Millennium Trolley Tours offers the only way to explore Chicago like a Californian. The tour company takes customers throughout historical and popular city areas aboard San Francisco-style trolley cars that mirror the aesthetic of the city's iconic rail transports. While traveling to various Chicago hot spots, such as the Theatre District or the Hancock Building, tour guides share historical facts about the city and its landmarks. Though you can stay aboard the trolley for the entire one-hour, 45-minute tour, passengers can also hop off to explore areas of interest, and hop back on to avoid walking on the city’s numerous hot-coal sidewalks.
How many manmade buildings can you think of that have survived for more than 2,500 years? The Great Wall of China is impressive for many reasons, but top on that list has to be its longevity—some sections date as far back as the seventh century BC, so long ago that a major reconstruction was needed by the time the Ming dynasty rolled around in 1368 AD. Today, much of the wall stands as always has. It courses east to west across the green mountains and running rivers of northern China for some 5,500 miles. You’ll see the monumental Great Wall on Nexus Holidays Toronto’s 10-day guided tour of China, and it’s just one small part of the tour, which stops in five cities and includes round-trip airfare.Click here for a sample itinerary of the trip. Click here for a list of departure dates.Days 1–4: After departing from a gateway city on the West Coast of America on an economy-class flight, you’ll touch down in Beijing. Once on the ground, say nǐ hǎo to your English-speaking tour guide before transferring to the regal Jade Palace Hotel, which is situated in Zhongguancun, known as the “Silicon Valley of China.” The next three days are jam-packed with sightseeing excursions: you’ll see Tiananmen Square, the Forbidden City, and the Temple of Heaven, another relic from the Ming dynasty. A trip to the Great Wall is the highlight of day 4; your tour group will also spend some time checking out the Olympic Village, which includes Bird’s Nest stadium and Water Cube.Days 5–6: The trip moves on to Hangzhou, a city known to Chinese poets as “Paradise on Earth.” You’ll cruise West Lake, renowned for its natural scenery and ancient pagodas, before taking in the pleasant sights and smells of a green-tea plantation. The 3,000-year-old city of Wuxi is your destination on the next day, where you’ll pay a visit to the Grand Buddha at Ling Shan. This iconic statue stands 88 meters high and weighs more than 700 tons, which puts it on the shortlist as one of the largest Buddha sculptures in the world and, whenever anyone places a magazine under it, the world’s largest paperweight. Days 7–10: The last days of the trip are split between the city of Suzhou and metropolitan Shanghai. Suzhou is known as the “Venice of the East” for its 1,500-year-old Grand Canal and interlocking waterways. While here, you’ll take a stroll through the Master of the Nets Garden, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Designed to evoke the peaceful, simple life of a fisherman, it’s a meticulous display of unique water features and nature scenes.Your tour of Shanghai begins with a trip to the Bund, a waterfront district lined with shops and varied architecture influenced by former European occupiers; its building styles range from Romanesque to Gothic to Beaux-Arts. Later, you’ll enjoy more than 120,000 curated treasures on display at the Shanghai Museum. Following breakfast on day 10, you’ll depart Shanghai for your return flight home. Read the Fine Print for important info on travel dates and other restrictions.
The bronze likeness of Michael Jordan—the Bulls' #23 and basketball's undisputed king—leaps into the air in front of the United Center, ascending into the annals of sports history. Across town, the sound of Babe Ruth's most famous homer rebounds off of the iconic walls of Wrigley Field. The Roman-meets-modern architecture of Soldier Field—where Walter Payton, Mike Ditka, and "The Fridge" grew to larger-than-life—straddles Chicago's lakefront. The resounding Black Sox scandal clashes with the victorious 2005 World Series Champs banners at U.S. Cellular Field, where the White Sox's famous exploding scoreboard towers above the Bridgeport neighborhood.
