Chicago Bus Tours

Like most modern metropolises, Chicago has a wide array of mass travel options to take you virtually anywhere you want to go in the city. Few of these options compare to the Chicago Bus tours that you can take to enjoy the grandeur of Chicago’s architectural wonders.

Over the years, we have taken a number of these tours ourselves, and want to share with you a few of our favorite Chicago bus tours that you can enjoy next time you visit Chicago.

5 Favorite Chicago Bus Tours

Hop On-Hop Off Bus Tours – The first tour that we want to discuss is the best choice for those looking to explore Chicago’s downtown and lakefront. The hop on and hop tour is exactly what it sounds like. You can hop on at various sites around the downtown area, and then hop off to get a closer look at specific Chicago landmarks like the Hancock Building, Sears Tower, Navy Pier, Adler Planetarium, Shedd Aquarium, and other famous Chicago spots. The great thing about the tour is that you can get either a single day, or a two day pass, so you can visit the various locations at your own pace.

CTA Bus – OK! I know this is not a tour company, but the Chicago CTA travels through most major streets in the city. If you really want to get a taste of the real Chicago, try out the CTA. It is not a guided tour, but you still get to see some of the best sites. Bus Routes 134, 135, and 136 go through Lake Shore Drive, while routes 151 or 143 are best for going down to Lake Michigan.

640px CTA articulated bus Chicago Bus Tours

Chicago Grand Tour – This option is part walking and part bus tour. A half day trip that takes you from the south side of the city (Check out President Obama’s former neighborhood and residence), through the iconic downtown, to the North side of the city (Wrigley Field and Water Tower Place.) Additionally, the tour includes a ticket to the 94th floor of the Hancock Building’s 360 Chicago. On a clear day you can see Wisconsin, Indiana, and even Michigan.

Excursions Into the Unknown – Perhaps you want to tour the supernatural side of Chicago? If so, then you will want an expert ghost hunter to lead the tour. Dale Kaczmarek is a leading ghost research expert, who tours the haunted Churches, Gangster hideouts, and more. Note: This tour starts in Chicago Ridge. If you are coming from the city, take the CTA Red line to 95th Street (last stop). Then take the 381 Bus west to the mall.

Chicago Architecture Foundation Bus Tour – No list of Chicago tours would be complete without an architecture tour. The Chicago Architecture Foundation bus drives through Frank Lloyd Wright neighborhoods and lets you explores the city skyscrapers from comfortable trolleys. Chicago has been defined by its world class architecture since the end of the 19th century. See for yourself what makes this city a wonder of steel and stone.

Which Chicago Bus Tour Should You Take?

With so many different options for bus tours, think about the best options for your needs? Do you need something simple to get you from point A to B, or do you want a full tour with all the bells and whistles. When you know what you want, it will help you choose the right tour for you. In the meantime, let us know in the comment area below which Chicago bus tour you took, so we get your thoughts on the quality of the tour.


Chicago Event Calendar for August

As we head into the last month before school starts, let’s make sure we get as much out of the month as possible. Here is your jam packed Chicago event calendar for August.

Millenium Park Workouts

Every Saturday participate in the lawn workouts down in Millenium Park. This runs until September 6th.  Every morning they start at 7 with Tai Chi, then every hour following have Yoga, Pilates, and Zumba®.

workouts Chicago Event Calendar for August

Chicago Farmers Markets                          August 7

Summers in Chicago mean Farmers markets. With markets spread out across the city, most neighborhoods will have their own markets. Discover the local produce that farmers around the Midwest bring to Chicago to enjoy fruits, vegetable, flowers, and more. This is your chance to get fresh produce right off the truck.

Lincoln Park Zoo Adults Night Out            August 8

Ever want to go the Lincoln Park zoo without the kids? Then this is your evening. A full evening of fun activities, bars, and animal expert chats. Explore the zoo without the massive crowds.

hot dog fest Chicago Event Calendar for August

Chicago Hot Dog Fest                                 August 9

The second annual Chicago hot dog fest happens at the Chicago History Museum. A fun time with multiple hot dog vendors, beer, and live music. Plus, you have the beautiful Chicago History Museum and Lincoln Park Zoo around you. How can you go wrong?

