Willis Tower
Architecture Tours

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Popular Architecture Tours in Willis Tower

Our most recommended Willis Tower Architecture Tours

Chicago River: 1.5-Hour Guided Architecture Cruise

1. Chicago River: 1.5-Hour Guided Architecture Cruise

Experience more of Chicago by boat than on any other architectural cruise. See architectural highlights and enjoy an open-air deck or climate-controlled interior as you travel the main River and its north and south branches. View all of Chicago's architectural highlights during this comprehensive sightseeing tour. Be entertained by the expert and friendly tour guides as they explain the 130 year-long history behind the skyline, while bartenders and staff keep you comfortable with refreshments.  Choose between the fresh air of the open-air decks or enjoy the comfort of the climate-controlled interiors during your cruise. The tour starts at the Michigan Avenue (DuSable) bridge and goes up the main branch of the Chicago River past Wolf Point. It then cruises along the north and south branches of the river, before heading back past the Chicago Riverwalk towards Lake Michigan. On the way, learn about ornate, historic early skyscrapers like the Wrigley Building and the Tribune Tower, the imposing art deco Merchandise Mart, mid-century skyscrapers like the Mies Van der Rohe AMA Building. Don't miss the circular Marina City Towers, the majestic Willis Tower (formerly the Sears Tower and the tallest building in Chicago) the soaring AON Center, and more modernist structures like Aqua, Trump Tower, Nuveen, and the new Vista Tower. During your cruise, have the opportunity to enjoy a full-service cash bar featuring authentic Chicago products, including local beer and spirits, and Garrett’s Popcorn. Don’t forget to take a selfie at the Grand Staircase at the front of the boat or pose for photos at the picturesque stern or bow of this classic vessel.

Chicago: 45-Minute Family-Friendly Architecture River Cruise

2. Chicago: 45-Minute Family-Friendly Architecture River Cruise

Admire Chicago’s impressive architecture from a unique perspective aboard a cruise sailing down the Chicago River, which features an indoor and outdoor deck, along with live commentary tailored to entertain the whole family. Treat yourself to a full-service cash bar at your own expense. Experience the best of the Chicago River from Lakeshore Drive to the Willis Tower, navigating along the South branch of the river, before heading back past the Chicago Riverwalk towards Lake Shore Drive and Lake Michigan. Be entertained by the fun and experienced tour guides as they explain the history behind Chicago’s buildings along the river and the exceptional architects who created this ever-changing skyline. Enjoy the most relaxing way to sightsee in Chicago, exploring the city free of traffic, noise, and congestion. Make sure to visit the full-service cash bar featuring authentic Chicago products, including local beer and spirits. Explore the open-air decks that allow you to feel the cooling river breeze and see the city from many vantage points that provide perfect photo opportunities.

Chicago: Willis Tower Skydeck and The Ledge Ticket

3. Chicago: Willis Tower Skydeck and The Ledge Ticket

Enjoy an unrivaled view over the city of Chicago on a trip up the city's Willis Tower. This famous building, once known as the Sears Tower, is not only home to a Skydeck on the 103rd floor, but it also features The Ledge, a series of 4 glass-paneled boxes that extend out from the building's facade to give visitors a view straight down. As you wind through the ground levels of the Willis Tower, you will be surrounded by museum-quality exhibits highlighting the iconic tower. Learn about Chicago's rich history and culture through these informative visuals. Watch a video presentation, "Reaching for the Sky," where you will be briefed on the history of the building and of architecture in Chicago. Then step into your elevator and you will be amazed at how quickly it ascends. As you travel, your multimedia-equipped elevator will inform you about your vertical progress. Upon reaching the 103rd floor, step out onto the Skydeck, which offers views spanning over 50 miles and across 4 states. Then summon your courage to step out onto The Ledge, a glass balcony that hangs over the edge, for vertigo-inducing views 1,353 feet (about 412 meters) straight down to the city below! Download the Skydeck Mobile App for a free viewfinder which points out many of Chicago’s notable landmarks. Learn more about sights like Navy Pier, Wrigley Field, Grant Park, Art Institute of Chicago, Shedd Aquarium, and Field Museum of Natural History.

