When I was almost 9 months pregnant, my husband and I decided to take a "baby moon" to Chicago. Since I knew walking long distances would be challenging, we didn't really have an aggressive touring plan. I was wistful about this because it was our first visit to Chicago and I was wishing we could see more of the city, history, etc. On a whim, I found Chicago Private Tours' website and was intrigued. Before looking thoroughly through the website, I had two worries: I imagined we couldn't afford a private tour guide and I get carsickness VERY easily, so when I pictured being a passenger in a vehicle for several hours (with possible stop-start traffic), I almost knew I would get sick. However, after looking at TripAdvisor reviews I decided to take a chance and call.
We were literally driving into the city when I called and it was 7:00pm on a Thursday evening. The only time we could do the tour would be Friday (we were visiting the Frank Lloyd Wright Home on Saturday), so I doubted they would be able to accommodate us. I left a message and ALMOST IMMEDIATELY received a call back! They were able to work us into their schedule, and I was so impressed right off the bat with their professionalism! My husband and I decided to do the City Tour (3-4 hours) which cost $300. We planned for them to pick us up at our hotel.
The day of the tour, we ended up being at the Art Institute and realized we'd be crunched for time to get back to our hotel in time. I called Chicago Tours and they very warmly said it would be no problem for them to pick us up at the Institute. Sure enough, George (our guide) walked in and we immediately knew it would be a great tour. A wonderful surprise was that you're taken around in a very roomy, non-claustrophobic van (instead of the small car I was imagining and fearing). Right off the bat, I told George and our driver T.J. (who is awesome!) about my carsickness. They acted like it was not a "strange" thing at all and made sure the air conditioning was always going and T.J. took extra care to stop slowly and drive smoothly. George asked us what our interests were (architecture, general Chicago history and the mob) and how much walking we wanted to do (minimal).
From the minute George started talking, we knew he would keep our attention! He had a very commanding voice but was SO personable and easy to talk to. I was also worried before the tour that it might be awkward with it just being my husband, a guide, and myself. But it was the opposite! We got to ask any questions we could think of, and it was SO personalized for us. I love the movie "My Big Fat Greek Wedding" so George had us stop for a snack in Greek Town! SO fun and off the beaten "tourist" path! :)
I can't even express how much TIME this tour saved us (we packed in SO much in those 3-4 hours) and how enjoyable it was. It wasn't too short or too long - just right. George made sure we got the classic picture in front of the beautiful Chicago skyline, which we wouldn't have gotten otherwise! When we got back to our hotel, we just couldn't believe what a great decision it was. I would NEVER have gotten to see all that Chicago has to offer because of my physical limitations at the time and our lack of knowledge about where to focus our time, etc.
We absolutely and wholeheartedly endorse Chicago Private Tours - without a doubt, they are the absolute best!!!!!
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