The most wonderful thing about Chicago is that you can explore it 1,000 different times and still see it 1,000 different ways. The following are just a few of the most interesting, kid-friendly ways to see the city.
This tour takes those who dare to follow it into the depths of the catastrophes that molded the people and the history of Chicago. Even though the theme of the tour includes serious topics such as the Great Chicago Fire, the tour centers on the heroes that emerge from such tragedies and the victorious side of the struggle.
Fun fact: Poor Mrs. O’Leary’s cow, widely blamed for the Great Chicago Fire, did not actually start the fire, but this wasn’t discovered until the 1990s.
Best for ages: 7 and up
Location: The Loop
Length: 90 minutes; 1 mile
Cost: $20 per person
Lights, camera, tour! The Chicago Film tour bridges all generations with its focus on one of society’s greatest loves—film. Take a seat in the luxury tour motor car, and see your city on screen via clips from more than 85 different movies, ranging vastly in genre and era, as you ride past the sites of the films. As you watch, learn about the fascinating history and legacy behind Chicago film, from Walt Disney to Uptown Theater.
Fun fact: The Oscar statues are made right here in Chicago.
Best for ages: 10 and up, or kids old enough to view PG-rated films
Location: Anywhere from Uptown to Chinatown
Length: 2 hours; 30 miles (all in a car)
Cost: $30, $20 kids 12 and under
Pace: Super easy
A list of Chicago tours just wouldn’t be the same without the cheesy, saucy goodness of a Chicago Pizza Tour. These tours include more than enough food samples to supplement lunch, and they revolve around Chicago’s world famous deep dish wonderfulness. Get a backstage pass to the city’s most renowned pizza parlors, and get the lowdown on their special ingredients and cooking methods.
Fun fact: Deep dish only makes up about 10-15 percent of the pizza in Chicago. Most of the pizzerias in the city actually are thin crust-based.
Best for ages: Everyone
Location: West Loop
Length: 3 1/2 hours; 1.25 miles
Cost: $45, free kids 4 and under
Take the Lakefront Neighborhoods Tour for a gorgeous day of play outside, in the non-touristy, quiet neighborhoods of Chicago. Cruise past Gold Coast mansions, Oprah’s former house, the Lincoln Park Zoo, Old Town Historic District, North Avenue Beach and more. Bicycles and helmets are included in this breezy day on the lake.
Fun fact: Chicago has more than 19 miles of lakefront bicycle paths.
Best for ages: No age limit, but kids must be strong and capable riders
Location: North Side, Lakefront
Length: 3 hours; 7 miles
Cost: $38.50, $33.50 seniors and students, $23.50 kids 5-12, $12.75 kids 4 and under
This tour is just like you’d think it’d be: two hours of chocolatey bliss. But what really makes this tour top notch is the fact that you get so many fantastic discounts and freebies along the way. Make sure to bring a large bag to put all of your delicious scores in while you indulge in the chocolates of Chicago, including Glazed& Infused, West Town Bakery, Vosges, L’Appetito, More Cupcakes and Ghirardelli.
Fun fact: Oprah listed More Cupcakes as one of her “favorite things.”
Best for ages: Anyone old enough to eat a lot of chocolate
Location: River North
Length: 2 hours; 1.5 miles
*All tours have various accommodations for strollers and disabilities. Check websites for information.