Chicago River Architecture Cruise: Skip-the-Ticket-Office

4. Chicago River Architecture Cruise: Skip-the-Ticket-Office

Skip the lines at the ticket office and climb aboard a state-of-the-art cruise for a 60- or 75-minute cruise of all 3 branches of the Chicago River, and marvel at the architecture that has made the city so legendary. Get an insight into the buildings and engineering of a city that gave birth to the skyscraper and is the spiritual home of modern American architecture. Your expert guide will lead you down the Chicago River to uncover hidden gems, as well the city’s most renowned landmarks, such as the John Hancock building, Trump Tower, Marina City, Willis Tower, and more. Relax with a glass of something cold from the cash bar, as you cruise the Windy City’s waterway, and learn its status as a modern metropolis and one of the world’s most beautiful cities. End your tour in the same place where you boarded the boat.

Chicago: Hop-on Hop-off Open Top Bus Tour

5. Chicago: Hop-on Hop-off Open Top Bus Tour

From your vantage point on the double-decker sightseeing bus, you'll enjoy panoramic views of Chicago’s finest skyscrapers, including the 875 N Michigan, the Willis Tower, and the Wrigley Building. Take in the city's impressive landmarks as your tour guide provides entertaining commentary and insight into Chicago's history. Enjoy exploring this dynamic city with the freedom to hop on and hop off as many times as you wish to visit attractions such as the Shedd Aquarium and the Field Museum. You’ll travel down the famous Magnificent Mile, considered one of the great avenues of the world, and continue across the Michigan Avenue Bridge over the Chicago River. The bridge connects the north and south sides of the city. This hop-on, hop-off bus tour of Chicago makes it easy for you to explore the city's sights at your own pace. There are 12 stops, where you can hop off to visit attractions and explore places of interest. The stops are conveniently located to make navigating your way around the city easy, and with a choice of 24- or 48-hour tickets, you can take your time discovering Chicago. With the 48-hour ticket, enjoy a non-stop panoramic sightseeing bus tour through Chicago at night too. Admire the illuminated skyline from the Museum Campus and see River North's vibrant nightlife scene. Take one loop from Michigan Avenue to the Magnificent Mile and the Cultural Mile. In addition, be sure to take advantage of admission to the Chicago Architecture Center, included if an appropriate option is selected, to dive deeper into the city that invented the skyscraper. So don't wait, just hop on an exciting journey through Chicago.

