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How to Spend 1 Day in Chicago

How to Spend 1 Day in Chicago

If you only have one day to see Chicago, don’t worry. That’s more than enough time to get acquainted with the Windy City’s ineffable style, lofty skyline, and numerous cultural attractions. From architecture cruises along the Chicago River to skyscraper observation decks, here are some suggestions for the perfect sightseeing day in Chicago.

Morning: Chicago’s Green Spaces

Start your day by looking beyond Chicago’s urban jungle of skyscrapers. The city has plenty of vibrant green spaces to be seen by bike or Segway tour. Millennium Park, within the larger Grant Park, has become one of the city’s most popular attractions since it opened in 2004. Stretching across 25 acres (10 hectares), the park’s highlights range from the verdant Lurie Garden to the playful Crown Fountain and Anish Kapoor’s reflective Cloud Gate sculpture, commonly known as “The Bean.”

Afternoon: Architectural Sights

From the soaring spires of the Willis Tower and the John Hancock Center to the famous Marina City buildings and the landmarks along Magnificent Mile, Chicago is an architecture lover’s city. One of the best ways to take in the sights is on a cruise along the Chicago River. Find a seat on the deck, and crane your neck upward as your tour guide shares stories about how the city’s skyline came to be. Alternatively, a walking tour lets you get intimate with the landmarks, head into building lobbies to admire interior architecture, and delve into their history.

Evening: Aerial Views

Chicago is a skyscraper city—until One World Trade Center debuted in New York City in 2013, the Willis Tower (formerly known as Sears Tower) was the tallest building in the Western Hemisphere. In addition to being a Chicago landmark, the building offers some of the best views of the cityscape and Lake Michigan beyond. Book Skydeck admission tickets to take an elevator 100 floors above the city and admire a panoramic perspective of Chicago after dark. If that isn’t sufficiently lofty, evening helicopter tours also provide an excellent aerial vantage point for night sightseeing.

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3 Tours and Activities | All Chicago Tours

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Chicago Architecture River Cruise
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Chicago Architecture River Cruise

star-5
5256
Cruise down the Chicago River to see the city's famous architecture on this boat tour. With commentary from your onboard guide, watch the spectacular skyline glide by, including more than 40 notable buildings like Navy Pier, the Wrigley Building, and the John Hancock Building. Cover all three branches of the Chicago River, passing the East Bank Club, the old Post Office Building and the Willis Tower (formerly known as the Sears Tower).
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  • 1 hour 15 minutes
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$44.69
From
$44.69
Taking safety measures

Chicago Walking Tour: Art Deco Skyscrapers

Chicago Walking Tour: Art Deco Skyscrapers

star-4.5
72
Admire the incredible façades and intricate interiors of the Windy City's 1920s art deco and art moderne buildings during this architecture walking tour of Chicago. Uncover the history of Chicago art deco architectural along with the city's influential role in the development of this iconic artistic style, as you get an up close and personal look at its wealth of gorgeous period buildings. This art deco Chicago walking tour also includes a certified guide.
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  • 1 hour 30 minutes
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$30.00
From
$30.00
Taking safety measures

Chicago Walking Tour: Historic Skyscrapers

Chicago Walking Tour: Historic Skyscrapers

star-4.5
43
Explore the Loop's famous architecture during this 2-hour walking tour with an expert guide from the Chicago Architecture Foundation. Discover the beginnings of the Chicago School of Architecture through visits to some of the city's oldest skyscrapers, dating from the late 19th and early 20th centuries. This sophisticated, informative tour is a must-do for history and architecture buffs.
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  • 1 hour 30 minutes
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$30.00
From
$30.00
Taking safety measures