Blue Man Group                                         Throughout august

While not solely an august event, what better time to watch men in blue entertain you through their eclectic comedy and musical style. They are one of the most innovative groups in the world, and you have the chance to watch them live in Chicago at the Briar Street Theater where they have been playing continuously since 1997.

Chicago Air and Water Show                                  August 16&17

Have you ever wanted to see an F-22 raptor or a Marine MV-22 Osprey up close? This is your chance. The Chicago Air and Water show attracts millions every year, as they watch the Blue Angels in their famous diamond formation, the Golden Knights parachute acrobatics, and many other aeronautical wizards.

AWBanner14 Chicago Event Calendar for August

Taste of Greektown                                                  August 23

The 25th annual Greektown fest has great Greek food, games, belly dancers, and bands. This annual tradition happens in the heart of Greektown on Halsted just west of the loop. Enjoy traditional Greek cuisine and entertainment. This year will also debut a new fine arts theater.

Chicago Jazz Festival                                                August 28-30

This free event held in Millenium park will have some Jazz greats, such Terence Blanchard, Rufus Reid, Gary Burton, Dave Holland, Cecile McLorin Salvant and the Sun Ra Arkestra. Held over Labor Day weekend, four days of smooth jazz to welcome in the school season.

African Festival of the Arts                                      August 29-September 1

This is the 25th annual festival honoring African history and culture. Dancing, storytelling, and workshops will highlight African heritage.

What are you doing in August?

With so many options, the biggest question is what are you doing in August? Chicago has so many different great events that figuring out the best ones for you to go to each week can be nerve racking. Let us know below then if you have any questions about the Chicago events happening in August? Then enjoy!



What Are the 7 Top Burgers in Chicago

In Chicago, a good burger and beer equates to a good time in the summer. With many local breweries and great burger joints, this should come as no surprise. However, not all burgers are created alike. Some imitation knock-offs will use frozen burgers, while others put no time and attention into their burger creations lumping on a bit of ketchup and withered pickles. Shocking, yet true!

Billy Goat Poster V3 765x1024 What Are the 7 Top Burgers in ChicagoNow, we might have an unbiased opinion, but nothing beats our summer Welcome Inn Manor brunches, which always include our world

famous, smoked turkey & eggs benedict on toasted/buttered pretzel bread with spicy hash brown.

However, we can help you find the top burgers in Chicago. To do this, we produced our burger hit list of places you need to check out.

7 Top Burgers in Chicago

Billy Goat Tavern– When you want to talk about traditional Chicago “cheezborgers” then this is your place. The Billy Goat is the home of the cheezborger, and the legendary home of Murphy the goat. The goat singularly known for cursing the Chicago Cubs since 1945. Go there as much for the history as the great burgers. The tavern is a tribute to Chicago’s colorful, culinary history.

Epic Burger– These burgers are just… Epic. What an apt name for this burger franchise. Even better is how they have every type of great burger imaginable. One of my personal favorites is the portabella mushroom burger. I had to double check that there was no meat inside, because it was so tasty.

H Dogs– Ok! So this might be a gourmet hot dog joint. They also create excellent gourmet burgers that are almost too big for you to wrap your hands around. Fresh ingredients, and playful combinations make this a hot place for hamburgers as well as hot dogs.


kumaburgerb 300x183 What Are the 7 Top Burgers in Chicago

Kumas Corner– This legendary Avondale bistro burger joint has attracted a huge amount of attention in its short history. The restaurant opened in 2005, but in this time Kumas has impacted Chicagoans ideas of a burger forever. Lines as long as three hours are not unheard of to taste their burgers. In fact, celebrities like Lady Gaga will even stand in line to eat their burgers.

Burger Bar-Locally crafted beers and great burgers; what else can you ask for in a burger joint? With Burger Bar, you get the traditional pub drinks with modern twists on your favorite foods.

Au Cheval– Without including Au Cheval, this list might not be complete. This loop burger joint is more sophisticated than most. Instead of a beer and burger, maybe a burger and shot of whiskey works for you. A professional crowd, looking for a classy burger.

