1893 World’s Fair Tour with Bars

World's Columbian Exposition captures imaginations more than 120 years later

The 1893 World’s Fair Tour with Bars digs into how and why the World’s Columbian Exposition still captures imaginations more than 120 years later. Unlike other Chicago World’s Fair tours or Devil in the White City tours, which likely revolve around facts and trivia, you’ll dig deeper on this historic walking tour.

1893 WORLD’S FAIR TOUR DETAILS

On this fun and insightful historic architecture walking tour, you’ll venture into beautiful architectural spaces from the era of the 1893 World’s Fair. You will play a few thoughtfully designed games, like visual scavenger hunts. Along with guide commentary, your professional tour guide will show you on shared iPads material from archives and photographs that illuminate these festivities.

This downtown Chicago walking tour visits some of the few remaining and spectacular buildings from the time of the 1893 World’s Fair. The fairgrounds themselves were south of downtown, where today very little remains intact from the fair. You can best see the impact of the fair right in downtown Chicago. Here the architecture and landscape still show the World’s Fair imprint even today, nearly 125 years later. And beyond just looking at buildings from outside, our mostly indoor walking tour sees the beauty of architectural details within.

On this fun and educational walking tour, you will eat a couple light snacks (we used to call this a “food tour” but have minimized the food, just fyi in case you’re reading reviews on Yelp or TripAdvisor). Plus, you can opt to get drinks (on you), too!

Did you read the Devil in the White City book? If you haven’t, our 1893 World’s Fair Tour gives a synopsis of the changes in technology and culture that this major event introduced. If you did read the book, know that this tour will take your understanding of the World’s Columbian Exposition to the next level. And for the record, this architecture tour does not delve into the sensationalist serial killer part of the story as we want to focus on the dramatic changes happening to American culture around the turn of the century.

You can think of this 3-hour-long Chicago architecture walking tour as being 7% outdoors, 95% indoors, 20% clue-based games and visual scavenger hunts, 10% drinking time, and 100% awesome historical tour time. We know the math doesn’t add up – we hope you get the idea!

WHY BOOK THIS ARCHITECTURE WALKING TOUR WITH CHICAGO DETOURS?

Who wants to listen to a volunteer tour docent rambling a bunch of memorized dates and names? Not us! Our expert tour guides are highly trained, smart, fun and passionate about Chicago architecture and history.

In business since 2010, we are proud to be a top-rated Chicago tour company with five-stars on Yelp and TripAdvisor. Many of our Chicago architecture walking tours integrate historic bars, food, and music history. We hope you’ll join us to explore stories and places locals don’t even know, both downtown and in Chicago neighborhoods!

With just intermittent walks outside, the 1893 World’s Fair Tour makes for a great walking tour in all seasons.

Got a time conflict? Consider our Historic Chicago Walking Bar Tour.

This Chicago architecture tour is also available as a private tour, great for families or as a corporate team-building event.

Length

3 Hours

Distance

.9 Miles

Cost

$40
  • Days & Times
  • Monday
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  • Tuesday
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  • Wednesday
    5:45pm
  • Thursday
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  • Friday
    1:00pm
  • Saturday
    4:00pm
  • Sunday
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Highlights

  • Colorful mosaics in a hotel built for the 1893 World’s Fair
  • The sweeping grand lobby of the Auditorium Building
  • Ride one of the downtown's last human-operated elevators
  • Discover a secret building hidden in an alley
  • See the Monadnock Building, a landmark early skyscraper
  • The opulent Chicago Athletic Association Hotel, once an exclusive men’s club

Stories & Ideas

  • The rapid cultural changes at the turn of the century
  • The 1893 Fair’s array of foods and even food sculpture
  • Parlor songs of the past
  • The roots of consumer culture and advertising
  • Amusements on the Midway at the 1893 World’s Fair

Tour Includes

  • Professional tour guide commentary
  • Shared iPads with historic photos
  • Light snacks
  • Game prizes and gifts
 

Reservation Does Not Include:

  • Drinks: At the tour meeting spot, we welcome you to get a drink at the bar before check-in. To streamline the tour, we take your order and cash for your second drink at check-in ($6 for beer, $8 for wine, includes gratuity). Our tour ends inside a building with several drinking options for after the tour.
  • Tour guide gratuity: Not included.
  • Dietary restrictions: two small snacks are included. We may be able to accommodate vegetarians. If you are gluten-free, dairy-free, or have other allergies, we cannot make substitutions.
 

Tour Reviews

If you're looking for an interesting Chicago history tour with great, engaging content, give the Chicago Detours 1893 World's Fair Walking Tour a go. It's a nice mix of history, culture, food, and fun.
Nicole W.

Tour Meeting Spot

  • Tour starts in the bar lobby at the north end of the Congress Plaza Hotel, 520 S. Michigan Ave.
  • Map is necessary to locate tour meeting point.
  • Tour ends at the Chicago Athletic Association Hotel, 12 S. Michigan Ave.

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