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Ways to Beat the Crowds in Chicago

Ways to Beat the Crowds in Chicago

As a top US destination, Chicago welcomes more than 50 million visitors each year. That said, you can still enjoy a tranquil visit to the Windy City. From exploring by boat to discovering Chicago’s local restaurants and neighborhoods, here’s how to beat the crowds.

Explore the City by Boat

Instead of fighting the crowds of Magnificent Mile, take to the Chicago River or Lake Michigan, from which you can admire the Windy City’s skyscrapers and skyline without the crowds on an open-top boat tour; head out at sunset for the best views. 

Venture Beyond the Loop

The Loop—Chicago’s downtown business district—is home to top attractions such as Millennium Park, the Willis Tower, and the Art Institute, meaning that it’s reliably packed with visitors. Go beyond the Loop’s radius to see how locals live on a neighborhood tour, which tend to cover the heritage architecture of the Prairie District, street art in Pilsen, and the mansions of Wicker Park.

Discover Local Eateries

There’s more to Chicago’s food scene than deep-dish pizza. Enjoy shorter wait times and more diverse cuisine when you venture off-the-beaten-track. Food- and drink-themed neighborhood walks offer a first-hand introduction to many of the city’s less-trafficked culinary haunts, including the coffee shops of Logan Square, Chinatown, and the eateries of River North.

Visit Year-Round

As well as soaring temperatures, summer in Chicago brings peak crowds. For a quieter experience of the city, visit during the shoulder season. Alongside the crisp breezes and golden leaves of fall, you’ll encounter quieter museums and sidewalks. And if you don’t mind a winter-wonderland experience, the Windy City’s snowfall provides a magical backdrop to your exploration. 

Head Underground

One of Chicago’s most surprising attractions is the subterranean Pedway. Located beneath the Loop’s famed skyscrapers, the network lets you slip past crowds and discover a whole new side of the city. Book a guided tour to navigate the underground labyrinth with ease.

Take a Private Tour

Private and small-group tours allow you to the explore the city in a more intimate setting.  Soar over Chicago's iconic skyscrapers in a helicopter tour, or cruise along the lakefront on a private minibus tour customized for your group.

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7 Tours and Activities | All Chicago Tours

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Chicago Architecture River Cruise

Chicago Architecture River Cruise

star-5
Cruise down the Chicago River to see the city's famous architecture on this boat tour. With commentary from your onboard guide, watch the spectacular skyline glide by, including more than 40 notable buildings like Navy Pier, the Wrigley Building, and the John Hancock Building. Cover all three branches of the Chicago River, passing the East Bank Club, the old Post Office Building and the Willis Tower (formerly known as the Sears Tower).
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  • 1 hour
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
US$38.85
From
US$38.85
Taking safety measures

Best in Chow: Chicago River North Food Tour

Best in Chow: Chicago River North Food Tour

star-5
Go beyond deep-dish on this culinary walking tour of Chicago, which includes five tastings of classic Windy City cuisine. Navigate the endless options of downtown dining with a guide who can provide insight into the best food Chicago has to offer, and skip the lines and the wait with VIP access to popular restaurants.
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  • 2 hours 30 minutes to 3 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
US$64.00
From
US$64.00

Odyssey Chicago River Dinner Cruise

Odyssey Chicago River Dinner Cruise

star-3.5
Cruise down the Chicago River in style during this 3-hour dinner cruise aboard the Odyssey. Watch the beautiful city and its architecture pass by through the ship’s panoramic windows. Then sit down to delicious 3-course meal accompanied by DJ entertainment to set the mood for your journey. A full-service bar complete with microbrews, creative cocktails, and a wine list is also available for purchase.
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  • 3 hours
  • Taking safety measures
From
US$169.86
From
US$169.86
Taking safety measures

Small-Group Chicago Food Tour of Chinatown

Small-Group Chicago Food Tour of Chinatown

star-5
Sample different styles and varieties of Chinese food during this gourmet walking tour of Chicago's Chinatown. Follow your local food-loving guide through one of the oldest Chinese neighborhoods in the country to taste several Chinese regional delicacies. The price of this small-group tour, limited to 12 people, includes tastings at restaurants; enough food to add up to a full lunch.
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  • 3 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
US$80.00
From
US$80.00

Private Luxury Boat Rental with Pizza Included

Private Luxury Boat Rental with Pizza Included

star-5
Step aboard an easy-to-maneuver pontoon boat for a private cruise on the Chicago River. You and your private group of up to nine people will enjoy having the boat to yourselves, as well as captaining the ship. You can choose your own itinerary and move at your own pace, pausing to cook the included pizza on the boat's built-in pizza grill.
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  • 2 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
US$318.94
per group
From
US$318.94
per group

Private Chicago City Mini Bus Tour

Private Chicago City Mini Bus Tour

Don’t miss Chicago’s famous sights (now including Wrigley Field!) and fabulous views on this award-winning private sightseeing tour of the city. Travel through Chicago with an expert guide on a comfortable minibus, stopping at iconic locations like early skyscraper "The Rookery" (Frank Lloyd Wright architecture), Museum Campus (for the BEST skyline view in town), Millennium Park (The Bean), Buckingham Fountain, The Magnificent Mile, Lincoln Park, Chicago River, The Gold Coast, Lake Shore Drive and more! Along the way, your guide will provide historical and informational commentary about the area and its beautiful attractions. Your private tour ensures a more personal experience. If you would like to take the tour at a time other than what is offered, please note in special requests field when booking. The best way to tour at this time! Sanitized vehicles with just your group.
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  • 2 hours 30 minutes
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
US$250.00
per group
From
US$250.00
per group
Taking safety measures

Private Chicago Architecture Tour

Private Chicago Architecture Tour

star-5
Ever since Chicago became the birthplace of the modern skyscraper, the city has been renowned for its architectural creativity and ingenuity. Led by an expert guide, explore some of the city’s most iconic buildings such as Sears Tower, The John Hancock Building, historic brownstones, and the homes of Oak Park designed by beloved architect Frank Lloyd Wright. You will be able to explore the insides of some locations on this completely customizable tour.
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  • 3 hours
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
US$660.00
per group
From
US$660.00
per group
Taking safety measures


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