Welcome to Illinois
Chicago dominates the state with its sky-high architecture and superlative museums, restaurants and music clubs. But venturing further afield reveals Hemingway's hometown of 'wide lawns and narrow minds,' scattered shrines to local hero Abe Lincoln, and a trail of corn dogs, pies and drive-in movie theaters down Route 66. A cypress swamp and a prehistoric World Heritage site make appearances in Illinois too
Top experiences in Illinois
Chicago Architecture River Cruise
Take an architecture cruise down the Chicago River and learn about the city’s famed architecture from your knowledgeable guide. Board your tour at Navy Pier for an exciting journey that takes you down all three branches of the historic Chicago River and past impressive architectural landmarks. Pass by more than 40 distinctive buildings on your cruise including the John Hancock Center, the Wrigley Building, the Aon Center, Willis Tower (Sears Tower), the IBM Building and more. Your guide, an expert in architecture, will recount the two major events that helped shape the architectural history of the city. Learn about how the invention of balloon-frame construction revolutionized how homes were built, and hear the dramatic story of Chicago's rise from the Great Fire of 1871. Both of these milestones led Chicago to become one of the cradles of modern American architecture.Along the scenic 75-minute route, see buildings by world-famous architects including Mies van der Rohe, Helmut Jahn and Skidmore, Owings and Merrill (SOM). This river tour provides the best advantage point to admire the distinct city skyline and marvel at world-famous architecture while learning about Chicago's fascinating history.For a full list of Chicago architectural wonders seen on this tour, see the Itinerary section below.
Chicago City Hop-on Hop-off Tour
Your lightly-narrated trolley (heated in winter) or double-decker bus will tour 13 magnificent miles of Chicago's downtown and The Loop, taking you by the city's premier shopping, dining and attractions. The tour is about two hours if you do not get off. Hop on and off as much as you please for 3 consecutive days! Or stay on board an experience a variety of seasonal tours around the city!With a foreign language app available, you can choose to have the tour narrated in your choice of German, Chinese, Spanish, or Portuguese. Once you purchase your ticket, you can download the mobile app and select your language preference.
Skydeck Chicago Admission
Marvel at Chicago from an unparalleled viewpoint during this exciting Skydeck experience. Located in Willis Tower, formerly Sears Tower, the Skydeck offers spectacular sweeping vistas of Chicago and beyond from the 103rd floor. Walk out onto the Ledge, a glass box-like balcony that extends 4.3 feet (1.3 meters) from the building, and experience an unconventional view--straight-down! Admire the lofty views of top Chicago attractions, like Wrigley Field, the Navy Pier and Millennium Park, all from a breathtaking height of 1,353 feet (412.4 meters). On a clear day, you can see up to 50 miles (80.5 km) out! It’s also the perfect vantage point for great sunset and twinkling nightscape views. Bring your camera or treat yourself to a professional photo available at the gift shop.You can also explore several exhibits designed for the whole family, like interactive digital floor displays, touch-screen activities and scavenger hunts that not only highlight Chicago's iconic landmark, but also celebrate the Windy City's sports, architecture, pop culture, history, food, music and people. Challenge yourself with a Chicago trivia game, compare the heights of the tallest structures in the world, and see just how many of your bodies it would take to reach the height of Willis Tower.
Chicago CityPASS includes entry to: Shedd Aquarium (includes VIP entry to Waters of the World galleries, Amazon Rising, Wild Reef, Abbott Oceanarium, Polar Play Zone, Amphibians special exhibit and Stingray Touch (May to October), plus your choice of a 4-D Experience. The Field Museum (includes All-Access Pass, including admission to all permanent and ticketed exhibitions plus your choice of one digital 3D film) Skydeck Chicago (includes Fast Pass admission to the Skydeck’s 360-degree views and The Ledge glass-floor balconies) ChoiceTicket 1: Museum of Science and Industry (includes VIP entry into the museum, including Science Storms, U-505 (exhibit only), YOU! The Experience, an Omnimax show and Motion Simulator Ride) OR 360 Chicago (formerly John Hancock Observatory) (includes Fast Pass admission to Chicago’s best views and only open-air Sky Walk) Choice Ticket 2: Adler Planetarium (includes VIP entry and general admission to all exhibitions, the historic Atwood Sphere and one 3-D theater show) OR Art Institute of Chicago: (includes audio tour and admission to all permanent collections and non-ticketed special exhibitions) This is the best way for you to save time and money. Each ticket booklet is packed with useful information, including hours of operation, contact and transportation information and insider tips.Most venues included in the pass have different minimum ages for free entry. It is your choice whether you purchase a pass for infants and children to avoid standing in ticket lines to verify ages and pay admission upon entry. You may purchase a Child Pass for infants and children, however this may not be cost saving.
Chicago Segway Tour
The tour begins with a 30 minute training session. You'll glide from the peninsula through Museum Campus to the Shedd Aquarium and the Field Museum. Then you'll cruise along Lakeshore Drive at the edge of Lake Michigan all the way to Millennium Park at the foot of famous Michigan Avenue. You'll see Navy Pier, the Lincoln statue, Buckingham Fountain and of course, ride the coolest machine in the world the entire time! As you cruise along Lake Michigan, through Grant Park and the Museum Campus, you will receive a great orientation, informative historical and current-day information, heaps of unique and fascinating stories, fantastic photo ops and superb personal service from your guide. The Segway is the first of its kind - a self-balancing, personal transportation device that's designed to operate in any pedestrian environment. It's new, it's cool and a ton of fun! Tours are limited to 8 clients with 1 guide so you can count on a great, intimate experience. Discover what it's like to be a Windy City celebrity as everyone turns to watch you glide by! City Segway Tours are proud to be the first guided tour using Segways in the world! No one can match their experience. Be sure you glide with the original! All riders must be at least 12 years of age to participate.
Chicago Crime and Mob Bus Tour
Meet your guide across from the Water Tower Place shopping mall in Chicago’s Near North Side at your selected time. Hop aboard a luxury climate-controlled coach and begin your 1.5-hour tour of the history of Chicago crime, from 19th century to today.Your guide will pull you into the underworld of Chicago’s criminals, gangsters and mobsters as you explore the city’s most famous crime scenes. Your tour takes you through River North, the Gold Coast, Lincoln Park, Old Town, the Loop and Magnificent Mile. Hear fascinating stories about Al Capone, The Untouchables, the Chicago Mob, John Dillinger, ‘Terrible’ Tommy O'Conner, Leopold and Loeb and ‘Cap’ George Streeter, all who made their sinister criminal mark on Chicago at some point. Grab your camera for a ‘drive-by shooting’ of the historic criminal courthouse, an architectural landmark where some of Chicago's most famous cases were tried.Stake out crime scenes including the Biograph Theatre, Holy Name Cathedral, Clark Street Bridge and Lake Street EL, and see the site of the 1929 St Valentine's Day Massacre, one of Chicago's most notorious murder scenes. This Prohibition-era conflict between two powerful Chicago gangs -- the South Side gang led by Al Capone and the North Side gang led by Bugs Moran -- ended in the brutal murder of seven Mob members.In addition to your comfortable, narrated drive through the city, you’ll also hop off the coach to visit some areas by foot for a more immersive experience. Your guide will offer in-depth narration as you follow the path that Chicago gangsters John Dillinger and Hymie Weiss walked right before their deaths.Hop back on the coach and return to the Near North Side to conclude your Chicago crime and gangsters tour.