Includes Some of the Midwest - 15 Days and 14 Nights
Usually from a Saturday through a third Saturday.
Chicago was once the 2nd largest city in the US. Since 1980, it has been the 3rd largest city behind New York City and Los Angeles. Its museums are often second to only those in New York City or Washington, DC. One should allow at least one day for several of the museums. The buildings alone are monuments to architectural achievements.
Chicago tours are offered only during the summer when the weather is generally warm and pleasant.
Chicago tours cover over 2,000 miles/3,219 kilometers. This also covers several cities and sites. If a person wants to make his/her own transportation plans, such as booking a flight, the tour is shortened by 4 days. We have several tours and admissions to pay third party vendors whom we will need to contact to find out the latest prices. Thus, the pricing will need to be calculated. Allow one week for any quotes. Unless stated, all meals are separate.
Day 1 - Saturday
- Depart from Houston at 8:00 AM.
- Drive approximately 244 miles/393 kilometers.
- Arrive in Shreveport, Louisiana for lunch between 12:30 – 2:00 PM.
- Drive approximately 345 miles/555 kilometers to Memphis, Tennessee.
- Arrive by 8:00 PM and spend the night in Memphis, Tennessee.
Day 2 - Sunday
- Tour Memphis, Tennessee in the morning.
- Depart Memphis, Tennessee at 1:00 PM.
- Drive approximately 285 miles/459 kilometers to St. Louis, Missouri.
- Arrive by 6:00 PM and spend the night in St. Louis.
Day 3 - Monday
- Tour St. Louis, Missouri in the morning.
- Depart St. Louis, Missouri at 1:00 PM.
- Drive approximately 301 miles/484 kilometers to Chicago, Illinois.
- Arrive by 7:00 PM in Chicago, Illinois.
Day 4 - Tuesday
- Go to the 103rd floor Skydeck of the Willis (formerly Sears) Tower in the morning. It was built in 1973. This is the tallest building in the US and western hemisphere. It is 1,353 feet high. One can see 40 to 50 miles on a clear day over 4 states. Stand on the glass Ledge on the 103rd floor and look directly beneath to the ground. Museum quality exhibits are on display about Chicago’s history.
- Tour Lincoln Park Zoo in the afternoon.
- Tour the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago in the evening.
Day 5 - Wednesday
- Tour the Shedd Aquarium in the morning and early afternoon. Opened in 1929. See the dolphin show. This is one of the largest aquariums in the world.
- Take an architectural boat ride on the Chicago River in the late afternoon. Chicago has the second-most skyscrapers after New York City and arguably the best skyline in the US.
Day 6 - Thursday
- Free day to shop, tour, relax, go to the beach, meet friends, or attend a Chicago Cubs baseball game in world-famous Wrigley Field depending on the baseball schedule. Wrigley Field was built in 1914 and is the second oldest ballpark in the US after Fenway Park in Boston. Wrigley Field was featured in the 1980 movie “The Blues Brothers.”
- Dinner at Gulliver’s Pizza & Pub. It opened in 1965. This is one of the most famous pizzerias in the world renown for its deep-dish pan pizza. The restaurant is full of antiques and stained-glass.
Day 7 - Friday
- Tour the Adler Planetarium. Found in 1930.
- Go to the 1869 Water Tower that is the only survivor of the 1871 fire that destroyed Chicago.
- Visit the 74-story tall Water Tower Place to shop. It was built in 1975.
Day 8 - Saturday
- Tour the Art Institute of Chicago. It was found in 1879 and it has been at its present site since 1893. It is both a school and museum. It has more than 300,000 works and is among the 3 best art museums in the US
Day 9 - Sunday
- Tour the Field Museum. The Field Museum was created in 1893. Its current building is from 1921. It is one of the finest museums of anthropology, botany, geology, paleontology, and zoology in the nation.
- Walk through Grant Park, formerly Lake Park, in the late afternoon.
