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Chicago Architecture Foundation Tours

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Address: 224 South Michigan Avenue, Chicago, IL 60604
Phone Number: +1 312-922-3432
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9:00 am - 9:00 pm
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Sun - Sat 9:00 am - 9:00 pm

The Chicago Architecture Foundation (CAF) is a nonprofit cultural...

The Chicago Architecture Foundation (CAF) is a nonprofit cultural organization with tours, exhibitions, programs and events for all ages. Visit CAF on Michigan Avenue to view our 1,000-building scale model of Chicago, shop in our award-winning store, or participate in a fun LEGO® building event in our ArcelorMittal Design Studio. Choose from 85 tours by boat, walking, bus, or even L train, including the CAF River Cruise aboard Chicago's First Lady Cruises. Tours depart daily and are led by CAF's expert docent guides. Every October, check out CAF's free annual Open House Chicago festival. Proceeds from CAF’s tours and gift shop, as well as grants, sponsorships and donations, support this educational mission.

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TripAdvisor Reviewer Highlights

Read all 1,477 reviews
Visitor rating
  • 1249
  • 193
    Very good
  • 20
  • 9
  • 6
Great 2 hour Tour of Downtown Chicago

Had an excellent tour with Alison, a volunteer docent with the foundation. The tour covered Chicago's rise from a backwater frontier town to a world class city. Extremely... read more

5 of 5 starsReviewed 2 days ago
Patrick S
Brooklyn, New York

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English first
Brooklyn, New York
1 review
5 of 5 stars Reviewed 2 days ago NEW

Had an excellent tour with Alison, a volunteer docent with the foundation. The tour covered Chicago's rise from a backwater frontier town to a world class city. Extremely entertaining and informative. Will definitely try another of the foundation's tours in the future.

Thank Patrick S
Burnsville, United States
Level Contributor
52 reviews
15 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 54 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed 2 days ago NEW

Each time I visit Chicago I like to join one of the Architecture Foundation's walking tours. They're even better now, because of the excellent individualized audio amplification system and knowledgeable tour guides. Our leader entertained, educated, and skillfully maneuvered us through fascinating historical skyscrapers, including an amazing political protest rally at the Chicago Board of Trade! If you enjoy spirited... More 

Thank Camille L
Level Contributor
9 reviews
3 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed 2 days ago NEW

There was a real Lady, a Chicagoan, onboard who provided valuable info on Architecture, History, Culture throughout the cruise on Chicago river, whose flow was reversed in 1900s, as I learnt from her:-) Her style, attitude, wealth of knowledge, warmth and cordiality made an excessively strong impression; I am truly thankful for the Magnificent experience. Thank you very much indeed,... More 

Thank Ioannis P
Scottsdale, Arizona
Level Contributor
6 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed 3 days ago NEW

We loved this tour! I lived in Chicago and never noticed some of these buildings or recognized the urban plan came from the Worlds Fair. This Tour was phenomenal. I could've gone for hours more....and wish I'd had more time to visit some of the museums we saw and walk through some of the neighborhoods. Next visit!

Pensacola, FL
Level Contributor
45 reviews
17 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 14 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed 1 week ago

What a great tour we had! This tour is based on the book The Devil in the White City - a true story. About the worlds fair and murders in Chicago. Fascinating book that I highly recommend. There was a 45 minute presentation at the foundation and then we boarded a bus and toured the area showing the remaining buildings... More 

Thank Pcolagrandma
Level Contributor
29 reviews
6 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed 1 week ago

This is a must in the summer. Gorgeous views of the city and fantastic information and history about the wonderful city of Chicago! Don't miss!

Thank Dmazor
chicago, il
Level Contributor
6 reviews
5 of 5 stars Reviewed 1 week ago

Great way to see Chicago, especially when the weather is mild. Boats are well maintained and have accommodations below for those who need the protection and greater comfort.

Thank lei58
Level Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed 1 week ago

My mom and I took the architecture boat tour on Chicago's First Lady on 11/16. We were very pleased! The boat had a nice, covered bar below where you could get a coffee and Bailey's to enjoy, (or a number of other drinks). Our tour guide was a man named Russ who was was not only very kind, but also... More 

Thank Amy J
San Francisco, California
Level Contributor
7 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed 1 week ago credit card Amex Card Member Review

We have taken several tours run by the Chicago Architecture Foundation and they never fail to impress. Our guide David was fun and very knowledgeable abut the history of Chicago's Elevated train system. He gave us lots of information on surrounding architecture from the unique perspective of the elevated train platforms. A very worthwhile 2 hours.

Thank Paula R
Chicago, Illinois
1 review
5 of 5 stars Reviewed 2 weeks ago

Sylvia was our CAF docent and her delivery rocked! We enjoyed that tour so much. Her knowledge of Chicago history and it's architecture made the past come alive as we winded down the Chicago River. Thanks so much for a great time!

Thank sqshore
ChiArchitecture, Marketing Coordinator at Chicago Architecture Foundation Tours, responded to this review

We're delighted to hear that you had such a positive experience seeing Chicago with us! We will be sure to pass along your praise to Sylvia. Thanks so much for your review! More 

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  • Will you pick up and drop off at my hotel?
  • I have a family of 7. Can your tour accommodate all of us together?
  • How should I dress for this tour?

Staying in Downtown / The Loop

Neighborhood Profile
Downtown / The Loop
Often visitors' first stop in Chicago, The Loop is a good starting point to sample the city's energy and flavor. This central business district boasts Michelin-rated restaurants, upscale hotels, premier shopping, and enough arresting architecture to keep your camera busy for hours. You won’t find too many photo galleries of downtown Chicago without a shot of Millennium Park and Cloud Gate (“The Bean”), one of the most iconic landmarks in the city. A stunning skyline coupled with cultural attractions like the Art Institute of Chicago present a Downtown where work and play peacefully coexist.