Portillos-Sometimes you forget that Portillos has great burgers. After all, they are the home of the amazing hot dogs, beef sandwiches, crazy good salads, and a host of other amazing delights. Not to mention a chocolate cake that is out of this world. However, if it were not for the rest of the great food at Portillos more people would be discussing their burgers. Let’s start that conversation today.


Appreciating the Burger in Chicago


Chicago has some amazing burgers from your traditional grease spots to modern, luxury burgers. The key here is to find the right one for you. Then you can feel confident you are getting the top burger in Chicago.

Top Events At McCormick Place

mc logo Top Events At McCormick Place

One of the biggest draws to the city of Chicago is the McCormick Place convention center. During the summer they have events almost every weekend. Therefore, it is no surprise as the closest Chicago bed and breakfast that Welcome Inn Manor keeps a close tab on events at the convention center.

Since, so many of the events are not open to the public, we wanted to give you a condensed list of events happening at McCormick Place for tourists to visit. Here are a few of our favorites to visit over the next few months.

McCormick Place Events

Nike Tournament of Champions                           July 10-12th

For the basketball lovers, this is the tournament to watch in the summer while the Chicago Bulls are in the off-season. One of the largest amateur contests in the nation, and Chicago is one of many hosts for the event.

This season they expect up to 460 teams playing on 52 courts. Only the McCormick Place could fit so many players at once. While registration is closed, you can still watch the tournament.

Learn more about the tournament at Nike Tournament of Champions.

Rock & Roll Chicago Race Expo                            July 18-19th

Racers take your mark. This charity race, changed the game, by making long runners to start giving back more than $235 million to charity. Unlike other races, this one also has live bands and cheer teams (supporters). The idea is to create a race that is fun for people who always wanted to run, and using charity as a reason to participate in the race.

Learn more at the Rock & Roll Chicago Race Expo event page.home 04 Top Events At McCormick Place

North American Bitcoin Conference                   July 19-20th

Looking to speculate on the future of Bitcoin? Then you might be interested in joining the North American Bitcoin. Learn all about the positives and pitfalls of Bitcoins.

Disclosure: this is not an investment blog post. Investing in Bitcoins is at your own risk. We just tell you about the cool events you can check out.

Learn more at Bitcoin Chicago.

Antique Roadshow                                                   July 26th

This event is the only one listed that is not open to the public. The roadshow only wants to see people who share unique keepsakes. To do this, they have pre-registration requirements. However, if you have some really cool antique swag, then you might want to consider going onto the show to see how they can get for their prized items. Who knows what gems might be hiding in your attic, waiting for a big payday on the Antiques Roadshow?

Here is the event page for the Antiques Roadshow.

Arie Crown Theater

If nothing you like is going on at the McCormick Place, check out the adjacent Arie Crown Theater. This theater has a number of shows, concerts, and theatrical events throughout the year.

McCormick Events Thoughts

Finally, remember that a number of private events are held at McCormick Place as well. Many of them, like the Realtor Association and American Institute of Architects are professional groups that restrict access to professionals in the industry. However, if you are involved in these industries, you might want to take a look at the upcoming schedule for relevant professional groups in the area.

They hold a wide variety of events for professionals and hobbyists. The biggest question you need to answer is which event are you most interested in attending this summer? Let us know your favorite McCormick Place event in the comment section below!




7 Reason Why We Are Your Chicago Bed And Breakfast Home

Parlor Room 7 Reason Why We Are Your Chicago Bed And Breakfast HomeAre you tired of staying at an impersonal hotel in Chicago? Do you have trouble finding the right Chicago bed and breakfast to suit your needs?

Then stop your search. We have a bed and breakfast that we want you to call home during your next stay.

Staying in Chicago should be like coming home. As lifelong residents of the Windy City, we believe it is our responsibility to make this possible for all the city’s guests. That is why we felt that Welcome Inn Manor should be a Chicago bed and breakfast with a homespun feeling.

Over the years, we have spent a lot of time making sure that we can provide all the comforts of home to fit your needs.

