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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

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
$15 public, FREE for CAF members
Duration
2 Hours
Meet
In front of the Lincoln Park Zoo administration building, 2001 N. Clark St. (intersection of Clark St. and Armitage Ave.)

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Price
$15 public, FREE for CAF members
Duration
2 Hours
Meet
In front of the Lincoln Park Zoo administration building, 2001 N. Clark St. (intersection of Clark St. and Armitage Ave.)

Palmer House Hotel

Experience the glamour, intrigue and excitement of the bygone era of the "Grand Hotel" at the Palmer House. Explore the recently restored public spaces and beautifully renovated guest rooms while learning about the intriguing history of the country's…

Price
$15 public, FREE for CAF members
Duration
1 Hour
Meet
In the Wabash Ave. lobby (between Monroe & Adams) by the red staircase leading to Potter's Lounge. The Palmer House address is 17 E. Monroe St.

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Price
$15 public, FREE for CAF members
Duration
1 Hour
Meet
In the Wabash Ave. lobby (between Monroe & Adams) by the red staircase leading to Potter's Lounge. The Palmer House address is 17 E. Monroe St.

Parks by Bus

Explore improvements, existing and planned, on the south branch of the Chicago River. We’ll stop at a 19th century quarry transformed into a park and fishing pond, a new boathouse designed by Studio Gang and Ping Tom Park.

Duration
4 Hours
Meet
CAF Shop and Tour Center, 224 S. Michigan Ave.

Note: The annual departure of this special CAF tour will be scheduled again next summer. Until then, CAF offers similar tours that we think you’ll want to learn more about.

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Duration
4 Hours
Meet
CAF Shop and Tour Center, 224 S. Michigan Ave.

Private and Custom Tour Experiences

Let us arrange a private or custom architecture tour for you! An experienced and knowledgeable CAF docent can take you on an existing tour or create a tour based on your interests. These tours are perfect for anyone looking for a more exclusive experience…

Note: Private and custom tours can be scheduled by contacting Group Sales at 312.322.1130 or groupsales@architecture.org.

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Pub Tour: Andersonville

Get a “taste” of Andersonville—a historically landmarked neighborhood settled by Swedish farmers in the 1850s. See the culture reflected in the classic architecture and thriving establishments as we drop into colorful local pubs for vast selections…

Price
$15 public, FREE for CAF members
Duration
2.5 Hours
Meet
Andersonville Brewing Co., 5402 N. Clark St.

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Price
$15 public, FREE for CAF members
Duration
2.5 Hours
Meet
Andersonville Brewing Co., 5402 N. Clark St.

Pub Tour: Lakeview

Experience the vitality of Lakeview, originally a separate suburban settlement north of Chicago. Lake View Township, organized in 1857, was widely populated by German immigrants and we will see how the German influence is still felt in this community…

Duration
2.5 Hours
Meet
Inside the main, ground level entrance to the Belmont L stop, Belmont and Sheffield.

Note: Scheduled departures for this tour will return next season. Please email tickets@architecture.org to be notified when tickets are available.

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Duration
2.5 Hours
Meet
Inside the main, ground level entrance to the Belmont L stop, Belmont and Sheffield.

Pub Tour: Near North

Determine for yourself why design matters as we view unexpected architecture in the Near North section of the River North neighborhood. We see the recently completed Poetry Foundation building, learn about universal design and visit a decades-old speakeasy…

Price
$15 public, FREE for CAF members
Duration
2.5 Hours
Meet
Clark Street Ale House, 742 N Clark St., just south of Chicago Ave.

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Price
$15 public, FREE for CAF members
Duration
2.5 Hours
Meet
Clark Street Ale House, 742 N Clark St., just south of Chicago Ave.

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., at the southeast corner of Grand Ave. and State St.

Note: Scheduled departures for this tour will return next season. Please email tickets@architecture.org to be notified when tickets are available.

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Duration
2.5 Hours
Meet
The outdoor plaza of 515 N. State St., at the southeast corner of Grand Ave. and 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
$15 public, FREE for CAF members
Duration
2.5 Hours
Meet
Haymarket Pub, 737 W Randolph St. (southeast corner of Randolph and Halsted)

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Price
$15 public, FREE for CAF members
Duration
2.5 Hours
Meet
Haymarket Pub, 737 W Randolph St. (southeast corner of Randolph and Halsted)

Railway Exchange (Santa Fe) Building

Completed in 1904, the Railway Exchange Building features a sumptuous light court, beautiful glazed terra cotta details and a breathtaking grand staircase. It was in this building where Daniel Burnham produced the 1909 Plan of Chicago, where several architecture…

Price
$15 public, FREE for CAF members
Duration
0.75 Hour
Meet
CAF Shop and Tour Center, 224 S. Michigan Ave.

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Price
$15 public, FREE for CAF members
Duration
0.75 Hour
Meet
CAF Shop and Tour Center, 224 S. Michigan Ave.

Railway to Pedway

Take a warm walk and see the cool architecture of the Illinois Center Pedway. Learn how an abandoned railway freight yard was transformed into an important urban development. You’ll see some pretty and some gritty portions of the Pedway as we travel…

Duration
1.5 Hours
Meet
Lobby of the Hyatt Regency Chicago East Tower, 201 E. Wacker Dr.

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Duration
1.5 Hours
Meet
Lobby of the Hyatt Regency Chicago East Tower, 201 E. Wacker Dr.

Reliance Building (Alise Chicago)

Explore the exterior, interior lobbies and two upper floors of this John Wellborn Root- and Charles Atwood-designed building where much of the original marble, mahogany doors and decorative wrought iron work are still in evidence.

Price
$15 public, FREE for CAF members
Duration
0.75 Hour
Meet
Main Lobby, 1 W. Washington St. entrance

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Price
$15 public, FREE for CAF 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
$15 public, FREE for CAF members
Duration
2 Hours
Meet
On the plaza at 65 E. Huron (southwest corner of Huron and Rush)

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Price
$15 public, FREE for CAF members
Duration
2 Hours
Meet
On the plaza at 65 E. Huron (southwest corner of Huron and Rush)

Riverwalk West

The city of Chicago's Riverwalk is finally complete, stretching from Lake Michigan to Lake Street. Join us on a walk through this linear park, a magnet for outdoor recreation and fun that some are calling Chicago's new "coastline."

Price
$15 public, FREE for CAF members
Duration
1.5 Hours
Meet
The Vietnam Memorial on the river between Wabash Ave. and State St.

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Price
$15 public, FREE for CAF members
Duration
1.5 Hours
Meet
The Vietnam Memorial on the river between Wabash Ave. and State St.

Rookery Building

Explore both the interior and exterior of one of Chicago’s most famous and beloved historic buildings: The Rookery by Burnham and Root. Venture to the 11th floor for a visit to the architects’ private library—rarely open to visitors.

Price
$15 public, FREE for CAF members
Duration
1 Hour
Meet
209 S. LaSalle St. at the foot of the grand staircase

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Price
$15 public, FREE for CAF members
Duration
1 Hour
Meet
209 S. LaSalle St. at the foot of the grand staircase