Insider's Guide to Chicago

Major attractions, tips and our top things to see and do.

Get the
Inside Scoop

Privacy Policy

Call (888) 651-9785

Tour code: 3173DECO

Special Offer

Book and save 21% compared to the local supplier's prices!

Admire the incredible façades and intricate interiors of the Windy City's 1920s art deco and art moderne buildings during this 2-hour architecture walking tour of Chicago. Uncover the history of Chicago art deco architectural along with the city's influential role in the development of this iconic artistic style, as you get an up close and personal look at its wealth of gorgeous period buildings. This art deco Chicago walking tour also includes a certified guide.

Highlights

  • Downtown Chicago Deco
  • Learn of Chicago's influence on the international Art Deco movement
  • Discover the opulent exteriors and interiors of the Roaring '20s Jazz Deco buildings
  • Trace the history of this short-lived but lively architectural heritage

Recent Photos of This Tour

What You Can Expect

Chicago Walking Tour: Art Deco Skyscrapers

Chicago Board of Trade

Take an architecture-focused walking tour of Chicago during this 2-hour investigation of the city's most important period buildings and its critical role in the development of the movement's signature style. You're sure to come away with a newfound appreciation for the city's architectural history and the beauty of its many historic buildings and their interiors.

Start your art deco exploration of Chicago at least 15 minutes before your tour begins at the Chicago Architecture Foundation shop and tour center, located at 224 South Michigan Avenue. Depending on the schedule you've selected, your walking tour will begin at either 10am, 1pm, 1:30pm or 5:30pm. Then head out with your guide to begin your architecture immersion, starting with a history lesson.

The art deco style evolved during the period between World War I and World War II, referring more generally to a range of design movements that coalesced between the 1920s and 30s. Art deco design is known more generally for its geometric designs and its simplicity, frequently paired with bright colors and basic shapes that embraced the rising role of business and technology on the modern world. Art deco's influence touched everything from architecture to painting to sculpting and furniture design, spanning luxury objects created with exotic materials to mass-produced goods found in every home and office of the day, to the many buildings that defined the Chicago skyline.

During the course of your walk you'll stop to admire a range of exteriors and interiors that define this architectural heyday of the art deco and art moderne movements. The Jazz Age buildings of Chicago include a range of both stark cube-shaped and sleek streamlined structures, ranging from office buildings to apartment residences that dominated Chicago's downtown until the 1950s. 

Itinerary

CTA rapid transit stations: (walking distance from the following)

  • Adams/Wabash station for the Brown, Green, Orange and Purple Lines
  • Jackson/State Station for the Red Line
  • Jackson/Dearborn Station for the Blue Line

Walk east on Adams or Jackson to Michigan Avenue. At Adams, turn right (south) on Michigan Avenue.

CTA Bus Lines:

  • Take any CTA bus that travels downtown and intersects with (starting from the south) Van Buren, Jackson, Adams, Monroe, Madison, Washington or Randolph. Walk (or connect on a CTA bus) east to Michigan Avenue.
  • Free downtown trolley service is provided by the City of Chicago and serves most of Michigan Avenue, the Museum Campus, and Navy Pier and also connects to the train stations. Schedules vary by season.

ArchiCenter is operated by the Chicago Architecture Foundation and is located at 224 South Michigan Avenue in the CAF’s Shop & Tour Center across from the Art Institute on the northwest corner of Jackson Boulevard at Michigan Avenue. Open 361 days a year from 9:30am-6:30pm Monday-Saturday, 9:30am-6:00pm Sundays. The ArchiCenter has free galleries and interpretive exhibits as well as a museum shop.

By Car:

  • Chicago's major expressways converge just west of the Loop. Exit at Congress Avenue and proceed east (this is also the eastbound extension of I-290)
  • Lakeshore Drive, from Hollywood in the north to Jackson Park in the south, follows the shoreline and is east of downtown. Exit at Bal

Commuter Trains:
Metra operates 11 suburban commuter lines serving downtown Chicago.

  • Ending at Union Station just west of the Loop and south of the Ogilvy Transportation Center: Heritage Corridor Line, North Central Service, Southwest Service, Burlington Northern Santa Fe, Milwaukee District North&West Lines.
  • Ending at the Ogilvy Transportation Center (formerly the Northwestern Train Station) just west of the Loop and north of Union Station: Union Pacific North Line, Northwest Line and West Line. From these two stations it is a 20 minute walk east to Michigan Ave, or take a #20 or #56 eastbound CTA bus on Jackson Boulevard, or connect with the free trolley shuttle.
  • Ending at the LaSalle Street Station: The Rock Island District Line. Walk east on Van Buren to Michigan and then north on Michigan to Jackson.
  • Ending at the Randolph Street Station: The Metra Electric Line and the Northern Indiana Commuter Transportation District (South Shore Line). Get off at the Van Buren/Jackson Station (the stop before the end). From here, walk one block north on Michigan Avenue to Jackson.

Customer Reviews

gaylekennedy66

5 star rating: Highly Recommended May 2016

Beautiful tour.

Karen R

5 star rating: Highly Recommended May 2016

Our tour guide was knowledgeable and easy to understand. Well worth the time and money. :-

Karen F

5 star rating: Highly Recommended October 2015

Wonderful, informative tour. Saw incredible Art Deco buildings and architectural details. Very nice and interesting tour guide too!

Lena Y

5 star rating: Highly Recommended September 2015

Very informative and ethtetical. Very good guide. Highly recommended to interested people.

Thomas B

5 star rating: Highly Recommended August 2015

The tour was very interesting---the docent, Angela, was very informative and energetic. Learned a lot about Art Deco in general as well as got to see lots on interesting examples in the city. The tour was a nice length as well. Highly recommended!

Annette G

5 star rating: Highly Recommended July 2015

Wow! A great walk that really helped me understand art deco - highly recommended

Tiny

5 star rating: Highly Recommended June 2015

Amazing! This is an amazing tour! Our tour guide was wonderful and very knowledgeable!

Greyson S

5 star rating: Highly Recommended April 2015

This was a fantastic walking tour. Our guide was delightful and the outside and inside of the buildings we went into were quite spectacular. Highly recommend!

Xiaolu W

5 star rating: Highly Recommended March 2015

the guide is helpful and informative. It's a special experience for us to immerse in the Art Deco Architecture by walking through these fantastic building.

Lloyd N

5 star rating: Highly Recommended October 2014

The docent was very knowledgeable, friendly and open to answering any question. Practical use of headset technology. Great value!

Special Offer
$23.00 Save $5.00

From USD $ 18.00

View price calendar

Low Price Guarantee

Select Travel Date

Enter Total Number of Travelers

Advertisement
Advertisement

Viator uses cookies to improve your experience on our website. Learn more about how we use cookies and how to change your cookie settings | Close message