Chicago: Lake Michigan Sightseeing Cruise with Gourmet Meal

6. Chicago: Lake Michigan Sightseeing Cruise with Gourmet Meal

Discover Chicago's sparkling skyline from Lake Michigan on a sightseeing cruise. Savor a mouthwatering meal while listening to music played by a live DJ. Sip on unlimited coffee and tea while gazing out at sights like Navy Pier, Grant Park, and Willis Tower. Board the boat at Navy Pier and enjoy a personal greeting. Smile for the ship's photographer to capture the memory, then embark on an elegant dining cruise along the Chicago shoreline. After being seated at your private table, tuck into your gourmet brunch buffet or 3-course meal. Enjoy a creative meal prepared fresh by the onboard chef. Following your meal, dance to live music or relax on any of the 3 decks as you watch the skyscrapers of Chicago's distinctive skyline glide by.  Sample lunch and dinner menu: Starters (choice of one): Caesar Salad Lobster Bisque (dinner only) Jumbo Shrimp Cocktail (dinner only, available for additional price) Seafood Tower (dinner only, available for additional price) 2.5oz 1/2 Lobster Tail (dinner only, available for additional price) Main course (choice of one): Jumbo Forest Mushroom Ravioli Oven-Baked Atlantic Salmon Filet Oven Roasted Frenched Chicken Breast with Rosemary and Thyme Braised Beef Short Rib Pan-Seared Fresh Pacific Cod (dinner only) 8 oz USDA Choice Filet Mignon (dinner only, available for additional price) 18 oz USDA Prime Striploin (dinner only, available for additional price) Two 5 oz Broiled Maine Lobster Tails (dinner only, available for additional price) Choice of dessert (choice of one): Eli's New York Style Cheesecake Duo of Sorbet Freshly Cut Fruit and Fresh Strawberries Triple Chocolate Mud Pie (dinner only) Odyssey Signature Warm Butter Cake (dinner only) French Macarons (dinner only, available for additional price) Champagne Chocolate Truffles (dinner only, available for additional price) Sample brunch buffet menu Early risers: Seasonal Fruit Breakfast Pastries Scottish Smoked Salmon Scrambled Eggs Breakfast Meats Breakfast Potatoes Build Your Own Belgian Waffle Station Late risers: Caesar Salad Shrimp and Farfalle Pasta Salad Potato Salad Roasted Cedar Plank Oregano Salmon Maple & Mustard Glazed Chicken Hand Carved Strip Loin, USDA Choice Desserts: Odyssey Signature Dessert Station Chocolate Fondue Menu items are subject to change.

Chicago: 75-Minute Architecture Cruise by Speedboat

7. Chicago: 75-Minute Architecture Cruise by Speedboat

Climb aboard a speedboat for a thrilling river and lake cruise around some of Chicago’s architectural gems. Gain insights into the city's most famous landmarks from your guide. Admire sights like Willis Tower, Tribune Tower, and Buckingham Fountain. Depart from the former Navy training center of Navy Pier on the shores of Lake Michigan on a tour along the lakefront. Sail through the locks and along the Chicago River all the way to the second tallest building in the USA, Willis Tower (formerly Sears Tower). Get up close to Chicago’s most iconic buildings and unique architecture, and enjoy amazing views and an entertaining narration as part of the exciting ride. Learn the fascinating history of structures like the neo-Gothic Tribune Tower and the Lyric Opera of Chicago. Cruise the lakefront of Lake Michigan to see monuments and attractions such as Buckingham Fountain, Grant Park, Chicago Harbor, and the Chicago Museum Campus.

Chicago: History, Culture and Architecture Walking Tour

8. Chicago: History, Culture and Architecture Walking Tour

Start your tour under the dazzling marquee of the Chicago Theater (which you might recognize from the movie-musical Chicago) before heading off into the bustling city. Your first stop is inside one of the best-preserved spaces built for shopping in Chicago, featuring an unforgettable atrium at its core. Then head towards the Chicago Pedway, a uniquely Chicago feature used by locals and commuters daily to move about the city in a network of underground tunnels. Afterward, head back above-ground near City Hall and head inside to see the classic interior design and architecture. Next, enjoy a sweet treat, and local tradition: Chicago-style popcorn. Weather permitting, take a stroll along the Chicago Riverwalk while taking in views of several soaring buildings, including Marina Towers, the Britannica Building, and the Willis Tower. From there, make your way to another delicious destination. Along the way, enjoy views of the world-famous Wrigley Building and the incredible Chicago Tribune building, the heart of Chicago’s thriving and historic journalism industry. Your second tasty confection is locally made chocolate from a Chicago staple. Finally, take a stroll through the beautiful lakefront parks along Michigan Avenue. Round up your tour in the picturesque Millennium Park, home to the iconic Bean sculpture. Here, your guide will conclude your tour and point you in the right direction toward more amazing sights, great lunch spots, or drink recommendations.

