architectural tours in Chicago

Old Nov 10th, 2004, 04:43 PM
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architectural tours in Chicago


I was interested in going on an architectural tour in Chicago. Was wondering which is better? The boat or walking tours. And any particular company?

I'm not usually into typical tourist-y events. But do like to hear about history, inside-stories, etc about a city similar to the Big Onion tours in NYC. Just to give you an idea. Please do advise.


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Old Nov 10th, 2004, 04:59 PM
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I've heard very good things about the tours given by the Chicago Architecture Foundation. Their website is
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Old Nov 11th, 2004, 03:28 AM
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I went on the Chicago Architecture Foundation's boat tour. The tour guide was an historical architecture professor. Their website is Look also for ground tours.

Not touristy in the least - highly recommended. Get tickets in advance.

Again the website -
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Old Nov 11th, 2004, 06:12 AM
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We just came back from Chicago, went on 3 architectural tours - historical, modern, and boat. They were all good, especially if you are interested in architecture. Others had more general topics. There weren't many juicy stories. They were all sponsored by the Architectural Foundation on S. Michigan Ave.
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Old Nov 11th, 2004, 06:34 AM
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All their tours are great. See web site as mentioned above. The docents on the Chicago Architecture Foundation tours are very knowledgable people with huge resumees. Most of them are retired history profs or engineer /construction/contractor pros in retirement. Boat tour is the best but the one chicgal mentioned is excellent. It's long at 3.5hours- but I just loved it last spring.

If you are truly interested in this, a great "pre-view" for getting a feel on how this all really came down here in Chicago is a terrific historical PBS 2 reel video that is called "Chicago, City of the Century". Better than a novel and quite as dramatic and emotional, because these early Chicago captains of industry really had some very personal head to heads over these issues. Montgomery Ward held out and we have him to thank for placement of Buckingham Fountain and several of the buildings. See that before the tour and you will enjoy seeing some of the detail with different eyes- and notice more about placement. It's available many places to rent but also at almost any public library.
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