to Modernism Postmodernism began as a critique. By the late 1960s and early 1970s, Modernism…
Chicago Board of Trade Building
141 W. Jackson Blvd.
Holding court at the south end of LaSalle St., the Chicago Board of Trade Building presides over Chicago’s…
Art Deco emerged as a popular style of American architecture the 1920s and 1930s. The style originated…
Holabird and Root
After founders William Holabird and Martin Roche died in the late 1920s, John Holabird (William’s son)…
401 N. Wabash Ave.
When our docents explain that the Trump International Hotel & Tower reflects its surroundings, they aren’t…
200 E. Randolph St.
Chicago’s third-tallest building stands out in Chicago’s skyline, distinctively different from its…
a medium-hard metamorphic rock of crystallized limestone
a very hard igneous rock with coarse bits of quartz and other minerals
bundled tube construction
a structural system for a tall building that uses giant square tubes, made up of individual columns,…
32 N. State St.
A “self-cleaning” skyscraper?
5757 S. Woodlawn Ave.
Amid a collection of Victorian homes in Hyde Park, Frank Lloyd Wright’s masterpiece, Robie House, stands…
875 N. Michigan Ave
875 N. Michigan Ave.
If you're looking for an example of Chicago's role in innovative skyscraper design, look no further than…
Skidmore, Owings & Merrill
Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (SOM) was founded in 1936 by Louis Skidmore and Nathaniel Owings. Partner…
By the middle of the 20th century, architects trained in the tenets of Modernism began to experiment…
3360 S. State St.
Crown Hall is widely considered to be the finest work of Ludwig Mies Van Der Rohe.
In 1932, historian Henry-Russell Hitchcock and architect Philip Johnson presented an exhibition and companion…
Ludwig Mies van der Rohe
It’s difficult to imagine what the skyline of Chicago might look like without architect Ludwig Mies van…
a completely open space within a building that can be used for different purposes
300 N. State St.
“In our 'cities within cities' we shall turn our streets up into the air, and stack the daytime and…
London Guarantee Building
360 N. Michigan Ave.
Located where Fort Dearborn once stood, the London Guarantee & Accident Building is one of four structures…
Chicago Water Tower
806 N. Michigan Ave.
An argument can be made that the iconic Chicago Water Tower is overbuilt.
a softer sedimentary rock of fossillized shells and coral
American architects first introduced Gothic Revival style buildings to the United States in the mid-19th…
Carbide and Carbon Building
230 N. Michigan Ave.
Luxurious, exuberant and dramatic, the Carbide and Carbon Building is a metaphor for the sumptuous décor…
435 N. Michigan Ave.
In 1922, on the occasion of its 75th anniversary, the Chicago Tribune announced an international competition…
400-410 N. Michigan Ave.
The Wrigley Building is so recognizable, it hardly needs an introduction.
225 N. Columbus Dr.
From the moment it appeared on the Chicago skyline, the Aqua Tower has earned numerous awards for design…
Michigan Avenue Bridge (DuSable Bridge)
N. Michigan Ave. and E. Wacker Dr.
The place where Michigan Avenue crosses the Chicago River is one of the most iconic urban spaces in the…
600 E. Grand Ave.
From naval base and university campus to shipping hub and entertainment destination, Navy Pier is Chicago’s…
1909 Plan of Chicago
The 1909 Plan of Chicago, also commonly referred to as the “Burnham Plan,” was a visionary Progressive…
860–880 North Lake Shore Drive
860–880 N. Lake Shore Dr.
On today’s Chicago skyline the tallest buildings tend to stand out from the rest.
McCormick Tribune Campus Center
3201 S. State St.
A bold contemporary student center, surrounded by icons of Mid-Centery Modernism, unites a South Side…
1100 E. 57th St.
Near the site of the world’s first human-made nuclear reaction stands a large glass bubble.
Maggie Daley Park
337 E. Randolph St.
Whether you’re young, or just young at heart, Maggie Daley Park has quickly become a must-see in downtown…
Harold Washington Library
400 S. State St.
When it comes to Chicago’s iconic skyline, it isn’t always easy to make a mark and stand out from…
Chicago Cultural Center
78 E. Washington St.
Who would expect a massive Beaux Arts block in the heart of the city to be a hub of contemporary arts…
a structure that looks like half of a sphere
1 S. State St.
Louis Sullivan designed few religious buildings during his career, but one of his best-known works is…
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…
Chicago Architecture: A Walk Through Time
Want a quick introduction to Chicago’s magnificent architecture? This 90-minute tour takes a comprehensive…
Chicago Icons: Connecting Past and Present
This lively overview of Chicago architecture explores iconic buildings from the 1890s to present. We'll…
Explore the interior and exterior of one of Chicago’s most famous and beloved historic buildings: The…
Marvel at the original marble, mahogany doors and decorative wrought iron found throughout the two lobbies…
Must-See Chicago is a fast-paced, 90-minute introductory tour to Chicago featuring some of its most famous…