Chicago Crime Tours
Until relatively recently, notorious mobsters like Al Capone and John Dillinger were the characters who may have come to mind when someone mentioned the Windy City. Chicago Crime Tours takes visitors on a bus tour highlighting these gangsters' lives. The route weaves across the city, highlighting memorable crime scenes and educating travelers on Chicago history from the 19th century to modern times. There is also a walking tour option that includes samples of the city's famous pizza.
Recent reviews of the tour frequently mention how comfortable the air-conditioned bus is, which makes this excursion a great way to see Chicago on a hot summer day. Visitors also rave about the tour guides' willingness to engage with the group, and their general knowledge of crime history. There are three tour types to choose from: the Chicago Crime Tour, the Night Crimes Tour and the Crime & Pizza Walk.
Chicago Crime Tours picks up groups at the intersection of Pearson Street and Michigan Avenue, just off of northern Chicago's Magnificent Mile. The Crime & Pizza Walk starts at the Pizzeria Uno at 29 E. Ohio St. Both points are most easily accessible from the Red Line's Grand station, part of the L public transit system. Tours depart several times during the day (for all ages) and the night tour operates most evenings at 8 p.m. (must be 21 years or older). Tickets are $39.95 for the Chicago Crime Tour, $45 for the Night Crimes Tour and $50 for the Crime & Pizza Walk. Tickets can be purchased online, over the phone or from a guide at the bus. For additional information or to book tickets, head to the company's website.
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#1 Grant Park and Buckingham Fountain
Often referred to as "Chicago's front yard," Grant Park is a 319-acre swath of green space that starts at the eastern edge of the Loop and stretches down to the northern fringes of the Near South Side. First-time visitors should plan on spending a fair amount of time in Grant Park: This is where you'll find several of Chicago's most popular things to do, including The Field Museum, the Art Institute of Chicago and Shedd Aquarium. (Millennium Park also rubs elbows with the northwest corner of Grant Park.) Baseball diamonds, flower gardens, walking paths and wide-open grassy terrain are available as well.
At the heart of Grant Park is Buckingham Fountain. One of the largest fountains in the world, this tiered water feature boasts 133 jets that shoot water as high as 150 feet into the air during 20-minute choreographed displays (which take place every hour on the hour between 9 a.m. and 10:35 p.m. from April to October). At night, the fountain's performance is accompanied by lights and music.
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