CAF offers more than 85 tours, all led by CAF-certified volunteer docents. For the Chicago Architecture Biennial we have curated a set of tours that will compliment your biennial experience. Visit architecture.org/tours for more information or to purchase tickets:
Chicago Architecture Foundation River Cruise Aboard Chicago's First Lady Cruises (90 minutes) - CAF-certified volunteer tour guides—called docents—interpret more than 50 buildings along the Chicago River, revealing how the city grew from a small back-country outpost into one of the world’s most important crossroads in less than 100 years. In 90 minutes, get the real story on Chicago architecture and its history.
Architectural Highlights by Bus (3.5 hours) - This bus tour covers 30 miles of Chicago design and Mies van der Rohe's IIT campus, Frank Lloyd Wright's Robie House and several other stops.
Farnsworth House (4.5 hours) - the famous glass house along the bank of the Fox River—is one of the world’s great architectural masterpieces, designed by Mies van der Rohe and completed in 1951.
FLW by Bus (4 hours) - Discover the neighborhood where Wright's famed Prairie Style of architecture evolved. The tour includes bus transportation to and from Oak Park with commentary, a one-hour interior tour of Wright’s Home and Studio and a walking tour of the Frank Lloyd Wright Historic District.
Sacred Spaces (90 minutes) - Chicago's downtown is home to a number of striking and architecturally significant houses of worship. Visit several of these sites, including "the tallest church in the world"—a skyscraper building specifically designed for multiple functions including worship and commercial office space.
Old & New (2 hours) - Explore Chicago architecture from the 1870s to the present while examining the intersections of streets, styles and cultures of our history. We’ll view many different architectural styles and examine how they have become essential elements of Chicago’s unique urban fabric.
Art Deco: Downtown (2 hours) –Art Deco was a popular, modern style whose lavish materials and geometric ornament epitomized the prosperity and optimism of the Roaring 20s. See how the style enriches the soaring exteriors and opulent interiors of some of the city's most beautiful skyscrapers.
Chicago Modern (2 hours) - In the years following World War II, Chicago established itself as a world capital of Modern architecture. On this tour we examine many of the buildings that helped earn Chicago this reputation, from the elegant minimalism of Mies van der Rohe’s Federal Center to the brawny expressiveness of the Richard J. Daley Center.
Historic Skyscrapers (2 hours) – Step back in time to the late 1800s and explore how Chicago went from a city devastated by a great fire to a leader in skyscraper engineering and design.
Treasures of Culture and Commerce - (2 hours) Learn about the great late 19th— and early 20th—century architectural landmarks of Michigan Ave. and State St., ranging from museums to department stores, skyscrapers to concert halls, including the Reliance Building, the Sullivan Center and the Chicago Cultural Center. Highlights include interiors of dazzling beauty and startling originality.