Chicago: Food, History and Architecture Tour with Tastings

9. Chicago: Food, History and Architecture Tour with Tastings

Discover the architecture and food scene of Chicago on a guided day tour. Learn more about the city's history and vibrant food scene as you discover various bustling neighborhoods and historic areas. Start the tour under the dazzling marquee of the Chicago Theater. Explore the bustling city where the first stop is inside one of the best-preserved spaces built for shopping in Chicago, featuring an unforgettable atrium at its core. Then, head towards the Chicago Pedway. This unique feature of Chicago is used by locals and commuters daily to move about the city in a network of underground tunnels. Make your way above ground at City Hall, and admire its classic interior design and architecture. Next, visit a spot for a tasty sweet treat, and a local tradition, Chicago-style popcorn. Take a stroll along the Chicago Riverwalk while taking in views of several soaring buildings, including Marina Towers, the Britannica Building, and the Sears Tower (now known as the Willis Tower). From there, visit another delicious destination for locally made chocolates from a Chicago staple. Meander through the beautiful lakefront parks along Michigan Avenue, finishing at picturesque Millennium Park, home to the iconic Bean sculpture. Travel by ‘L” train or ride share with your guide from Millennium Park up to the River North neighborhood, the original Chicago foodie destination. Your food tour starts with a very well-known Chicago fare, the Chicago-style hot dog. Every Chicagoan has his or her own preference as to how the dog should be made, and you’ll get a chance to try your guide’s favorite version. Next up is the world-famous Chicago deep-dish pizza. An entire meal unto itself, this staple of the Chicago food scene originated in River North in the 1940s when workers and families needed filling dishes at low prices. Your guide will take you to a pizza place that’s an icon to Chicago natives to try the real deal for yourself. After you’ve filled up on pizza and hot dogs, continue your tasting journey with a classic Chicago sandwich, the Italian beef. Sample this sandwich in a real Chicago institution with no-frills decor. Our tour ends here, and your guide will be happy to direct you back to your accommodation or share tips for what else to see in the city.

Chicago: Must See Chicago 90 minute Walking Tour

10. Chicago: Must See Chicago 90 minute Walking Tour

Starting at the Chicago Architecture Center (CAC), this tour gives you an overview of many of the must see buildings and landmarks in the City of Chicago. Led by an expert guide who has been rigorously trained by the CAC to be equal parts storyteller and educator, you will get a fantastic introduction to the city’s wide variety of architectural styles, construction methods, and materials. There is so much to see downtown, and this tour makes it easy and fun to learn about some of the buildings that make Chicago’s architecture world-class. There are lots of photo opportunities along the way, so be sure to bring your camera! The tour covers three of the main focal points of Downtown Chicago – the Chicago Loop, the heart of historic Chicago; the Chicago River, the lifeblood of the city; and Millennium Park, where the iconic “The Bean” sculpture is located. Landmark buildings covered on this tour include soaring modernist skyscrapers (Willis Tower, John Hancock Center, and AON Building), buildings paying homage to classical styles (Wrigley Building, Tribune Building, the Chicago Theatre, and the Art Institute of Chicago), Art Deco edifices (Carbide & Carbon Building and the Chicago Board of Trade Building), and recently completed skyscrapers (Aqua & Trump Tower). Finally, admission to the Chicago Architecture Center (CAC) is also included with your walking tour ticket. CAC exhibits focus on Chicago’s diverse neighborhoods, housing types, leading architects and future projects, and include the largest scale model of the city, with more than 4,250 miniature buildings and a cinematic backdrop animating key moments in its history. The stories of the city begin at the CAC.

Frequently asked questions about Willis Tower Architecture Tours

What are other things to do than Willis Tower Architecture Tours that are worth visiting in Chicago?

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Other Sightseeing Options in Willis Tower

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What people are saying about Willis Tower

Overall rating

4.4 / 5

based on 262 reviews

We had an extremely knowledgeable and personable guide on our cruise, the boat was clean and comfortable, overall a great way to learn about Chicago architecture and history at the same time.

Tour guide narrator was excellent. Extremely knowledgeable and entertaining. Duration of 45 minutes was perfect.

Once you have your pass, you can make the day your own. A nice variety of places to learn and explore.

A must tour for any traveller interested in architecture. The guide was very knowledgeable.

Great experience!! Best way to see and understand why Chicago is unique :)