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  • Location: Chicago, Illinois
  • Duration:  90 minutes (approx.)
The architecture of downtown Chicago is magnified on this walking tour with the help of binoculars and a knowledgeable guide. Every participant gets their own complimentary pair of binoculars to get a closer look at the gargoyles, griffins, statues, and other characters set in stone around the city's historic buildings. Your expert guide shares fascinating stories about the designs you see from a fresh point of view on this fun and entertaining tour.

Highlights

  • 90-minute architecture walking tour in downtown Chicago
  • Includes complimentary binoculars to spot the details of Chicago’s iconic architecture and take home with you
  • See several buildings that are listed on the National Register of Historic Places
  • Walk around the Chicago Loop and learn about its landmark buildings
  • Spot gargoyles, griffins, and characters from Aesop’s Fables where you would least expect them
  • Learn about the artists who created some of the adornments on historic buildings in Chicago
  • Enjoy informative commentary from your enthusiastic guide, who combines historical facts with humorous insight

What You Can Expect

Chicago Architecture Walking Tour with Binoculars

Chicago Stone Gargoyles

Meet your guide at Daley Plaza then cross the street to examine the Chicago Temple in detail. As you focus on the building's exterior with the help of your binoculars, your guide explains the significance of the demons and gargoyles that line the 568-foot-high (173 m) skyscraper.

Next, follow your guide to the Oriental Theatre. Built in 1926 as a movie palace, it also hosted performers such as Duke Ellington and a young Judy Garland. Train your binoculars on its intricate Asian-inspired exterior, scanning for the griffins, sphinx, freemasonry symbols and "green men" that your guide points out.

Then head over to the Chicago Theatre to see its distinctive marquee, an unofficial emblem of the city. Your guide tells you where to spy pagan gods in the neo-Baroque French-revival architecture. Next, take in Great Hall, the majestic vaulted room at the heart of Union Station, and get a close look at the statues perched high above on the east wall. With your binoculars, you can see the rooster and the owl that each figure holds, representing day and night.

Walk down Michigan Ave into the heart of Chicago’s legendary Magnificent Mile where your tour ends at the Tribune Tower. Built in neo-Gothic style, the base of the early 20th-century tower includes rocks and bricks collected from Westminster Abbey, the Taj Mahal, and the Alamo, among other famous places around the world. That's not the only fun surprise: Look up at the building's masonry, focusing your binoculars on characters from Aesop’s Fables in bas-relief.

Throughout your walk, your guide points out decorative flourishes on the buildings you pass and provides their backstory. Learn the difference between a gargoyle and a grotesque, find out why ornate downtown theaters sport devils on their exteriors, and check out sculptural details on the many bridge houses that line the Chicago River.

Expect to walk about 1.5 miles (2.4 kilometers) at a leisurely pace over 90 minutes, with frequent stops to look at the buildings in detail. Your tour ends at the Tribune Tower where you make your own way to your next destination.
From USD $ 28.00

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(Age 3+)

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Tour code: 5479BINOC

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