Why we are your Chicago Bed and Breakfast Home

First, Welcome Inn Manor is a Queen Anne historic home built in 1893. Instead of putting you up in a stuffy hotel, we give you a real Chicago bed and breakfast as home. The reason being is that it has been a home for over 120 years.

Welcome Inn  0427 7 Reason Why We Are Your Chicago Bed And Breakfast HomeSecond, every morning we offer a hot breakfast to all of our guests. We also serve fruits and fresh juice every morning as well. Our goal is to provide you with the relaxing start to your day that you would normally feel if you were home. However, with a bit more service and less rushing! Take your time enjoying your meal.

Third, do not stay crowded up in your room, as you would in a hotel. Instead, enjoy access to our common rooms with plush leather sofas, fireplaces, and good conversation. Many of our guests’ favorite memories are falling asleep in our comfortable couches after a long day of exploring Chicago.

If that is not enough, consider the fact that we have a Wii for your kids, as well as flat screens in every room. We also have free Wi-Fi in case you need it.

Fourth, how often do you see a hotel offering free shuttle service to anywhere in the city? That is what we do every morning at Welcome Inn shuttle3 7 Reason Why We Are Your Chicago Bed And Breakfast HomeManor. Let us know where you want to go. We can get you onto the Mag mile in 12 minutes.

Welcome Inn Manor is also the closest Chicago bed and breakfast to the McCormick Convention center and the University of Chicago, and are close to Navy Pier, US Cellular Field, Millennium Park, and many other iconic Chicago treasures. Let us know where you want to go today?

Fifth, you can have your choice of top rooms. Choose from our seven special rooms, each with their character and personality. From the intimate Rosenwald and Lady D Suites to our University Quarters family suite, we have a bed that works for you.

Sixth, which reminds us. We don’t like stuffy beds that most hotels use. That is why we only use Serta Fontana Pillowtop beds with 600 count linens for the bed.

Seventh, we take care of the little touches. In addition to the pillows, we provide you with embroidered towels, as well as our Welcome Inn Manor signature soap, shaving cream, and shampoo.

Then we provide every room with our vintage Welcome Inn Manor bottle of wine.

What our guest say

However, don’t take our word for it. Here are what some of our recent guests have said.

“My husband and I spent our honeymoon at Welcome Inn Manor. The experience was outstanding. The Inn has a very warm ambiance, the decor is fabulous and the Inn keepers were attentive to our every need and request. The food was FABULOUS, and the hospitality and conversations we had with the Innkeepers was off the chain! We highly recommend the Welcome Inn Manor as an alternative to hotel accommodations in the city of Chicago and surrounding suburbs. We have wonderful memories and made lasting friendships and will be returning as often as possible.”

Vanessa Williams-Lewis

We spent a few days last week at the Welcome Inn Manor bed and Breakfast. We chose the location because it had spacious common area and in proximity of the things we wanted to do which included the Shedd Aquarium, Planetarium, Museum of science and Industry and more, including getting a good Chicago Pizza. We were pleased with the price and also the fact that we traveled by car and did not have to pay extra for free street parking. This was a big savings in itself.

Bill Koehne

Welcome Inn Manor, Welcome Home

If you would expect it at your house, expect it here at ours. That is how we have run Welcome Inn manor, since we opened in 2009.

It is no less than you should expect of any Chicago bed and breakfast. Let us welcome you into our home today. Call us at 312-493-2953



Top 10 Chicago Dating Ideas

Who said Chicago romance is dead? Surely not, after you go through our ultimate list of romance hotspots in Chicago. Whether taking a girl out on a first date, or popping the big question these are the places you want to do it in Chicago.

Some of them are well-known historical parts of the city. Others are new, and ready to be shared by your beloved and you.

The 10 Best Chicago Dating Ideas

Navy Pier CruisesHave you ever wanted a romantic cruise on Lake Michigan? Then connect with the Navy Pier Cruise companies. A number of cruise companies call Navy Pier home. From simple architecture river tours to full service dining halls to private yachts, Navy Pier has the romantic Lake Michigan cruise you want for your special night.

Signature RoomOn the 95th floor of the John Hancock’s Signature Room site one of those perfect combinations of ambiance and beauty. Sip a cocktail as enjoy stunning views of the city.

