Chicago: Historic Skyscrapers Guided Walking Tour

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Explore famous buildings and architecture on a walking tour in Chicago, home to some of the world's earliest skyscrapers. See why Chicago is often called "The Birthplace of the Skyscraper."


  • Experience the wonder of some of Chicago's most historic skyscrapers
  • Learn how skyscrapers changed the cultural landscape of 19th-century cities
  • Discover how Chicago became established as an innovative architectural center
  • Learn from your local guide, trained by the Chicago Architecture Foundation


Take a step back in time to the late 19th century to see and experience these world-famous early tall buildings that transformed a city devastated by fire into a center of skyscraper design and engineering. Let your expert guide immerse you in the architectural history of this city on this walking tour of Chicago.  Highlights of this walking tour include: Burnham and Root's Rookery (1888), with its Moorish and Romanesque exterior and its interior atrium redesigned by Frank Lloyd Wright; Adler and Sullivan's Auditorium Building (1889), a masterpiece of acoustical and structural engineering; and Holabird and Roche's Marquette Building (1895), an outstanding example of Chicago commercial building design. Tickets purchased for experiences run by the Chicago Architecture Center help build the greater Chicago community. When you hit the pavement on a walking tour, set sail on an award-winning river cruise (Chicago's First Lady), or visit the Center, you’re helping fund Chicago Architecture Center education initiatives like Girls Build!, Teen Fellows and the Newhouse Architecture + Design Competition. Or you may be helping to keep programs like Open House Chicago free for participants for years to come. As a certified nonprofit, all Chicago Architecture Center ticket purchases directly support local education efforts and community engagement projects.


Certified docent from the Chicago Architecture Foundation Chicago Architecture Center gallery admission Walking tour

Important Information

  • All tours are given by Chicago Architecture Foundation certified volunteer docents who receive hundreds of hours of training about Chicago’s architecture and its history. They are storytellers and Chicago experts.
  • This tour is unable to provide secure storage for luggage or strollers.
  • Unfortunately there are no refunds due to the weather, and tours depart rain or shine.
  • Pets are not allowed, but service animals are welcome.

Easy cancellation

Cancel up to 24 hours in advance for a full refund


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