Chicago Travel Tips and Historic Research
Inspired to learn more about Chicago architecture or just need to figure out things to do here during your visit? These Chicago travel tips will help you connect with the city’s architecture, history and culture, from the past to today. Whether you’re a local or a visitor, we hope these Chicago travel tips will help you explore Chicago neighborhoods, museums and attractions. We also have included guidance on conducting historic research.
Interact with the City – Listen, Watch, Play Here
Interactive Maps of Chicago:
Chicago World’s Fair – Tour a 3-d map of the 1893 fairgrounds
The Great Chicago Fire – Watch it take over the city
Chicago History Map – Click on sites for historic overviews
Chicago Pedway Map – Not interactive, but helpful!
Explore Chicago – Go Here
Overlooked Chicago Attractions
Historic Pullman – Roots of railroad history on the South side (free)
National Museum of Mexican Art – It’s all in the name, and free (free)
Pop-Up Galleries in the Loop – Exhibits in vacant storefronts downtown (free)
Oriental Institute – Ancient Near/Middle East museum (free)
DuSable Museum of African-American History – African-American history and culture
Museum of Contemporary Art – Engaging center of contemporary art
Chicago Jazz Magazine – For Chicago blues and jazz
The Reader – Our local alternative weekly
Metromix – Published through the Chicago Tribune
The Local Tourist – Great for neighborhood happenings
Andersonville – Small-town feel
Bridgeport – Historically working class
Bucktown/Wicker Park – Hip for shopping and dining. (Tour this neighborhood with us).
Chinatown – A cultural microcosm
Hyde Park – University of Chicago campus area
Choose Chicago Guide to Chicago Neighborhoods – Various neighborhoods
Where to Stay in Chicago – Hotels and B&B’s
Andersonville Guesthouse – Condo rentals great for families or group getaways
Cat’s Cradle – High-end rooms, historic house on the North side
Freehand Chicago – Hostel-inspired shared rooms & amenities, with private rooms
Ray’s Bucktown B&B – Homey and in a hip neighborhood, cooked to order breakfast
Wicker Park Inn – Comfy rooms, also apartment rentals
Chicago Travel Tips – Etcetera
Built in Chicago – Local start-ups
Technori – Tech-focused Chicago start-ups
Kate Joyce Photography – Architectural and documentary photographer
Parking with Spothero – Discounted parking
Millennium Garages – You discount parking vouchers when you come on a tour with us
Tour Guides in Europe – Best tour guides for travel outside Chicago
Chicago Traveler – Has the most comprehensive listing of things to do in Chicago.
Learn About Chicago – Research Here
Chicago Detours Architecture and History Blog – Regular posts about our buildings, history, & culture
Encyclopedia of Chicago – Photos, maps, and overviews of anything
Forgotten Chicago – A blog about overlooked whatnots
Jazz History Resources – Great compilation of books
The Chicago “L” – Trains, trains, and trains
The Man on Five – Blog full of historic photos and images from Chicago’s history
Food & Drinks Downtown
Lunch at Pastoral – Artisan sandwiches and yummy local products
Frozen Kefir at Starfruit – Kefir yogurt a.k.a. “lovechild of taste and nutrition”
Drinks at Monk’s Pub – Tossing peanut shells on the floor since 1969
Beer and Brats Dinner at the Berghoff – Displaying Chicago’s first liquor license. (Visit it on our 1893 World’s Fair Tour).
Italian Village – Historic, huge, and family-owned. (Hear its history on our Loop Interior Architecture Walking Tour).
Whimsical Candy – Fun, artisan candy store.
Lookingglass Theatre – Recipient of Regional Tony Award.
Goodman Theater – Musicals and dramas, since 1925.
Hot Tix/Chicago League of Theatres – Half-price theatre tix up to 6 days in advance
Other Chicago Tour Companies
Odyssey Cruises – Evening dinner tours on the lake
Absolutely Segway – Stranger things have been done
City Running Tours – See the city while jogging!
Urban Kayaks – Paddle your way down the Chicago River