Welcome Inn Manor seriously believes they have magical alcohol, because everything is top shelf liquor. Prices on drinks range from $15 and up, not including tip. They are worth it more than the cheap $8 beers at a ballpark.

Green MillDo you want to feel like a gangster in the Jazz era. Then treat your baby doll to a fab time in the Windy City at the Green Mill. This is an old haunt for Al Capone, and has some of the best jazz in the city.

Trump Towers Donald Trump is nothing if not controversial. However, even his biggest detractors agree on one thing. The Terrace at the Trump has one of the best views of the Chicago River and lake. In true Trump style, it is elegant and awe-inspiring at the same time.

Carriage Ride-The sheer number of marriage proposals that happen in a Chicago carriage ride would probably astound most people. Every year, you hear a few new stories about how he proposed on a carriage ride in the Gold Coast. Two of the best operators are Chicago Horse & Carriage and the Noble Horse Theater. Both provide a memorable experience for everyone on the trip. During the winter, they even include blankets and hot beverages.

Bottle & BottegaA cool new concept hit the Midwest recently: wine and art. For a nominal fee, you can drink wine and paint a fancy piece of artwork; while a professional artist shows you how to turn a sample picture into the one you are painting.

Lincoln Park Zoo Top 10 Chicago Dating IdeasLincoln Park Zoo– So far we have mentioned a number of premium places. However, what happens if you are on a budget. Fortunately we have some Chicago dating ideas for you. First off would be the Lincoln Park Zoo. This zoo has a free entry policy, and is located in the heart of Lincoln Park.

Millenium Park (Downtown Sound)Listen to free music at Millenium Park. Throughout the summer, a number of different events are being played.  If nothing is playing, then bring a beach towel and picnic basket for an enjoyable afternoon within walking distance of the Art Institute, Buckingham Fountain, The Bean, and Chicago Cultural Center.

Chicago Cultural Center Which brings up the next date spot. The Chicago Cultural Center always has great programs throughout the year. During the spring and summer make sure to check out their free weekly foreign movies. Every week is a new country’s top movie.

Chicago Theater In a horrible rip off of Hamlet, “The play’s the thing where you catch your love.” Most women love a night out at the theater. The right play is enjoyable to everyone, so look swanky on your way to the theater.

What is your Chicago dating idea?

We do not have a monopoly on great Chicago dating ideas. With so many great venues and options out there, we know that we missed a few gems along the way. So, let us know either your best dating story, or some Chicago dating ideas you have.

Chicago June Event Calendar

One of my favorite thoughts about Chicago is that summers in Chicago are so great, because the winters are so hard. Nothing could be truer, than this past winter of polar vortex’s and freezing weather. Therefore, with June’s packed event calendar, this should be another great summer.

However, instead of going dizzy with options, here are some of the best events in Chicago. If you are visiting Chicago with a limited time, then here are your “must see’s” for June.

Top Chicago Events

Millennium Art Festival                                                          June 1, 2014 (begins May 30)

If you love art, then you need to check out the Millennium Art Festival. Held in beautiful Millennium Park, this is a great way to visit a treasured part of the city and enjoy great pieces of art from Midwest artists. Additionally, the festival includes music and food as well. Great for sampling Chicago fare while listening to up and coming artists perform.

If you took a Chicago architecture tour, then finding the festival is a cinch. The festival is close to the Bean.

Festival del Taco                                                                     June 1, 2014 (begins May 30)

Not sure about you, but we love tacos at Welcome Inn Manor. Therefore, we do our best to attend the Festival del Taco at Kostner and 27th St. Eat tacos, and listen to live music. What could be better? RibfestChicago BOClogo2 300x71 Chicago June Event Calendar

One note: The event is free, but there is a suggested donation to cover event costs.

Ribfest Chicago                                                                                  June 6 – 8, 2014

If tacos are not your thing, then maybe you are a rib person. Then you have to check out the annual Ribfest in Chicago. Just a heads up! This event is always jammed packed. Be prepared to eat on the go, make sure you have plenty of napkins, and try not to inhale all the BBQ smoke goodness at once.

This Northside event is at Lincoln and Irving Park, and a block away from the Brown line.

