It does not get any better than a private tour guide designing an exclusive tour for an individual tourist. And it was FREE. I cannot offer enough superlatives for the Chicago Greeter program.
I visited Chicago in August, 2013. I wanted to see two things: The spot where the great Chicago Fire began, and the site of the St. Valentine's Day massacre. PLUS, I had to do it all in four hours, so I could make it to a Chicago Cubs game at Wrigley Field.
My Chicago Greeter, Norm, met me at the Chicago Cultural Center, gave me a brief tour of the downtown area and then off we went! We stopped at the Chicago Fire Academy, which was built on the spot where Mrs. O'Leary's barn stood. There's a small FREE museum there. Fascinating! Norm gladly took photos for me, since I was travelling solo.
After a quick lunch at the famous local deli, Manny's we headed to the Chicago History Museum. My greeter had a membership to the museum, so we got in free. We saw more artifacts from the fire AND a nice display about the Chicago gangsters of the 20s and 30s. It was complete with photos of the St. Valentine's Day Massacre.
Outside the museum, hidden in some brush, my greeter showed me a melted chunk of iron left from the Chicago Fire. It was incredibly cool. Then we walked to the site of the St. Valentine's Day Massacre, while Norm told me interesting tidbits about the infamous day.
It was a spectacular day! Norm finished by pointing me in the direction of Wrigley Field and offering me suggestions for my next day's tour.
Chicago Greeter's work for free! They do NOT accept tips. It is OK to buy them lunch (which I did). The cost of lunch was less than the cost of admission to the museum, which Norm covered.
Plan on doing a lot of walking and riding on public transportation with this tour. BUT it is worth it!
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