Chicago is a city easily explored by foot or riding the 'L' train, with chances to view the architecture up close and experience the fabulous neighborhoods and parks. But for those times out of the year when the city weather is less cooperative, and for visitors who want the leisurely enjoyment and educational edification of a bus tour of Chicago, we'e got you covered. Check out these touring bus companies for another view of Chicago.
The most popular and scenic tour is the famous Chicago Architectural Foundation river cruise tour. There really is nothing like seeing the city from the Chicago River. But for another perspective, try the Chicago Architectural Foundation's bus tours.
The foundation offers several options but the three-and-a-half hour Architectural Highlights Tour is the most thorough. During the over-30-mile tour, you'll learn Chicago architectural history as well as view iconic Loop skyscrapers as well as historic buildings in Hyde Park and the South Side, the Gold Coast and Frank Lloyd Wright's Robie House.
DURATION: 3.5 hours
PRICE: $45/public; $37/CAF members
This is the bus tour to take if you want to dive below the surface of Chicago history. Chicago's Finest Tours delivers Chicago history, but from the viewpoint of its neighborhoods, where most of the real history developed.
These three-hour tours dig deep into Chi-town character and include tidbits that even locals don't know. Choose from "South Side Essentials," "North Side Essentials," "Devil in the White City Plus," "West Side Essentials" and "Pullman Monument Tour."
DURATION: 3 hours
This highly engaging, fun and fact-filled tour is a Chicago classic. You don't even have to be interested in the city's notorious gangster history to enjoy this two-hour guided tour because it boasts so much political and social history as well.
Untouchable Tours features a host of guides who take on colorful characters like Southside Da Brewmaster and Johnny Three Knives as they guide you through the streets of Chicago in a black school bus.
DURATION: Approximately 2 hours
PRICE: Starting at $35
Now the official tour bus company for Navy Pier, Big Bus Tours is all about convenience and fun. Live, on-board guides have a great knowledge of the city, and clever jokes to give a personal touch. Also a plus, select buses have audio in Spanish so you can listen to in-language scripts as you pass by landmark sights such as the Art Institute of Chicago and the Skydeck at Willis Tower.
Of course the biggest benefit is the flexibility of the hop-on, hop-off tickets so when you want to explore that museum or take a ride on the Centennial Ferris Wheel you can just unload at that stop. Bonus: the panoramic deck tops can be outfitted with glass covers so you are set for a day of Chicago sightseeing, rain or shine.
DURATION: 1, 2, or 3 day tickets available for hop-on, hop-off tours
PRICE: Hop-on, hop-off tour tickets, $36/1 day; $45/2 day; $54/3 day
From Chicago Trolley & Double Decker to Chicago Crime Tours, there's a lot of Chicago tour bus options. Interested in a sightseeing tour that defies expectations? Check out Tours with a Twist for unique outings that go inside, behind-the-scenes, even underground to show off a different side of Chicago!