Printers Row Lit Fest                                                                          June 7 – 8, 2014

Maybe food is not your thing while travelling. Perhaps you would like to read. Then the Printers Row Lit Fest is the place to be.

The only caveat to going is that you might need to lift weights in the weeks before the lit fest, so you can carry all your books back to your house. The deals are off the charts ridiculous.

Chicago Blues Festival                                                                                   June 13-15

Chicago is the birthplace of blues. Kokomo Arnold, Muddy Waters, Buddy Guy, and other amazing artists dominated the Chicago blues scene for years. This is the annual tribute to Chicago blues. Hear the best of the best play on stage at Grant Park.

BluesBanner Chicago June Event Calendar

Chicago Bike Week                                                                                        June 13-20

This is an entire week devoted to biking. From encouraging bikers to ride to the Chicago Blues Festival to a final push on June 20th ride to work day, they have some great events if you enjoy biking around the city.

Note of caution: wear a helmet and obey the traffic laws. Accidents do happen, so rather be safe than sorry.

Laugh or Die Comedy Fest                                                                            June 20 – 22, 2014

At Carl Schurz High School on the North West side of the city, see independent comedy films, as well as live comedians onstage.

See both short and long independent comedy films plus live comedians onstage at the at Carl Schurz High School.

Tickets are $10 either Friday, Saturday, or Sunday; or $25 for the weekend when you purchase online. If you purchase at the door, the price goes up $5-10 depending on the ticket you purchase.

Chicago Gospel Music Festival                                                                      June 27-29

The next three events are all happening around the same time. Choose carefully, because all of them are ridiculously fun.

The Chicago Gospel Music festival brings gospel singers and groups from across the country. A free event that is held in two locations: The Chicago Cultural Center (a remarkable building to check out) on the 27th and then on the weekend at Ellis Park on 37th and Cottage Grove.

Chicago Summerfest (formerly Chicago Country Fest)                                 June 28 – 29, 2014

If you want to vary your music a bit then head out on the weekend after a Friday at the Chicago Gospel Festival.

Chicago Summerfest is in Lincoln Park surrounded by the zoo and historical museum, you can experience over 20 hours of live music at Summerfest. Bring a blanket and picnic basket while you watch. Better yet, check out some of the food from the vendors. Suggested entry price is $5.

Chicago Pride Parade                                                                                     June 29, 2014 (noon)

Show your LGBT pride in a parade with 200 floats, wild costumed performers, and an enthusiastic crowd of only 800,000 people. The Chicago Pride Parade has grown over the past few years to epic proportions.

The parade runs along Broadway from Lawrence to Belmont. While the parade only lasts a few hours, events are held throughout the weekend around the parade.

Note: If you do not like wild, riled up crowds then do not attend this event.

Welcome To Summer In Chicago


You are here in Chicago at the right time of the year. Summer is coming at the end of the month, and it is shaping up to be a beautiful month. Enjoy the activities listed in this article. Let us know afterwards, which Chicago events you enjoyed the most.

Maxwell Street Sandwiches

Maxwell Street sandwiches have garnered a legendary reputation over the past few years. From hot dogs to polish sausages to pork chopped sandwiches.

The original restaurants like Jim’s Original and The Express were located for years on Maxwell. The restaurants were moved a block over with the nearby University of Illinois at Chicago’s expansion. However, with the strong student interest

Also, Maxwell Street sandwiches derive from a long tradition of excellence. Early Italian immigrants brought over the sandwiches

Jim’s Original– The first Maxwell street polish sausage was from Jim’s Original in the late 1930’s. One of the two stands that was moved to Union street from the epic Halsted and Maxwell corner.

While they have moved locations over the years, they have not lost that original flavor that has driven a devoted following over the past 80 years.

Express Street-While Jim’s Original was the first polish stand in the area, Express street calls themselves the place of the original polish sausage. Their family recipe polish sausage comes with a side of free fries.

Maxwell Street Depot Dog-As well known for their pork chopped sandwiches as their polish sausages. While a little farther south than the other shops, they still make a great sandwich.

