The Chicago skyline is instantly recognizable around the world for its prominent buildings and unique architecture. After the Great Chicago Fire of 1871 razed the downtown area, consuming more than 18,000 buildings, an unprecedented boom in construction and ingenuity began. Stemming from this tragedy and its two main schools of design, Chicago has played an influential role in the evolution of architecture across the United States. The Chicago School pioneered the use of steel-frame and other emerging technologies at the turn of the 20th century, creating the “Commercial Style” which in turn ushered in the era of the modern skyscraper. On the other hand the Prairie School, created by famed architect Frank Lloyd Wright, has played a major role in residential design across the United States. Many of these breathtaking architectural creations can be viewed while on an architecture tour of Chicago.
Chicago Architecture Tours
Whether traveling on the Loop or exploring the city’s celebrated neighborhoods, visitors will discover a remarkable assortment of some of Chicago’s most familiar wonders and historic districts. With a wide variety of tour options there is always something to fit your style.
Water Tours– One of the most popular ways to see the city, there are many different options for a water cruise. Traveling along the shores of Lake Michigan as well as the Chicago River, boat tours provide a unique perspective of the city’s famous skyline and lakeshore. Guests can learn fascinating facts about the history of Chicago and the lesser-known details of some of the finest architecture in the world. Night lake tours provide an extraordinary view of the lakefront, or the Gold Coast, when the city is bathed in the iridescent glow of stars and lights. While there are many companies that offer these tours, these are some of our favorites:
Chicago’s First Lady Cruises
Chicago Line Cruises
Bike/Segway Tours– See more of the city at a leisurely pace aboard a Segway or pedaling a bike. Enjoy biking through many different districts and parks while you learn about the city’s unique style. Or if going by Segway, enjoy zipping about Chicago in unique style. The following offer some great bike and Segway tours to experience the Chicago skyline:
City Segway Tours
Absolutely Chicago Segway
Bike and Roll Chicago
Bus Tours– A great way to get a quick overview of the city, bus tours can take you all over town!
Try Chicago Trolley & Double Decker for a great hop on, hop off experience
Walking Tours– Walking tours take you up close and personal to the architecture allowing you to truly appreciate the fascinating architectural details of various landmarks. Try Chicago Detours for a great introduction to the Loop.
And if you simply can’t decide Chicago Architecture Foundation has every type of tour you could ask for! So take a look around, and find out more about what our beautiful city’s unique and inspiring architecture.
Where to Stay
Whether in the Windy City for business or pleasure, consider the convenience of staying at the luxurious Raffaello Chicago. Located on Michigan Avenue and the renowned Magnificent Mile, this well-appointed downtown boutique hotel offers exemplary service and an award-winning whiskey bar. This establishment provides easy access to world-class museums, restaurants and shopping as well as the theater and the city’s vibrant nightlife.