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Chicago in a Nutshell including Hancock Tower Observatory

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Key Highlights

  • See ′everything Chicago′ on this great tour
  • Feel on top of the world at the Hancock Observatory
  • Tour President Obama′s home city
  • Activity Schedule
    When does it run?



    4 hours

    Start time

    01 Oct – 31 May: 10:00am
    01 Jun – 30 Sep: 9:30am and 1:30pm

    Meeting Point

    Your hotel in downtown Chicago. (We require your hotel details in order to arrange your pick up. If you do not have this information at the time of booking, please contact the local activity operator at least 48 hours prior to the start of the tour with these details).
    If you are not staying in a downtown hotel please make your way to the Grayline office on the 2nd Floor, Palmer House, 17 East Monroe Street, Chicago

    Ending Point

    Your hotel in downtown Chicago or Talmer House, 17 East Monroe St, Chicago

  • Overview & Itinerary


    This superb sightseeing tour includes the best of magnificent Chicago, President Obama’s ‘home town’ and one of the world’s most exciting cities.

    See the bustling business districts including the famous ‘Loop’ and the Magnificent Mile.

    Visit beautiful parks and gardens – Grant Park, Jackson Park, Lincoln Park and Washington Park Admire the tropical paradise in the Lincoln Park Conservatory.

    Look at the graceful 19th century buildings, including the Museum of Science and Industry, with its lovely campus, and the University of Chicago, modeled on Oxford and Cambridge.

    Gaze with wonder at the modern architecture of this thrusting city – the Aon Center (faced with granite), the Hancock Tower (100 stories high) and the gleaming white Wrigley Building.

    If you’ve a good head for heights, choose the Hancock Tower Observatory option. Ninety-four stories up, you’ll feel on top of the world and see for at least 80 miles. It’s an unforgettable experience and a great family outing.


    You will be picked up from your hotel in an air-conditioned coach. If you are not staying in a downtown hotel please make your way to the Grayline office on the 2nd Floor, Talmer House, 17 East Monroe Street, Chicago to join the tour.

    This is a comprehensive tour of everything that Chicago has to offer. With your English-speaking guide, you’ll drive through both the North Side and South Side business and residential districts.

    On your drive-past tour, you will cover virtually the entire length of the scenic Outer Drive. Some of the highlights you will see on the way include:

    The Loop: The historical center of downtown Chicago, so-called because it lies within the loop created by the route of the elevated train system.

    State Street: In the early days this was the main route south through Illinois. In the 1900s it became a famous shopping center. Frank Sinatra, in the song ‘Chicago’, refers it to “State Street, that Great Street”.

    Wrigley Building: The gleaming white headquarters of the Wrigley (chewing gum) company. Built in 1920, it is one of Chicago’s most famous landmarks.

    Magnificent Mile and Michigan Avenue: Chicago’s most exclusive shopping area.

    John Hancock Tower: This 100-story building is an architectural icon and one of the world’s tallest buildings.

    Grant Park: A large park often referred to as the ‘city's front yard’. It is the site of Soldier Field Stadium, currently home of the Chicago Bears football team

    Adler Planetarium: Opened in 1930, this was the first planetarium in the western hemisphere.

    Aon Center (formerly Amoco Oil Building):. One of Chicago’s tallest buildings. Originally clad in Italian marble, it was refaced in the 1990s using white granite.

    Jackson Park:A beautiful 500 acre (2 km²) park. In 1893, it hosted the World’s Colombian Exposition, which celebrated the founding of America 400 years earlier.

    Washington Park: Interesting sights here include a Museum of African American History, a sculpture garden and the lovely Fountain of Time.

    University of Chicago: One of the world's foremost universities. The layout is modeled on the Universities of Oxford and Cambridge.

    There will be two stops on the tour:

    • One will be at the glorious Lincoln Park Conservatory, where tropical palms, ancient ferns, orchids and aquatic plants thrive in a beautiful 19th century glasshouse. It is situated in the Lincoln Park, a sprawling one thousand acres of greenery, lagoons, flower gardens and a zoo.

    • Another will be at the Museum of Science and Industry to enable you to photograph the breathtaking view (if necessary, a substitute stop will be made.) It is housed in the former Palace of Fine Arts from the World's Columbian Exposition. Snacks are available for purchase at the Museum stop.

    You will also visit the dramatic John Hancock Tower, one of America’s tallest buildings. Here, the world’s fastest elevators will transport you to the Observatory on the 94th floor in just 39 seconds. On a clear day you can see up to 80 miles away and view four states – Illinois, Indiana, Michigan and Wisconsin.

    You can also experience the open-air Skydeck, 1,000 feet above Chicago’s Magnificent Mile, where you can feel the wind, take in the sun and check out the dynamic city below.

    At the end of your fascinating sightseeing tour, you will be dropped back at the starting point.

  • Inclusions & Exclusions


    • Hotel pick-up and drop-off
    • Transportation in an air-conditioned coach
    • English-speaking guide
    • Entrance to Hancock Tower Observatory


    • Meals
  • Please note & Additional info

    Please note

    Please call the activity operator at least 24 hours prior to start of the tour to confirm all details

    Additional info

    The confirmation voucher includes the local activity operator’s contact details and local telephone numbers at the destination. They will happily answer any logistical questions you may have.
  • Reviews
    • 1

      Great guide. Very interesting tour....