Chicago's Built History
Dreams of famed architects create the Windy City skyline.
Did Frank Lloyd Wright know he forever changed the architectural climate of the Windy City when he built Robie House in Chicago’s Hyde Park? Did Louis Sullivan catch a prophetic glimpse of his exquisitely detailed exteriors (like the Carson Pirie Scott store) displayed in the Art Institute of Chicago and other museums worldwide? Likely, they dreamed of such things.
For visitors to Chicago, the works of these men — and others like them — continue to awe and inspire from the city’s skyline. Whether by foot, bike, bus or boat, a trip to any part of this city famous for its deep-dish pizza and jazz music must include an appreciation of its brilliant architecture.
Walking the city streets offers an up-close-and-personal view of the skyscrapers, such as Burnham and Root’s Rookery, and Holabird and Roche’s Marquette Building, which orever altered the Chicago skyline in the 19th century. Or, watch the architecture of the late 1800s morph into modern-day Chicago in a guided architectural overview tour.
Grab your bike and helmet to tour Chicago via the Bloomingdale Trail. This old railroad structure turned elevated linear park takes you along the historic boulevard with a natural scape designed by 19th-century landscape architects William LeBaron Jenney and Jens Jensen.
BUS AND TROLLY TOURS
Journey the path of early immigrants via a bus tour of the churches they commissioned Chicago architects
(such as Joseph Engelbert and Henry Schlacks) to design, reminding them of home. Or, sit atop an open-air bus to explore the architecture and history of five of the city’s multicultural neighborhoods. A trolley tour gives an insider’s view of how architects, leaders, developers and nature together shaped the city.
“ L” TRAIN TOURS
For those in town for but a quick visit, the elevated “L” train gives you the must-see architectural experience at a fast pace, including the Sears (Willis) Tower, John Hancock Center and more.