Illinois Culture & history

Our most recommended Illinois, USA Culture & history

Chicago: Field Museum of Natural History Ticket or VIP Tour

1. Chicago: Field Museum of Natural History Ticket or VIP Tour

Visit the Field Museum of Natural History, one of Chicago's great museums. With more than 35 world-renowned natural history exhibitions, there's something for everyone. Fuel your passion for discovery with dinosaurs, ancient artifacts, cultural insights, and groundbreaking science. Explore subterranean life in the Underground Adventure exhibit. Admire gemstones in the Hall of Gems and one of the largest collections of Chinese jade in North America in the Hall of Jades. Next, follow the stories of the Ice Age mammoth hunters and the temples of the Inca and Aztecs. Visit the Dinosaur Hall Evolving Planet exhibit to mingle with giant sloths, woolly mammoths, Sue, and Maximo. Upgrade to the All-Access Pass to see a 3-D movie and all 3 ticketed special exhibitions. Choose the Early Access VIP Tour option for a 1-hour VIP tour of the museum's dinosaurs before the museum opens to the general public. Take pictures with Sue or Maximo without the crowds. Then explore the rest of the museum with an all-access ticket including a 3D movie titled "Waking the T-Rex." If you want to see more, get a Discovery Pass to gain general admission to the museum as well as add one of their ticketed exhibitions or a 3D movie to your day. 

Chicago: Art Institute of Chicago Skip-the-Line Ticket

2. Chicago: Art Institute of Chicago Skip-the-Line Ticket

Pre-book and skip the lines to enter the world-renowned Art Institute of Chicago. Experience the museum’s vast collection spanning 5,000 years of art from around the world. See iconic works like Seurat's "A Sunday Afternoon on La Grand Jatte," Renoir's "Two Sisters (On the Terrace),” several works by Van Gogh, and more than 25 paintings by Claude Monet. Must-sees also include paintings like Edward Hopper's “Nighthawks'' and Grant Wood's “American Gothic,” as well as unforgettable works by Georgia O’Keeffe, Pablo Picasso, Henri Matisse, Salvador Dalí, Andy Warhol, Alma Thomas, Cindy Sherman, and Kerry James Marshall. Continue your museum journey around the world and through the centuries with the museum’s outstanding collection of works—from ancient Egyptian objects through 5,000 years of Asian art, a rich selection of works from across Africa, and onto the wide-ranging holdings of arts of Europe and the Americas. Families won’t want to miss favorites like the armored knights and armor collection or the wonders of our 68 Thorne Miniature Rooms. Plus, a stop in the museum’s Ryan Learning Center offers art-making activities and the chance to create your very own custom adventure-filled tour of the galleries with the interactive JourneyMaker. Enjoy an expertly guided experience of the museum at one of our free daily tours, or take it at your own pace with the engaging audio tours available on the museum’s free app.

Chicago: Gangsters and Ghosts 2-Hour Walking Tour

3. Chicago: Gangsters and Ghosts 2-Hour Walking Tour

See a different side of Chicago on a family-friendly guided tour and hear the tales of the ghosts that haunt the city. Explore the famous Chicago Loop district with interesting stories hidden behind each turn. Embark along the Chicago Loop, known as the vice district during the 1920s and 30s. See the places where gangsters such as Al Capone used to party, make deals, and carry out business. Visit haunted locations and old crime scenes led by historians. Stop at the Congress Hotel, Death Alley, and the Palmer House. Enjoy a refreshment along with way, with frequent stops and a restroom break.

Chicago: Medieval Torture Museum Ticket with Ghost Hunting

4. Chicago: Medieval Torture Museum Ticket with Ghost Hunting

Gain entry into one of the largest interactive torture museums in the USA with this attraction ticket. Explore the museum with an audio guide and learn about the terrible history of punishment, torture, and executions from humanity's darkest times. Enter the 5,000 square foot exhibition and get your audio guide from the greeter. Follow the guide's instructions to learn about the hundreds of examples of torture, interrogation, restraint, and execution devices. Gain a greater understanding of how the devices worked by viewing the wax sculptures depicting executioners and victims. While you explore the museum, you can also participate in the thrilling Ghost Hunting Experience by downloading the app.

Chicago: History Museum Admission Ticket

5. Chicago: History Museum Admission Ticket

Explore the history of Chicago and America through a collection of permanent and temporary exhibits drawn from approximately 22 million holdings. "Chicago: Crossroads of America" explores Chicago’s development and its influence on American history. Explore a treasure trove of historical artifacts, including a chunk of the original Fort Dearborn, a restored original L train car, a re-created jazz club, and the actual first locomotive to operate in Chicago. Use all five senses to discover Chicago’s history with the “Sensing Chicago” exhibit, riding a high-wheel bike, hearing the Great Chicago fire, and even enjoying a famous Chicago-style hot dog. Check out temporary exhibitions on everything from Chicago art to the history of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender Chicagoans, to the city's fashion history. Feel the intensity of the Great Chicago Fire and splendor of the World’s Columbian Exposition, explore the sights of bustling Maxwell Street in the 1950s and peer down from an I-beam at the top of the Sears Tower in the 1970s.

