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Chicago Architecture Tour: Explore this Famous City with Your Students

By November 25, 2013 January 24th, 2015 5 Comments

Chicago Architecture Tour

This Chicago Architecture tour explores a city internationally known for its historic and modern architecture. As the birthplace of the first skyscraper, the Ferris Wheel, and the tallest building in the Western Hemisphere, Chicago is a heavy hitter for architecture history.  Many famous architects have had a hand in constructing the Chicago skyline, including Frank Lloyd Wright, Mies Van der Rohe,  Louis Sullivan, Howard Van Doren Shaw, Daniel Burnham, and more.

Chicago Architecture Tour: Day 1
Chicago Architecture Trip

Cloud Gate at Millennium Park

Meander through Millennium Park. This park, which opened in 2004,  was built on a site controlled by the Illinois Central Railroad for almost 150 years.  Find the Cloud Gate, known to many as “the Bean”. It was designed by British artist Anish Kapoor and was inspired by liquid mercury.

Also, find the Jay Pritzker Pavilion, designed by Frank Gehry. This ultra-contemporary outdoor concert venue seats 4,000. What does the Pavilion look like to you?

Continue with a guided walking tour of Chicago architecture.  Among other sites, this tour will include:

  • Willis Tower
  • Chicago Board of Trade
  • Chase Tower and Plaza
  • Reliance Building
  • Richard J. Daley Center
  • James R. Thompson Center
  • Federal Center

Before dinner, explore Historic Navy Pier. Once used as a  Navy training facility during World War II, Navy Pier is now one of the top tourist attractions in Chicago. Ride the 150-foot-tall Ferris wheel.

Dinner is included at Bubba Gump Shrimp Company.

Journey to the top of the John Hancock Observatory. This building was designed by Skidmore Owings and Merril and was completed in 1970. Rocketing at 1,800 feet per minute, you’ll arrive at the Observatory in 39 seconds. Take in the amazing views of the city.

Chicago Architecture Tour: Day 2

Begin today’s explorations at the John G Shedd Aquarium. The Shedd Aquarium houses more than 22,000 animals! Be whisked away to the Caribbean in the Wild Reef Exhibit. Then, pay a visit to Granddad, the 80+ year old Australian lungfish. Don’t miss the Oceanarium Show & Exhibits!

Chicago Architecture Tour

Adler Planetarium

Lunch is at a location of your choice.

In the afternoon, gaze a the stars in the Adler Planetarium.  Founded in 1930, the Adler Planetarium was the first planetarium built in the Western Hemisphere! Experience the night sky over Chicago as it appeared in 1913 in the Atwood Sphere.

Then, visit the Field Museum of Natural History. This museum gained acclaim when Steven Spielberg made it the home base for the esteemed archaeologist in his Indiana Jones movies. The museum is home to more than 20 million specimens! Be sure to visit Sue, the largest and most complete Tyrannosaurus Rex fossil currently known.

Discover a new artist that you like at the Art Institute of Chicago. The Art Institute of Chicago collects, preserves, and interprets works of art. It is famous for Impressionist, Post-Impressionist, and American paintings.

Bite into a steaming slice of deep-dish pizza at Giordano’s Pizza, a Chicago tradition!

End the day with a high-energy performance of the Blue Man Group  at the Briar Street Theatre.

Chicago Architecture Tour: Day 3
Chicago Architecture Tour

On board the Wendella Architecture Tour

Start today with a Wendella Chicago River Architecture Cruise. This 75-minute Chicago architecture tour covers variety of architectural styles and architects that have shaped Chicago’s rich architectural heritage. An expert architecture guide will discuss residential buildings, office buildings, and everything in between as you cruise the three branches of the Chicago River.

Spend the rest of the morning exploring the Museum of Science & Industry. The museum covers a range of topics including energy, chemistry, weather, the human body, space exploration, and transportation. Find the World War II German U-505 submarine. Then send your pulse to the Giant Heart and make it beat in time with your own. Observe high-voltage lightning as you sit below a large Tesla coil.  Use electromagnetism to launch a ring 30 feet into the air!

Grab lunch at an eatery of your choice before returning home.

You may also be interested in these Chicago posts, student stories, and resources.

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