Most people don’t know that there’s more to Chicago than deep dish! Pizza enthusiasts from anywhere in the world (including local Chicagoans) will enjoy feasting on traditional and unique pies of various shapes, sizes, and styles. Pizza City USA was founded by Steve Dolinsky who has won 13 James Beard Awards and has become well-known name on the food scene in Chicago and nationwide. These tours are based on the book written by Dolinsky: Pizza City USA.
Led by professional Dough-Cents (get it? Docents!) pizza tours are provided throughout the Windy City, visiting various pizza partners that may include D’Amato’s Bakery (Sicilian), Bonci (Roman), Craft Pizza (Artisan), Dante’s Pizzeria (Slice), Forno Rosso (Neapolitan), Labriola (Deep-dish) and others.
Types of Pizza City USA Tours
A variety of tours may be scheduled with Pizza City USA to enjoy several Chicago slices throughout the city, including:
- Walking tours are the most common type of tour offered by Pizza City USA, whether through the West Loop neighborhood, Wicker Park & Bucktown, or other neighborhoods. Some experiences may include kitchen tours, in-depth pizza analysis and other perks.
- Bus tours typically happen each weekend for an enjoyable, non-walking experience that is particularly welcome on cold winter days in the windy city. These tours usually visit four pizzerias in a different neighborhood each week.
- Pizza Crawls are a fun way to spend an evening grabbing a slice (or a square!) starting at the current pizza pop-up kiosk inside the Revival Food Hall on Clark Street.
- Private events are able to be custom curated based on the needs of the group.
What You’ll See on a Pizza City USA Food Tour
With a Pizza City USA tour, you have several options for neighborhoods you’re likely to see, depending on which tour you choose. Walking tours encompass the West Loop or Wicker Park & Bucktown (just a 3-ish miles north of downtown Chicago), while bus tours may hit any of a number of neighborhoods, depending on the particular week.
Pizza City USA Services
Standard walking tours and bus tours including food (but typically not beverages) are offered by Pizza City USA.
Private tours may be custom curated for corporate events, parties, family celebrations and more. Private walking tours are preferably limited to 16 guests, while bus tours may accommodate 24 guests, but alternative arrangements can be made for larger groups.
Pizza City USA Tour Timing
Tours usually last about 3 to 3 ½ hours but may run late as some restaurants may be busy at certain times. It’s wise to allow extra time at the end of a tour, just in case.
Tours typically meet for lunch on the weekends, except for the Pizza Crawl which is usually only scheduled once a month on a weekday evening.
Bus tours happen year-round, while walking tours are only scheduled during warmer weather—typically from May through October.
Pizza City USA Tour Considerations
Other information that you may be interested in about Pizza City USA:
- Pizza City USA requests that participants arrive at least 10 minutes early to make sure that tours begin on time.
- Soft drinks, beer and wine are not always included in ticket prices but may be available for purchase at individual restaurants. Check the company website for more details.
- Tours meet at different locations. Information is available on the website or upon booking.
- Ticket price sometimes includes a souvenir lanyard and discount badge. See the website or ask your guide for more details.
- Walking tours typically cover about 1 mile and participants should make sure to wear comfortable shoes.
- Pizza tours are not recommended for children under the age of 9 years old. Tickets are not discounted for children.
- Tours proceed regardless of the weather; guests should dress appropriately.
- Tours usually end about ½ mile from where they began, making it easy for participants to walk back to their cars or catch public transportation.
- Bus tours use chartered 25-seat buses that are equipped with climate control and complimentary water bottles.
- Unfortunately, tours are not 100% wheelchair accessible.
- Participants are provided with at least one slice of pizza at east establishment visited. To-go containers are provided as many people fill up and want to take some home.
- Most pizzerias make restrooms available to customers.
- Bus tours accommodate 24 passengers. Walking tours will include up to 16 people per tour.
- Cameras are allowed and encouraged.
- Tours are conducted only in English.
- Most pizzerias are not able to accommodate dietary restrictions. Gluten or dairy free pizzas may be available at certain locations.
For other Pizza tour options throughout the city, consider booking with Chicago Pizza Tours.
Book a Pizza City USA Tour
Tickets for Pizza City USA should be purchased in advance online. Tours often sell out. Booking is easy 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.