Chicago is a vast and storied city with so much to see and do that even as a local, you may not ever learn all there is to know about it. How do you choose which tours to go on if you’ve only got a weekend? Here’s a list of our five favorite tours that will even interest locals! (For last year’s list of the best tours, check here.)
Weird Chicago Tours
600 N. Clark St.
Chicago, IL 60686
Although the Blood, Guns and Valentine Crimes Tour is one of the most heavily talked about, Weird Chicago has several tours to choose from so you are guaranteed to find something that will interest your group! Try the Roaring 20s Tour or the Devil in the White City Worlds Fair Tour, to name just a couple more. The tours generally last around three hours and you do get on and off the bus, so you aren’t trapped the entire time. Most local Chicagoans will even learn a thing or two they haven’t heard before and newcomers will have a blast. Under 21s are not allowed on the Roaring 20s Tour or the Pub Crawl Tour for obvious reasons.
Lyric Opera Backstage Tour
20 N. Wacker Dr.
Chicago, IL 60606
Whether you’re a theatre fanatic or not, a backstage tour of the Lyric Opera is well worth the price of admission. The theatre itself is beautiful and majestic, but the backstage is equally impressive in its own way. You’ll get to view eight floors of set pieces and backdrops that are used for the Lyric’s various operas throughout the season. Equally interesting is the wardrobe room where various costumes are housed. The behind-the-scenes look of such a large and elaborate theatre is bound to be interesting for both native Chicagoans and visitors alike.
Chicago Loop Bridges
Chicago locals may know that the Chicago River boasts the most moveable bridges of any other river in the world, but even the locals will undoubtedly learn some new information on the Chicago Bridges Tour. You’ll learn about different bridge styles from the turn of the century to modern times (and get to see them too). And how many people have visited or even heard about the Bridge Museum on Michigan Avenue? A water taxi ride is included in the tour, you can also ‘build your own’ tour. Check the website for details and seasonal availability.
Related: Best Free Tours In Chicago
Chicago Beer Experience Beer Tour
N. Sheffield Ave. & W. Diversey Parkway
Chicago, IL 60614
This tour is perfect for both natives and tourists who love a good beer. Take one of the Chicago Beer Experience’s Beer Tours and you’ll not only learn how to properly taste a beer, but you’ll get some background on a Chicago neighborhood and Chicago’s beer history in general. Choose between the Lakeview & Lincoln Park or Bucktown & Wicker Park tours, both are three hours long and include beer tastings from multiple breweries. There are small tastes of foods that will pair with beers on some locations. Both tours are walking tours so dress for the weather. Check the website for details about each tour and click their booking tool to check seasonal availability.
550 N. Kingsbury Ave. Ste 218
Chicago, IL 60654
Everyone knows Chicago has a reputation for great food. How do you get the full foodie experience without going broke or gaining 20 pounds on your vacation? Go on a foodie tour! Not only do you get to try all of Chicago’s signature foods (without dedicating an entire meal to each one), but your guide will give you information on the history of the city and you’ll meet like-minded gourmets who will give you their own recommendations. The tours continue regardless of weather, a perfect winter outing to be sure that you don’t miss out on experiencing the city even if you have to deal with some brutal weather. If you are vegetarian, make sure to mention it when you book your tour and also let your guide know as your tour begins and they will be sure to accommodate.
Related: Best Helicopter Tours In Chicago
Meredith Lyons is an actor, competitive fighter and fitness instructor in Chicago who also owns an amazing cat named Jake. Meredith has been writing on Examiner as the Chicago Martial Arts Examiner since 2008. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.