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Architecture, Chicago

Chicago, Illinois, United States, North America: the better known city landmarks are the two

Chicago's First Lady

Wacker Drive at Michigan Avenue
Chicago , Illinois
Tel: 847 358 1330

Chicago Architecture Foundation

224 S. Michigan Avenue
Chicago , Illinois
Tel: 312 922 3432

Chicago Neighborhood Tours

Chicago , Illinois
Tel: 312 742 1190

Chicago Trolley Charters

Chicago , Illinois
Tel: 773 648 5000

Frank Lloyd Wright Preservation Trust

931 Chicago Avenue
Chicago , Illinois
Tel: 708 848 1976's insider take:

The downtown Loop is a living museum of beautiful and significant buildings. Two great periods of innovation mark Chicago's architecture. The first followed the 1871 fire, when young architects including Louis Sullivan and Daniel Burnham rebuilt the city with modern "skyscrapers." The second began after WWII, when Mies Van der Rohe's International Style had its heyday with such buildings as the Lake Shore Drive Apartments and Crown Hall.

The best way to appreciate the city's fabulous skyline is by boat. From a 90-minute river cruise aboard Chicago's First Lady, you can see the landmark IBM Plaza building, designed by Mies van der Rohe, and Marina City, built in the 1960s by Bertrand Goldberg, with the maxim "there are no straight lines in nature." Its two round, 61-story towers, known as "the corncobs," are Chicago architectural icons.

The Chicago Architecture Foundation runs a gazillion bus, bike, river, and walking tours. All are led by volunteers, and no reservations are required for walking tours. Many depart from the CAF's storefront across Michigan Avenue from the Art Institute. Chicago Neighborhood Tours offer an up-close-and-personal look at the city's local tapestry. Chicago Trolley Charters stop at all the downtown attractions. Another don't-miss: A guided tour of Frank Lloyd Wright's home and studio, conducted by the Frank Lloyd Wright Preservation Trust.

Information may have changed since the date of publication. Please confirm details with individual establishments before planning your trip.