Chicago is well-known for its delicious dishes and stunning skyscrapers—it’s a favorite location for travelers around the world. In fact, the city is so well-loved that it welcomed over 55 million domestic and overseas tourists in 2017 alone. Before you plan your next trip to the Windy City, check out these fun and unique ways to experience Chicago.
Take your tour of the city into your own hands with Chicago’s convenient bike rentals. Divvy is a bike share system established by the Chicago Department of Transportation designed to provide affordable, environmentally friendly transportation to the city’s residents. Tourists can also enjoy this service, and they often use the bikes as a fun way to see the city and get exercise at the same time. Riders can rent and return a bike from one of the many rental stations across the city; you can rent bikes by the hour or by the day. Popular tourist bike trails include the Lakefront Trail and the Chicago Riverwalk.
For an efficient way to see all the city’s sights, book a ride on a Chicago downtown bus tour. These tours travel down the picturesque Lake Shore Drive and visit iconic Chicago landmarks, which includes Wrigley Field. Tours allow guests to hop on and off double-decker buses and trolleys for photo ops at well-known locations throughout the city. Tours are hosted by knowledgeable and passionate guides who will share valuable information about the city’s history, sports, and architecture. This is one of the longest-running tour companies in Chicago—they even offer a night tour to better admire the twinkling lights of the city.
Take a step away from Chicago’s bustling streets and sidewalks—view the city from aboard a Chicago river cruise. These cruises are a fun and relaxing way to experience the city and appreciate Chicago’s stunning architecture. Cruises typically run from May through September, but that may vary depending on the company and the weather. In addition to the stunning sights, many tours offer complimentary drinks and snacks. For a truly unique experience, consider booking a river cruise during St. Patrick’s Day, and sail down the vibrant green Chicago River in style.
For adventurous tourists who want to take the city by storm, Segway tours are the way to go. Before you can hit the streets, most Segway tours conduct a brief training session to ensure the safety of all participants. Segways are quite user-friendly, though, and even first-time riders will be zipping around the city in no time. Popular locations for Segway tours include Millennium Park, Buckingham Fountain, and several of the city’s accredited museums, such as the Field Museum, Adler Planetarium, and Shed Aquarium. Some Segway tours even allow children as young as 12 to join in on the fun.
If you want a more leisurely way to view the Windy City, stroll along with one of Chicago’s many walking tours. Many of these tours are specialized to give you a more in-depth view of some of Chicago’s hotspots. Prohibition and crime tours allow you to take a step back in history and meet the city’s most infamous gangsters, while walking food and culture tours will tickle your taste buds with Chicago’s most iconic dishes, including deep dish pizza and Chicago hot dogs. For tourists who prefer to slow down and smell the roses, walking tours are one of the best ways to experience Chicago.