Lucky’s Sandwich Co.– Along with their amazing polish sausages, they also have a number of amazing Italian sandwiches like the Genoa Salami, Pastrami, and Capicola among other sandwiches. While a newcomer to Maxwell street, their food has become a valued part of the neighborhood’s cuisine.

They are famous for their Lucky’s challenge, where contestants have 1 hour to finish three of their meat sandwiches. Food Travel personality Adam Richman successfully took the challenge at their Wrigleyville location.

Even if you do not take Lucky’s challenge, you will enjoy the traditional Italian fare in the heart of Little Italy.

Maxwell Street Polish-An amazing polish place that rather reminds you of every good, down on the corner grease restaurant you ever visited. The polish sandwiches are legendary. Do not forget a side of greasy fries with a pop to make your meal complete. Maybe some tums, but your taste buds will forever thank you for the experience.

Maxwell Street Farmers Market– The final place we want to discuss is the Maxwell Street Farmers Market. While not your standard sandwich shop, they do have a number of amazing eateries at the market.

Additionally, you will find some of the freshest fruits and vegetables in the city at the market. Vendors come in every week to sell their wares over the weekend. You will also find a number of deals on clothes, jewelry, toys, and trinkets. Be prepared to spend 3-4 hours at the farmers market.

The Beauty Of Maxwell Street

Over the years, Maxwell street developed from a regular neighborhood to a Chicago icon. However, many of the same great foods still exist for those interested in expanding their culinary palette.

For those who are interested, taste the birth of the polish sausage and revel in greasy fries that make your heart cry. While not safe for normal consumption, a few trips out to this area can never be a bad thing. Have a bite and then let us know your favorite Maxwell street sandwich in the comments below.

Finding The Best Chicago Architecture Tours For You

Chicago has been a leader in architecture for over 100 years now. Ever since the days of Frank Lloyd Wright, Chicago’s architectural marvels have wowed the world. This is why you will find so many Chicago architecture tours around the city. So many buildings and skyscrapers to explore that a tour is almost required for those unfamiliar with this urban landscape of beauty.

However, the tours vary so widely. That is why Welcome Inn Manor sorted out the best architecture tours in Chicago.

Best Chicago Architecture Tours

Walking Tours

Chicago Loop Art & Architecture Walking Tour

Chicago Tours offers an interesting architecture and art walk. Not only do you get to see well-renown sculptures, like the Picasso statue in front of the Daley Center and the infamous CloudGate (commonly referred to as the Bean) sculpture in Millennium Park. Also, do not forget to go to Buckingham Fountain, also located in Millennium Park. Your best bet for seeing the fountain is late in the afternoon. That way, you can observe the amazing carvings on the fountain, and as the light fades watch the colored water shows.

Then sprinkle in some of the greatest architectural finds in the city, including the Chicago Cultural Center (a good place to check out later on in your trip) and the Thompson Center (State of Illinois’s weird glass dome structure). Along the way, you will see the skyscrapers that have made an indelible impression on the city’s growth.

Free Chicago Loop Highlight Tour

One of the new trends in tourism are free walking tours of the city. Well, these tours are not exactly free, but we will discuss that in a second. Free Tours By Foot is one of the new breed of tours operators here in the US. In Europe these types of tours are all the rage.

This is not an architectural tour, but does highlight a lot of the city’s amazing architecture in the loop. Then at the end of the tour, you tip your tour guide based on how well you think they did. $10-15 tips per person are common for these tours, and are still cheaper than a number of other tour operations in the city. This is a walking tour, so make sure to wear comfortable shoes and be aware of the fact that this tour attracts a younger crowd. 

River Boat Tours

Chicago Architectural Cruise – Weekends and Holidays

Chicago architecture and art are just one part of the city. What is going downtown without checking out the Chicago river or lakefront. The iconic waterways of downtown Chicago add their own intrigue and amazement for visitors. Just look at the majestic Michigan Avenue Bridge and you can see an interplay between nature and commercial architecture.

As you travel down the river, you will see the Wrigley Building, Chicago Tribune, and many other historic buildings that have defined this Midwestern architectural mecca.

