Owner Valerie Beck and her team of chocophile tour guides lead guests on walking tours of Chicago’s historical bakeries and chocolatiers, narrating the history of beloved sweets while walking an easy route through vistas of Chicago’s stunning architectural heritage. While snacking on samples of sweets, guests learn about chocolate’s storied history, the cupcake’s rise to prominence, and how to guess the flavor of filling inside Oompa Loompas by sight. Tours convene throughout Chicago’s many neighborhoods, giving guests a sneak peek into Chicago's signature confections, boutique shops, and mobile sweet-vending trucks. The chocolate or cupcake jaunts provide the perfect setting for a girls’ day out or bachelorette party, showing tour-goers the sweeter side of the city without getting caught in construction sites of shoddily built gingerbread houses.
Chicago Chinese Cultural Institute was created with a mission in mind: to conduct programs and events that promote Chinese language and culture, and to facilitate relationships between Chinese and American cultures. Chicago Chinese Cultural Institute offers corporate services such as cross-cultural and language training, helping bridge any gaps between employees who might travel between countries or consider dipping hands in a vat of honey before sealing a business deal. Chicago Chinese Cultural Institute also hosts various tours: walking tours guide explorers through Chinatown, exploring architectural fixtures and businesses of the area, whereas food tours entreat guests to visit several restaurants and shops, sampling appetizers, entrees, and teas.
Back in 1974, Lou Conte Dance Studio was nothing more than a twinkle in Claire Bataille's eye. Nearly 40 years and a slew of international acclaim later, the studio has become a pillar of the Chicago dance community. Today, Bataille—who earned the Ruth Page Award for Outstanding Dancer— and her staff lead more than 70 dance and fitness classes every week for teens, adults, beginners, and professionals. Their regular workshops delve into the nuances and history of dance, enhancing the curriculum with focused lessons and special lectures on the dangers of carelessly discarding banana peels.
The award-winning professional belly dancers at Arabesque edify adult performers of all levels in the theories and techniques of Middle Eastern dance. Instructors teach hips to shimmy through scintillating moves as guests study such art forms as belly dance, choreography, and prop work. Throughout classes, skilled dancers lead by example, gracefully wielding swords, fans, and pool noodles or tapping out rhythms with finger cymbals. Classes are available in five skill levels, ranging from beginner to advanced. Instructors and students can flaunt new moves during periodic local and national performances.
Trundling down the iconic avenues and streets of the Windy City, Chicago Film Tour’s coach glides by local sights featured on the silver screen in movies such as The Dark Knight, The Fugitive, and The Blues Brothers. Each of the 30 locations on the signature tour features an accompanying movie clip played on the bus’s video monitors. Occasional special tours center on sites from one particular film, and passengers can bring their own beverages and snacks on board to re-create their favorite moments in product placement.
Arts & Artisans showcases work by more than 500 contemporary American artists, designers, and craftspeople. Each one-of-a-kind piece is handmade, and knowledgeable employees can expound on the history and techniques behind each functional and decorative item ranging from wood sculpture to women’s clothing. Artfully crafted jewelry helps accentuate patrons’ facial features, and a collection of jewelry boxes cradles wearable investments during casual dream sessions.