Starting out as a family business more than 100 years, Gray Line Tours has been providing travel experiences to visitors from all over the world, giving insights in the magnificent city of Chicago. Providing fun and educational sightseeing tours led by live tour guides, Gray Line allows guests to enjoy city views through historical bus tours, river boat tours, combined land & river tours—sometimes even adding in a slice of deep dish, Chicago-style pizza!
From the heart of the Loop up the Magnificent Mile, Gray Line’s fully narrated sightseeing bus tours take guests through historic neighborhoods on the north and south sides of Chicago. Comprehensive tours of the city bring guests closer in, to feel the heartbeat of the Windy City.
Types of Gray Line Tours
Bus Tours are Gray Line’s specialty, allowing for tourists to see the best of Chicago in a short amount of time. Visit sites on the lakefront including museums, churches, sports stadiums, parks, and so much more.
Gray Line’s combined land tour and river boat cruise gives guests the best of both worlds. This extended tour allows guests to spend a couple of hours on the bus that heads to the North Side and South Side business and residential districts. Guests then transfer to the river, aboard a floating tour vessel that runs in partnership with Chicago Line Cruises.
For Chicago-style tours that include pizza, guests should plan to enjoy a personal pizza (deep dish or thin crust) and a beverage from a local pub (such as Exchequer). Pizza, drink, tax and tip are included in the tour price.
What You’ll See on a Gray Line Tour
Depending on the particular tour chosen, Gray Line Tours may visit the North or South side business districts (sometimes both), drive along Lake Michigan for scenic views, stop at the Museum Campus, or enjoy Chicago’s three most famous parks: Lincoln Park, Washington Park and Grant Park.
The combined bus and river boat tour typically takes visitors on a bus tour to see Shedd Aquarium, Soldier Field, and various skyscrapers located in the Loop, then the river cruise gives a unique perspective of Chicago’s famous architecture and skyline.
Gray Line Tours Services
As part of Aries Charter Transportation, Gray Line Chicago provides transportation and sightseeing tours to Chicago’s top tourist attractions. Visitors can enjoy a bus tour for up to half a day, or make it unique by touring the city on a combined bus tour and river vessel cruise.
Gray Line (through Aries Charter) not only provides sightseeing tours but also accommodates transportation needs throughout the city, whether shuttling from airports and field trips to moving groups (small or large—from 2-100s) for private events.
Gray Line’s bus fleet is standard and closed-topped. For views from open-topped, double decker buses, check out the hop-on-hop-off tours offered by Big Bus Tours.
Gray Line Tours Timing
From April through September Gray Line tours operate daily except for certain holidays. Special events downtown may affect tour availability and schedule—guests should check the schedule online or call ahead. Private charter buses may be available year-round.
Tours through Gray Line are comprehensive, often lasting from two hours to 5 ½ hours from start to finish. Some of the tours may include lunch.
Gray Line Tours Considerations
Information to help you answer questions about Gray Line Tour prior to booking:
- Tours are given in English with a live guide.
- Most tours begin and end at Palmer House Hilton, where Gray Line holds an office.
- Check in at least 30 minutes prior to the scheduled time of tour departure at the Gray Line desk inside Feelings Gift Shop in the Palmer House Hotel (17 E. Monroe St.)
- Certain vehicles are ADA accessible. Call at last 48 hours in advance to confirm accessibility for specific tours.
- Group discounts are available for parties of 10 or more. Call for information.
- Tours typically run rain-or-shine. If a tour is cancelled due to inclement weather, guests may request an alternative tour date.
- Most tours booked through the Gray Line website are refundable at least 48 hours prior to departure (minus a service fee).
- Gratuities to tour guides are optional, depending on personal experience.
- Snacks and beverages are not provided during the tour, but may be available for purchase during a stop. Many guests like to bring food and beverages with them to enjoy while on the tour.
Book a Gray Line Tour
Tickets for Gray Line Tours should be purchased in advance online. 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.