Chicago: Museum of Illusions Timed Entrance Ticket

6. Chicago: Museum of Illusions Timed Entrance Ticket

Experience the impossible with an entry ticket to the Museum of Illusions Chicago. Immerse yourself in a world where your eyes will be in a constant battle with your brain. Located in the heart of the Chicago Loop, this brain-boggling museum is a one-of-a-kind destination all about optical illusions. Illusions challenge you to see things differently and reveal a lot about how your brain interprets reality. Experience more than 60 visual and educational exhibits featuring holograms, stereograms, optical illusions, and immersive rooms that are designed to tease the senses and trick the mind. Illusions include: defying gravity in the Tilted Room; growing and shrinking in the Ames Room; walking on walls in the Rotated Room; experiencing infinite space in the Infinity Room; confusing your mind in the Vortex Tunnel; posing in the Beuchet Chair; meeting your doppelgangers at the Clone Table. Then spend some time in the Smart Playroom with games that will stimulate and challenge your mind. Enjoy some friendly competition with friends and family while simultaneously improving your cognition, problem-solving skills, and memory. Overall, the museum is designed to encourage you to have fun while learning the mechanics behind each and every illusion you experience. And don't forget your camera or smartphone when you visit as there are eye-fooling photo-ops around every corner.

Chicago: Beautiful Lakefront and Museum Campus Segway Tour

7. Chicago: Beautiful Lakefront and Museum Campus Segway Tour

Segways are amazingly fun and there is no better way to tour a world-class city like Chicago than on your own personal set of wheels--a Segway! Our eight-mile Lakefront Chicago Segway tour lets you learn about and view and many Chicago's attractions in a highly unique way. As you glide effortlessly and enjoy the lakefront, you can learn the history of our city from your friendly and professional tour guide. Immerse yourself in the area's countless attractions, gorgeous parks and gardens, and stunning photo opportunities. See sights like Grant Park, the BP Bridge, the Bean, and the Buckingham Fountain, as well as generous views of Lake Michigan and the majestic skyline. Segways are safe to use, easy to learn, and fun to ride. We offer a thorough training session from our certified guides before we begin the tour.

Chicago: Ultimate Food Walking Tour with Tastings

8. Chicago: Ultimate Food Walking Tour with Tastings

Your Chicago food tour will take you through the River North neighborhood — the original Chicago foodie destination — to sample some world-famous Chicago dishes, local favorites, and sweet treats. Choose between a shared group or private tour. Start with a very well-known Chicago dish: the Chicago-style hot dog. Perfect for summers at a baseball game (cheering on the Cubs or Sox of course), or for a quick lunch on a workday, this local take on a hot dog is a debate-worthy food in Chicago and is taken very seriously by locals. You will also sample the world-famous Chicago deep-dish pizza! An entire meal unto itself, this staple of the Chicago food scene originated in River North in the 1940s when workers and families needed filling dishes at low prices.  After you’ve filled up on pizza and hot dogs, continue your tasting journey with a classic Chicago sandwich: Italian beef. This hearty meal came about during the Depression, and it’s here to stay. Conclude your Chicago foodie experience here, with easy access to the ‘L’. Even if you say you’ll never be hungry again, don’t forget to note some great dinner recommendations from your guide.

Chicago: 3-Hour Private Speakeasy Cocktail VIP Tour

9. Chicago: 3-Hour Private Speakeasy Cocktail VIP Tour

Spend an evening visiting the Chicago speakeasies that have been open since the Prohibition Era in the 1920s, many preserved in their original conditions. With your own private group, enter by way of secret entrances and enjoy the same cocktails ordered by infamous Chicago gangsters and bank robbers at these venues nearly a century ago. Relive the glamor of the 1920s while listening to stories of the rampant racketeering and bootlegging of the era.   Alcohol is available for purchase at the three to four different speakeasy stops. Your private tour guide will make Prohibition Era drink recommendations and tell you the stories behind them. Travel around with your young, professional guide and be chauffeured in luxury transportation, ranging from a luxury SUV to a full-sized luxury motor coach.

Chicago: Art Institute Skip-the-Line Tour with Guide

10. Chicago: Art Institute Skip-the-Line Tour with Guide

Experience a guided tour around some of the world’s greatest and most iconic art pieces at the Art Institute of Chicago. Avoid the crowds and lines and meet your expert guide at the Institute 30 minutes before opening time. Explore the expansive collection, learning more about both contemporary and classic pieces. Although the museum usually hosts 1.79 million people per year, you will be able to stroll among the pieces at leisure, getting up close and personal with works by famous and infamous artists like Edward Hopper, Pablo Picasso, Salvador Dali, and Andy Warhol. The Art Institute of Chicago is home to the greatest collection of Impressionist artwork in the world. Your guide will provide expert information on the collection and the museum’s history and hidden gems.

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What people are saying about Illinois

Overall rating

4.6 / 5

based on 1,407 reviews

Lizzy, our guide was so sweet! You walk through the beautiful city, stop here and there and listen to interesting facts and stories. Halfway through there‘s a break for getting some brownies and using the bathroom. Would definetly recommend! Lizzy always made sure everybody has a great time and no one gets lost and stays with the group. Loved it!

Loved this tour! Our tour guide was wonderful and super knowledgeable and engaging. The history of Chicago was very intriguing and it was so nice to be able to get out and safely explore at night. Loved every bit of the gangster history! Would definitely recommend!

Awesome tour! Learned a lot about the city itself and prohibition. Furthermore, Kai the tour guide know really everything about the city and you could ask her everything! Thanks for the nice tour

Fun way to spend time in Chicago! It was easy to keep up with and hear our guide, and she led us to gems in the city we wouldn't have found otherwise!

Scott was fantastic! he deserves a raise!! he was not only funny,he gave us a ton of interesting facts!..he made the trip successful!!