Public Tour FAQs



What is a Public Tour?

A tour is public when it is regularly scheduled and anyone can register for it. Public tours are different from Private Group Tours, where one person books for a private event and manages who is invited.

Walking Tour Schedule

A calendar on the Chicago Detours home page outlines the walking tour schedule. Sold-out tour dates will be indicated. Or go to the specific tour page under Public Tours.


Tour reservations can be changed up to 48 hours before the scheduled start time by calling us at 312-350-1131 or emailing us at [email protected] Reservations cannot be changed within 48 hours of the tour’s scheduled start time. For more information on our Reschedule/Cancellation Policy, read below.

Sold Out Walking Or Bus Tour

You can register to be added to a wait-list, or we hope you can book another time!


Chicago walking tours and bus tours available for private groups big or small. See our Private Group Tours and our Private Tours FAQs.


Walking Length

Tours vary in length. The Loop Interior Architecture Walking Tour, for example, is 2 hours, while the Historic Chicago Bar Walking Tour is 2 hours and 30 minutes. See specific tour pages for details.


In order to allow maximum time for looking at architecture and engaging with tour guide commentary, our walking tours do not travel very far. The maximum distance they cover is 1.2 mile within 2.5 hours. Most tours have a distance of about half a mile, or a kilometer.

Please be prepared to walk or stand for the tour duration, though most tours have moments to sit.

Bar Drinks

Why don’t we include the drinks in the Historic Chicago Bar Tour price? Because we want to give non-drinkers the option of soda and water, and give drinkers the choice between wine or beer. These are all at different price points and paid for in cash at the start of the tour. Just fyi, while this could be called a pub crawl, it’s definitely an educational pub crawl.


Most of our public walking tours have stairs involved. Sometimes an elevator is an option and sometimes it is not. Please call us at 312-350-1131 if you have questions regarding accessibility.

Baby Strollers

Active parents with strollers can come on our walking tours, which involve some flights of stairs.

Children on Tours

We welcome kids, but adults will have a better time! We let you judge whether your child is interested in architecture and history for the Loop Interior Architecture Walking Tour or the Architecture Walking Tour for Design Lovers. Because it can be the most welcoming to children, the Loop Interior Architecture Tour has a discounted child rate for youth age 17 and under.

The Historic Chicago Bar Walking Tour and 1893 World’s Fair Tour both enter into bars and can be appropriate for teens, age 16 and up. Soda or water are beverage options for these tour. The venues we enter are restaurants, which means they do not need to be 21 or over.

Can I Wait to Book?

Technically you can book tours up to 30 minutes before the tour starts. But our walking tours to the public do sell out, for both public or for large private group events, so we advise you to book at least two days in advance.


Please come 10-15 minutes early. We start and finish at different locations so please look at the individual tour pages and consult the tour confirmation email that you received when you booked the tour.

Before the Tour

We advise a bathroom break before the tour begins. While we are not outside for most of the duration of our Chicago walking tours, please come prepared, i.e. water, umbrella.


If you are driving, Chicago Detours offers our guests a special discounted rate for parking at the Grant Park North Garage, accessible from Michigan Avenue at Randolph Street (directions here). Rate is $15 ($38 value), valid up to 12 hours. Upon check-in for the tour, ask the tour guide for a voucher for the discounted rate. If you would like to pre-purchase your parking, go to Millennium Garages for additional discounted parking options.



Rain or shine we go! No refunds. In the case of serious or threatening conditions, we’ll call you.

Change/Cancel Your Walking Tour

When you purchase a tour through Chicago Detours, you are purchasing a reserved spot on one of our walking tours. This reservation entitles you to a spot on that walking tour, which will leave at the stated time and date. All sales are final. That means we do not grant refunds for any reason at all. Tours promptly leave at the scheduled departure time and date, so don’t be late!

We are willing to reschedule reservations in some circumstances. When you reserve space on a tour, you take up a spot that could be filled by someone else. If you try to reschedule at the last minute, we probably can’t sell your spot. Therefore, we only allow customers to reschedule a reservation if they notify us more than 48 hours before the start of their tour.

We can only offer times and dates where we have open slots for additional reservations, and we make no guarantee that we can find an appropriate replacement tour date. If acts of nature prevent us from providing a tour at the scheduled time, we will arrange for a new time and date. Please do not hesitate to contact us if you have any questions or concerns about our policy.



Please no video or audio recording devices. Minimal note-taking is permitted. Photography during tour is welcome – but don’t get left behind!


Tips are standard with tour guides, and we give half of tour gratuities to non-profit organizations for specific programs that develop resources in culture, history and design for the community. See our current and past community initiatives.


The Loop Interior Architecture Tour is offered in Spanish on Fridays and Saturdays at 12pm. All other public tours are in English. For private bookings, we have guides that speak English, Italian, French, and Spanish.