- Tour the Museum of Science and Industry. Built in 1893 for the World’s Fair known as the Columbian Exposition. This museum may be the second greatest in the US to only the Smithsonian in Washington, DC.
Day 10 - Monday
- Tour the Chicago History Museum. It was found in 1856.
- Attend a movie in the 1929 Music Box Theatre. This is the most famous old-time movie palace still in operation in central Chicago.
Day 11 - Tuesday
- Tour the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago.
Day 12 - Wednesday
- Free day to shop, tour, relax, go to the beach, meet friends, or attend a Chicago Cubs baseball game depending on the baseball schedule.
Day 13 - Thursday
- Depart Chicago at 9:00 AM.
- Drive approximately 202 miles/325 kilometers to Springfield, Illinois.
- Arrive by 12:30 PM in Springfield, Illinois. Have lunch, tour the state capital, and spend the night.
Day 14 - Friday
- Depart Springfield, Illinois at 9:00 AM.
- Drive approximately 501 miles/806 kilometers to Little Rock, Arkansas. Stop somewhere along the way for lunch.
- Arrive by 6:00 PM and spend the night in Little Rock, Arkansas. Little Rock is the state capital.
Day 15 - Saturday
- Tour Little Rock, Arkansas in the morning.
- Depart Little Rock, Arkansas by 12:00 PM.
- Drive approximately 144 miles/232 kilometers to Texarkana, Arkansas or Texas.
- Stop in Texarkana for lunch between 2:30 and 4:00 PM.
- Drive approximately 294 miles/473 kilometers to Houston.
- Arrive by 9:00 PM in Houston.
- 1 night in Memphis, Tennessee.
- 1 night in St. Louis, Missouri.
- 10 nights in Chicago, Illinois.
- 1 night in Springfield, Illinois.
- 1 night in Little Rock, Arkansas.
Breakfast is included in St. Louis and Springfield.
Dinner is included in St. Louis and Springfield.
Dinner is included on Day 6 - Thursday at Gulliver's Pizzeria.
Suggestions for Night Activities
- Go to Navy Pier with its amusements. Built in 1914, it was redesigned as an entertainment center in the 1990s. It is Chicago’s #1 tourist attraction. In July and August, on Wednesdays at 9:30 PM and Saturdays at 10:15 PM, you will see a fireworks show.
- Attend a free concert at the Jay Pritzker Pavilion in Millennium Park. It opened in 2004.
- Attend a Chicago White Sox baseball game.
- Watch Buckingham Fountain’s 20-minute light and music show in Grant Park at either 8:00 or 9:00 PM. Built in 1927, it is one of the largest fountains in the world.
- Enjoy a comedy show at Second City in Old Town. It has been around since 1959. This is one of the most famous clubs in the US for standup comics and has been a foundation for many of television’s Saturday Night Live’s performers. It operates Tuesday through Sunday at 8:00 PM. It has a dinner package, also.
- Attend a live performance at Steppenwolf Theatre, Goodman Theatre, and or Victory Gardens Theater. These are all famous regional theaters that have had Tony-award winning productions. Victory Gardens Theater was the former Biograph Theater, where Public Enemy #1, John Dillinger, was killed in 1934. It was built in 1914.
- Take an evening curise along the Chicago River and see the glowing Chicago Tribune building. The Chicago Tribune Tower was completed in 1925.
- Eat dinner at the Walnut Room on the 7th floor in the downtown Macy’s that used to be Marshall Field’s. Opened in 1907, it is a landmark for dining in Chicago. Macy’s is one of the largest department stores in the world. It stays open until 6:00 PM on Sunday, 8:00 PM on Monday through Thursday, 9:00 PM on Friday, 10:00 PM on Saturday. One may also enjoy purchasing some Frango mints.
Notes for Customization of This Tour
- This tour can be shortened by one or two days by eliminating touring:
- Memphis and
- St. Louis
- This tour can be lengthened by one or two days by adding Milwaukee and the surrounding area.
- This tour can be the same length and have the Milwaukee area substituted for Memphis and St. Louis.