Chicago Architecture Center

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Chicago Architecture Center: Our most recommended tours and activities

  • Chicago: Hop-on Hop-off Open Top Bus Tour

    1. Chicago: Hop-on Hop-off Open Top Bus Tour

    From your vantage point on the double-decker sightseeing bus you'll enjoy panoramic views of Chicago’s finest skyscrapers, including the 875 N Michigan, the Willis Tower and the Wrigley Building. Take in the city's impressive landmarks as your tour guide provides entertaining commentary and insight into Chicago's history. Enjoy exploring this dynamic city with the freedom to hop-on and hop-off as many times as you wish to visit attractions such as the Shedd Aquarium and the Field Museum. You’ll travel down the famous Magnificent Mile, considered one of the great avenues of the world, and continue across the Michigan Avenue Bridge over the Chicago River. The bridge connects the north and south sides of the city. This hop-on, hop-off bus tour of Chicago makes it easy for you to explore the city's sights at your own pace. There are 13 stops, where you can hop-off to visit attractions and...

    Great way to get around town and to all best attractions without paying for a can or taxi and with the plus of getting information about the different attractions along the way.

  • Chicago: Must See Chicago 90 minute Walking Tour

    2. Chicago: Must See Chicago 90 minute Walking Tour

    Starting at the Chicago Architecture Center (CAC), this tour gives you an overview of many of the must see buildings and landmarks in the City of Chicago. Led by an expert guide who has been rigorously trained by the CAC to be equal parts storyteller and educator, you will get a fantastic introduction to the city’s wide variety of architectural styles, construction methods, and materials. There is so much to see downtown, and this tour makes it easy and fun to learn about some of the buildings that make Chicago’s architecture world-class. There are lots of photo opportunities along the way, so be sure to bring your camera! The tour covers three of the main focal points of Downtown Chicago – the Chicago Loop, the heart of historic Chicago; the Chicago River, the lifeblood of the city; and Millennium Park, where the iconic “The Bean” sculpture is located. Landmark buildings covered on th...

  • Chicago: Architecture Center Exhibit Admission

    3. Chicago: Architecture Center Exhibit Admission

    The Chicago Architecture Center is the city’s newest must-see cultural destination. The CAC, formerly Chicago Architecture Foundation, is a hub for everything architecture in Chicago. The CAC will be a gateway for docent-led tours, exciting programs and imaginative, new interactive exhibits including the expanded, popular Chicago Model. Discover the stories behind the city’s architectural marvels and see how Chicago designers are changing skylines around the world. The Chicago Architecture Center fills a dramatic space, designed by the world-renowned firm Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architecture, in a building by the Office of Mies van der Rohe, pioneer of mid-Century modernism. Center visitors are greeted by stunning views—through a 40-foot tall wall of glass—of some of the city’s most iconic buildings: Tribune Tower, the Wrigley Building and the new flagship Apple Store. The 20,000-s...

  • Evolution of the Skyscraper: 90-Minute Chicago Walking Tour

    4. Evolution of the Skyscraper: 90-Minute Chicago Walking Tour

    This 90-minute tour is a chronological overview of Chicago's architecture, starting with its growth on the Chicago River, its rebirth after the Great Chicago Fire and its development into a commercial and cultural hub. See how architects adapted building styles to meet the fashions of their era and used cutting-edge engineering to build taller than ever before. This tour is an enticing overview which introduces you to the most important stories of Chicago architecture. On this tour, you'll learn about the city's beginnings on the river, its rebirth after the Great Fire and its development into a commercial and cultural hub, all while viewing structures in the order they were built. These buildings—including the Page Brothers Building, Old Dearborn Bank, the Chicago Motor Club, the Carbide and Carbon Building, NBC Tower and more—tell the story of how architectural technology evolved o...

    It was a modest but very informative walk that encompassed a few blocks around the Architecture Foundation Center. The Center itself has a very interesting miniature of the Chicago Loop and a good array of books and potential gifts in their 'store'. We had been on boat tours before, but this was the first walking tour. We really enjoyed the walk, the information and the questions we got to ask!

  • Chicago's Modern Skyscrapers Guided Walking Tour

    5. Chicago's Modern Skyscrapers Guided Walking Tour

    Join a tour which focuses on Modernism, the dominant visual style of the 20th century, which continues to strongly influence design in the 21st century. Modernism has affected the shape of everything from houses to furniture and appliances, cars and even fashion. But the most spectacular effect of Modernism has been the modern skyscraper made of steel or reinforced concrete with vast areas of glass. It is a product of the age of mass production. Chicago is widely considered the birthplace of the skeleton frame, which forms the core of the modern skyscraper. On your tour, learn about how two men made a lasting impact on Chicago, Architect Ludwig Mies van der Rohe and politician, Mayor Richard J. Daley. Enjoy superb views of the riverfront while walking along the River Walk. Highlighted buildings include Marina City, the Daley Center and the IBM Building.

Other Sightseeing Options in Chicago Architecture Center

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What people are saying about Chicago Architecture Center

Overall rating

4.3 / 5

based on 259 reviews

It was a modest but very informative walk that encompassed a few blocks around the Architecture Foundation Center. The Center itself has a very interesting miniature of the Chicago Loop and a good array of books and potential gifts in their 'store'. We had been on boat tours before, but this was the first walking tour. We really enjoyed the walk, the information and the questions we got to ask!

The first bus driver was great. Animated guided the tour. The second however was driving erratic. I would say using gas and brake at the same time as our heads were jerking around the seats. No guide, no announcement of why stops.

Would highly recommend this way of seeing Chicago. Enjoyed the freedom to hop off and stay as long as needed to see attraction and then hop on to go to the next attraction.

Great day and weather. You get to see so much of Chicago! A nice way to get you bearings before you explore on foot!

Very good tour walking through the city when the weather was great!