Chicago Architecture Foundation River Boat Tours

If Chicago Tours does not have any room, then you might want to take a river cruise with the Chicago Architectural Foundation. Their devotion to the Chicago Architectural scene is immense. Travel down the river with them, and go back in time as you see how Chicago led the development of the modern architectural era of skyscrapers and designs.

Chicago Architecture River Cruise

Viators operates the final river cruise tour. They go through the north and side branches of the river, also hitting Willis Tower and the East Bank club, as well discussing the history on the major events that formed the current Chicago skyline.


Self Guided Chicago Loop/Architecture Tour

Do you want to go at your own pace? Then Metro Walkz self-guided tour might be the best solution for you. If you hate being part of the tourist trap with 100 strangers, then you might want to consider exploring the city on your own. Metro Walkz can help you with self-guided

Enjoy Your Next Architectural Tour

Have fun exploring the Chicago treasures. Let us know what tour you decide to take, so we can verify what the best architectural tours in Chicago are right now.

Chicago Grant Park

IMAG0418 300x179 Chicago Grant ParkMy favorite Chicago attraction is Grant Park. No matter what the season is, there are always fun and interesting things to see or do. The park also provides a good opportunity to mingle not only with fellow tourists but locals as well.

In the summer, there are several festivals or concerts happening at any given time. The season opens with the Grant Park Music Festival, and lasts for three months. During this time, every Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday, a different artist or group performs at the Jay Pritzker Pavillion. The performers range from symphony orchestras, to acoustic musicians, to electronica DJs.

While the shows take place at night, most performers hold open rehearsals at noon. This enables workers from nearby buildings and offices to enjoy their lunch surrounded by good music, under a beautiful summer sky. Tourists, who may have other engagements in the evening, will also have the opportunity to see and hear the day’s artists even though it’s just a rehearsal.

For art lovers, the park has exhibits all year round. The last major exhibit was Jun Kaneko’s signature Dangos, which means rounded form or “dumplings” in Japanese. The exhibit ran for seven months, and allowed viewers to examine their environment and focus on a sense of scale and place. Previous exhibits have included Yvonne Domenge’s large-scale sculptures which were on display for most of 2012.

For those looking for a respite from city’s hustle and bustle, one can duck into the Lurie Gardens. Guided tours are available every day, and the garden’s offerings vary depending on the season. This five acre garden pays homage to the City’s motto, “Urbs in Horto”, or City in a Garden, which refers to the city’s transformation from a flat and marshy swamp to one of the biggest and most powerful cities in the country. The Lurie Garden is surrounded by 15 foot hedges that give the illusion of being in a secluded garden somewhere remote instead of downtown Chicago. There is a small stream that runs around inside the garden and adds extra tranquility to the space.

IMAG0424 300x179 Chicago Grant ParkAlso in the summer, the super music festival Lollapalooza is hosted on Grant Park grounds. This three day music extravaganza offers locals and tourists alike a chance to see over a hundred performers in a span of a weekend. For those who would rather cut a rug, the Spirit of Music Garden in the southern portion of the park offers a summer long dance festival. Every Wednesday night at 6, the event starts with the host dance instructors showing and teaching the guests the dance for that night. After an hour of teach and lead, the dance party starts and attendees get to show off the moves they’ve just learned.

Within weeks of Lollapalooza, the park also hosts the world-famous Taste of Chicago. This two week event is attended by up to a million people every year, and offers guests the chance to sample Chicago’s very diverse and multi-cultural culinary offerings. One can get anything from deep dish pizza, turkey legs, cheesecake, hotdogs, to soul food, all within one square mile. During this time, there are several musical performances scattered around the park as well.

However, it is not only during the summer that one gets to enjoy the beauty of the park. Come winter, an ice rink is opened on the grounds of Millennium Park. Access to it is free to the public, you only pay for skate rentals if you don’t bring your own.  The park’s trees are strung with Christmas lights, there are vendors selling mulled wine, hot chocolate, and spiced nuts; and the park is transformed into a veritable winter wonderland.

No matter what season you come, no matter what activities or interests you may have, Chicago’s Grant Park will always have something for you, and the best part is, most of the events are free. It’s Chicago’s way of welcoming guests to her beautiful front yard.