Explore Chicago with a friendly, knowledgeable local tour guide for an insider’s look at the Windy City. With more than 200 enthusiastic volunteers waiting to share their passion and expertise, Chicago Greeter Tours is a great way to learn about the various aspects of the city including landmarks, eateries, shops, attractions and so much more.
Guests may be partnered with greeters from various backgrounds, walks of life and neighborhoods, ensuring that the experience is given from a unique, insider’s perspective. Visitors specify which neighborhoods they are interested in as well as their language preferences. Then they are matched with Greeters who can help them explore the city based on their special interests.
Visitors to Chicago and new residents will find that Greeter Tours provide them with something a bit less touristy and more off-the-beaten-path. It’s like having a new “friend” to help guests get the most out of their stay in Chicago. Chicago Greeter Tours has been a free service provided by Choose Chicago since 2002 for visitors to discover the unlimited potential that the city has to offer.
Types of Chicago Greeter Tours
Greeter Tours are comprised of a greeter and up to six visitors who gather at the Chicago Cultural Center to start their adventure. Tours may cover specific neighborhoods (more than 25 are available) as requested by the visitor and may be comprised of walking, buses or trains as required. Tours usually last for between 2 and 4 hours while Greeters share their information and knowledge about the city.
InstaGreeter Tours function for visitors who are making last minute plans. Those who want a spur-of-the-moment, quick perspective on the city can join in on a group without advanced notice. These groups meet seasonally at various areas of the city and last for just an hour at a time.
What You’ll See on a Chicago Greeter Tour
Each 2-4-hour greeter tour is different, based on specific interests and individualized knowledge of the Greeter as well as the desires of the visitors. Chicago has 77 distinct communities where locals provide free guided tours that include information about diverse cultural communities, hidden treasures, local landmarks, restaurants, and much more as neighborhoods are explored. From Greektown to Downtown, from Lincoln Park to Wicker Park, Chicago Greeters can guide visitors through the inner-workings of the city.
InstaGreeter impromptu tours are offered on weekends and provide on-the-spot, hour-long walking tours of downtown, Uptown and Hyde Park, depending on the season. These sites and landmarks may be included in the tour:
- Millennium Park and Cloud Gate sculpture—“The Bean”
- Chicago Cultural Center
- Chicago Riverwalk
- Bridgehouse Museum Plaza
- Michigan Avenue
- The Loop
- Grant Park and Buckingham Fountain
Chicago Greeter Tours Services
Chicago Greeter Tours offers a free service to match visitors with guides who present sightseeing tours to the public.
Chicago Greeter Tours Timing
Chicago Greeter Tours functions all throughout the year. Tours typically last between one and four hours and may be scheduled based upon individual needs and availability.
Chicago Greeter Tours Considerations
Things to know as you make use of Chicago Greeter Tours services:
- To schedule a 2-4 hour guided visit of Chicago, register at least 10 business days in advance of the date of the tour.
- Tours may be requested in more than 25 neighborhoods to cover over 40 different interest areas, including: family friendly, architectural highlights, foodie fun, ethnic Chicago and much more.
- Greeter Tours can accommodate up to 6 guests.
- Tours may combine walking, buses or trains to orient guests to the safety and efficiency of Chicago’s public transportation system.
- For a last-minute booking, InstaGreeter services can offer a free hour-long guided walking tour of the downtown area on weekends. No registration is needed.
- Greeter Tours depart from the Chicago Greeter desk in the Chicago Culture Center lob at 77 E Randolph Street.
- Meeting places and times for InstaGreeter tours vary and can be found online.
- Greeter Volunteers are provided with basic training, but their best qualities are how friendly and enthusiastic they are about their Chicago home.
- Services are offered in 10 languages and covers more than 25 neighborhoods.
- Tours are family friendly and may include children as accompanied by adults. Guests should let the greeter know upon registration that the tour should be family friendly.
- Parking is available near Chicago Cultural Center in parking lots and garages. Spot Hero is a convenient way to find a nearby spot.
Book a Chicago Greeter Tour
Visitors must register online at least 10 business days in advance for a Greeter Tour. InstaGreeter Tours do not require advance booking.
Visitors must register online at least 10 business days in advance for a Greeter Tour. Online bookings show weekly availability including tour times as well as revealing tours that are already sold out. Pay for your tour in advance with a credit card and receive an email with all of the information you need about where and when tours meet as well as what to expect. InstaGreeter Tours do not require advance booking.