Hop on, hop off trolley tours are smart way to see the city
Wednesday, March 03, 2010
If I've learned anything in my travels around Chicago, it's that
this city offers endless opportunities for family adventures. So
many, in fact, that it seems impossible to see it all. But Chicago
Trolley & Double Decker Co. is on a quest to put the city
within your reach.
Families can now visit multiple major attractions all in one day, without worrying about navigation or parking.
Visit its Web site to determine a ticket location that's most convenient for you. We chose the ticket center at Millennium Park. From there, several tours depart to different parts of the city. Cubs fans can do the Wrigleyville tour. Or check out some of Chicago's ethnic neighborhoods such as Chinatown or Greektown. You can even stop at Oprah's Harpo Studio.
We chose the downtown Signature Tour so we could check out Navy Pier without the steep parking price and do a little shopping on Michigan Avenue. Tickets begin at $15 for children, $26 for adults-not cheap, but they serve as a pass for the entire day (with buses and trolleys running from 9 a.m.-5 p.m.). The Web site also offers multi-day passes. Get on and off as often as you like and take advantage of multiple stops.
The tickets themselves are miniature tour books filled with coupons to places you'll pass on the tours, which made stops at Navy Pier and the Mag Mile's Hershey store a little easier on my wallet.
The tour guides are all pretty knowledgeable and funny, willing to answer questions and crack jokes. One trolley driver in particular enjoyed some give and take with my sons as they debated baseball teams and the merits of Willis Tower. Luckily for my 4-year-old, the guides also knew where to find public restrooms at each stop because neither the buses nor trolleys have facilities.
The Signature Tour runs all year long, seven days a week, except for inclement weather days. No matter where you stop, you rarely have to wait for more than 10 minutes before the next trolley comes by.