During an air-conditioned bus ride, local comedians wax historic as tourists are brought within earshot and camera-shot of Chicago's proudest pro-sports franchises. The Chicago Sports Tour parades from the North to the South side, brushing shoulders with famous ballparks and weaving through more than a century of athletic anecdotes and civic pride. Augmented by laughs and entertainment, it reveals more than the brick-and-mortar façades of the famous stadiums. The guides bring each building to life with fascinating anecdotes, and rides from one stadium to the next cover neighborhoods such as Wrigleyville, Bridgeport, and Little Italy—where fans and players alike eat, drink, and argue about their favorite peanut vendors.:m]]
Brothers Aaron and Asher Gershenzon and friend James Morro grew up in the city, but always possessed a passion for the outdoors. They practiced wilderness kayaking for most of their lives before earning their American Canoe Association certifications on Lake Superior. Each of them brings dual passions for their home city and outdoor sports to the company’s guided group and private kayak trips. Guided paddles change on every outing as guides blend downtown architectural commentary and little-known Al Capone stories with tie-ins to current events. Though each guide tells different stories, often interspersed with humor, all of them focus on environmentally friendliness. Paddling trips utilize a fleet of lime-green Confluence Watersports kayaks, and staffers often wear lime-green shirts—all of which render them easily identifiable from the riverwalk, but well camouflaged in supermarket produce sections.
One guide leads six participants and prepares them with a briefing on paddling techniques, rules of the river, and assurances of the stability of their wide-river kayaks. The guides' watchful eyes and constant advice have instilled confidence in even the most unsure participants, including basketball player Andre Iguodala, who slowly grew accustomed to his kayak by the end of his session. When not guiding trips, staffers provide their single and tandem kayaks to customers who want to explore the river on their own. They extend their easygoing atmosphere to their office—nestled across the river from the Centennial Fountain's Water Arc—where picnic tables stand by the storefront, and the owners' chocolate Labrador frolics inside around a hanging hammock.
The Chicago branch of Gray Line's global sightseeing operation organizes a wide variety of tours and excursions throughout the Windy City, from architectural tours that send passengers coasting on the river and lake for sun-drenched educational cruises to shopping odysseys at Chicago Premium Outlets, where travelers can zip through more than 100 stores and restaurants after being shuttled to the retail utopia. Blues outings treat music lovers to raw licks, soul food, and real tears at celebrated concert venues such as Buddy Guy's Legends and Rosa's Lounge.
Gray Line's cherry-red trolleys transport visitors and residents alike to famous Chicago sites. Just north of the river, the vehicles idle before the Wrigley Building's sparkling white terra cotta façade, which in the 1920s stood as the first major skyscraper outside of The Loop. From there, the trolley may motor north to the John Hancock Center, where elevators to its observatory sweep guests 96 floors in 39 seconds. The trolley could also steer south to the Willis Tower, which lost its maiden name of Sears after being charmed by a passing cumulus cloud.
Inspired by a love of fitness and a passion for travel and tourism kindled within him by his late father, Jeremy Lewno founded Bobby's Bike Hike to create an interactive Chicago biking experience. He named the company after his dad, Bob, an Arkansas bus-tour operator who taught him to focus on service quality over quantity. That advice has clearly paid off, as the business's guided tours have earned a number one ranking for activities to do in Chicago on TripAdvisor and the title of Best Organized Bike Ride from the Chicago Reader in 2010.
During the tours, which include rented bicycles, guides lead groups of about 20 riders past Chicago icons in Millennium Park and on the Museum Campus, or direct them to samples of pizza, hot dogs, cupcakes, and beer in and around Wrigleyville. The crew has designed a Tike Hike tour for kids 10 and younger, a historic Hyde Park tour that pedals past the home of President Barack Obama, and a mansion-studded lakefront tour, during which riders may glimpse Oprah waving or handing out complimentary helicopters at her main residence. Patrons can also rent Schwinn, GT, and Cannondale Comfort bikes, mountain, road, cruisers, and tandem bikes to explore the city on their own.
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