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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

Palmer House Hotel

Experience the glamour, intrigue and excitement of the bygone "Grand Hotel" era at the Palmer House. See recently restored public spaces and renovated guest rooms while learning about the history of Chicago’s oldest continually operating hotel.

Duration
1 Hour
Meet
Inside the hotel entrance at 124 S. Wabash Ave.

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Duration
1 Hour
Meet
Inside the hotel entrance at 124 S. Wabash Ave.

Parks by Bus

You may have driven past them or rode by on bike paths, but have you ever really explored the nature preserves on both sides of Lakeshore Drive? This year's Parks by Bus tour will take you to four parks near Lake Michigan, with time to stop and smell…

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

Note: The annual departure of this special CAC tour will be scheduled again next year. To get tour updates, sign up to receive our monthly e-news at architecture.org/email.

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

Private and Custom Tour Experiences

Let us arrange a private or custom architecture tour for you! An experienced and knowledgeable CAC 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…

Duration
2.5 Hours
Meet
Andersonville Brewing Co., 5402 N. Clark St.

Note: No upcoming departures are currently scheduled for this tour. To learn about other CAF tours and events, sign up to receive our monthly e-news at architecture.org/email.

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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
Belmont and Sheffield, entrance to the L station

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
Belmont and Sheffield, entrance to the L station

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…

Duration
2.5 Hours
Meet
Clark Street Ale House, 742 N Clark St.

Note: No upcoming departures are currently scheduled for this tour. To learn about other CAF tours and events, sign up to receive our monthly e-news at architecture.org/email.

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Duration
2.5 Hours
Meet
Clark Street Ale House, 742 N Clark St.

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…

Duration
2.5 Hours
Meet
Haymarket Pub, 737 W Randolph St.

Note: No upcoming departures are currently scheduled for this tour. To learn about other CAF tours and events, sign up to receive our monthly e-news at architecture.org/email.

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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.

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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…

Duration
2 Hours
Meet
On the plaza at 65 E. Huron St.

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
On the plaza at 65 E. Huron St.

Riverwalk West

Join us for a walk through the recently completed western portion of the Riverwalk, from the CAC to Lake Street. Hear how this linear park has become a magnet for outdoor recreation that some are calling Chicago’s new coastline.

Duration
1.5 Hours
Meet
River-level, between Wabash Ave. and State St.

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
1.5 Hours
Meet
River-level, between Wabash Ave. and 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 building specifically designed for multiple functions including…

Duration
1.5 Hours
Meet
Intersection of State St. and Jackson Blvd.

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
1.5 Hours
Meet
Intersection of State St. and Jackson Blvd.

Schools by Bus

On the fourth annual Schools by Bus tour, we’ll visit four historic school buildings from the 1910s and 1920s and hear about the ever-changing ethnic heritage of the areas around them.

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

Note: The annual departure of this special CAC tour will be scheduled again next year. To get tour updates, sign up to receive our monthly e-news at architecture.org/email.

Learn More

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