Founder Amanda Scotese, an avid traveler and freelance writer for Rick Steves's renowned travel guides, delegates sure-footed guides to lead sightseers to iconic landmarks and down the back alleys and lesser-known nooks of the Windy City. Tours probe the ins and outs of the Chicago's neighborhoods, such as the Loop, where they fill eyes with the sights of world-renowned architecture and minds with the secrets of the Pedway, an underground walkway that connects buildings throughout the business district with the Ninja Turtles' lair. The Historic Chicago Bar Tour, born of Chicago Detours' desire to spread knowledge of the city's entertainment history, takes tour-goers to three historic bars in an exploration of how the city had fun. Private group Jazz, Blues & Beyond tours explore historic neighborhoods on the North and South sides, and include diversions such as harmonica lessons from a bona fide blues blower. Chicago Detours also offers private-group tours for birthdays, family reunions, and corporate team-building exercises. Private group tour options also include Meat History of Fulton Market and Chicago Neighborhoods and Cultural Diversity.
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.
Led by a team of knowledge-packed guides, Joyce Walks Chicago introduces out-of-towners and natives alike to the Second City's historic hoods during a full schedule of weekly walking tours. Each unique jaunt showcases a variety of hidden gems and well-known attractions, such as the Lincoln Park and Old Town tour, which weaves along the lakefront, or the Loop Art & Architecture tour, which lets participants examine The Picasso and solicit autographs from famous skyscrapers. The company's well-researched repertoire also includes seasonal treks that unveil some of the city's most decorated dwellings, affording tour takers the chance to absorb winter's twinkling lights and summer's stickball games between neighborhood pigeons.
It's safe to say that Frank Lloyd Wright is a household name, partly because he put his name on so many houses. The sites overseen by the Frank Lloyd Wright Trust receive as many as 150,000 visitors a year—tangible proof that the visionary's impact on architecture, design, and culture remains alive and well. To ensure that legacy continues, the Chicago-based nonprofit maintains several of Wright's buildings and hosts various educational programs.
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]]