We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.
We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.
The latest reviews. The lowest prices. The perfect place to shop for hotels.

“Best Bang for the Buck of any Tour”
5 of 5 bubbles Review of Chicago Greeter

Chicago Greeter
Ranked #5 of 170 Tours in Chicago
Certificate of Excellence
More attraction details
Attraction details
Fee: No
Recommended length of visit: 2-3 hours
Owner description: Chicago Greeter highlights more than 40 special interest areas and more than 25 neighborhoods for visitors to explore. Chicago Greeter is designed to match a friendly, enthusiastic, and city knowledgeable local with a visitor for a two - four hour FREE informal, insider orientation to Chicago's sights. Through the Chicago Greeter service, visitors meet with a greeter who takes them around the city and demonstrates its walk-ability and the user-friendliness of its public transportation system.
Level Contributor
224 reviews
88 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 152 helpful votes
“Best Bang for the Buck of any Tour”
Reviewed August 10, 2013

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!

Visited August 2013
Thank TVDad
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Write a Review

1,445 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
Date | Rating
  • Chinese (Simplified) first
  • Danish first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Japanese first
  • Portuguese first
  • Russian first
  • Spanish first
  • Swedish first
  • Any
English first
Baltimore, MD
Level Contributor
65 reviews
34 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 32 helpful votes
“So so so great!”
Reviewed August 6, 2013

Let's start with the important part- free walking tour! We visit a lot of cities, but we have never heard of this idea before. It was great! Our guide Mitch walked us around the city, pointing out some architecture and sharing the history of the city. My husband LOVES baseball, so he and Mitch had great conversations about the Cubs and White Sox. Mitch even brought us to Garrett popcorn and bought us some! It was great and informational. My only thing to share is that you need to meet your guide in the Visitor center that is in a large building near Millennium Park, which we walked by several times because it looks like it is in the library.

Visited August 2013
Thank Geneseo04
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Sioux Falls, South Dakota
Level Contributor
58 reviews
8 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 24 helpful votes
“So glad we found this resource!!”
Reviewed August 6, 2013

Chicago Greeters was a highlight of our trip, we only wish we had done it earlier in our trip so that we could have followed up on the many, and I mean many ideas that our tour guide offered. You can choose what you would like to tour and what you would like to learn. Chinatown, Little Italy, Lincoln Park, Gold Coast, Chicago architecture/history-it literally does not end. John was our tour guide and was so knowledgeable and interesting, I have been to Chicago now five times and kind of thought I had seen/done everything-now I know so much more and can't wait to go back. I will schedule Chicago Greeters on the first or second day and make the rest of my plan from there.
Many thanks to John and whomever coordinates/supports this outstanding group of people.

Visited August 2013
Thank 4mdntg
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
New Orleans, Louisiana
Level Contributor
51 reviews
18 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 30 helpful votes
“Great Local Resource to Get to Know a Great City”
Reviewed August 5, 2013

I recently went on my first trip to Chicago. I've traveled pretty extensively in the past and currently live in New York City. I approached my trip with some research and planning but really wanted to "wing" the majority of it as I always find that that approach makes for the best kind of trip experience. One of the things I did plan out was my Chicago Greeter tour and I'm SO glad that I did.

This is a smart program, one that other cities should absolutely adopt. What better way to experience a city than with a local that has expertise and on foot via public transportation so you learn how to navigate it? Plus, you are getting a very personalized experience- you take a bit of a profile quiz, list out your interests or if you want to see specific areas of the city. I chose the Uptown and Lincoln Square areas and I can tell you that I would have NEVER visited those areas of the city if not for the Greeter program and Chicago is a city of neighborhoods! Those neighborhoods need to be experienced to really appreciate the diversity and nature of the city as a whole.

Our tour guide was Alycia and we started out with a tour of the building that houses the Chicago Cultural Center -which used to be the Chicago Public Library. This building is beautiful with Tiffany stained glass dome ceilings and intricate decor details throughout. From there we took the brown line all the way to the Uptown area which is just fascinating. In the Uptown area we saw many of Chicago's iconic theaters from the 20's & 30's designed by the same architect team as the Chicago and Oriental theaters. We stopped in the Green Mill Lounge, a step back in time and favorite haunt of Al Capone's, complete with traditional velvet lounge seating, a working Galaxy jukebox which plays 45's and a Capone "escape hatch" which supposedly link to tunnels back to the Aragon theater! The history of Chicago is amazing and this neighborhood was rich in locations that harkened back to a different era. From this area we went to Lincoln Square, a great neighborhood, heavily German populated with fantastic bars/restaurants/beer gardens and small independent shops selling antique toys and used books.

Overall, our time with Alycia and the Greeter program was fantastic. I recommend it to anyone looking to get to know Chicago in a more meaningful way. The fact that it was free just blows my mind, I attempted to give Alycia a tip, just as a thank you for such a great experience and she outright refused to take it!

Visited August 2013
Thank Denise D
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Crownsville, Maryland, United States
Level Contributor
50 reviews
10 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 23 helpful votes
“Wonderful experience”
Reviewed August 3, 2013

Our guide, Gary, was an excellent tour guide. I love architecture and Gary showed us such beautiful things inside and out of several buildings that we would have walked right past. A great service to visitors!

Visited July 2013
1 Thank Cindy C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Been to Chicago Greeter? Share your experiences!

Write a Review Add Photos & Videos

Owners: What's your side of the story?

Own or manage this property? Claim your listing for free to respond to reviews, update your profile and much more.

Claim Your Listing