Chicago Trolley and Double Decker Co. Tour Review – Landmarks, Lights and Sights

Double Decker Bus. Photo: Eucarol Juarez

After having to postpone my city outing on the Chicago Trolley and Double Decker Co. tour due to rain several days ago, I was excited to enjoy a summer day out sightseeing this last week.

View of the city from the double decker bus. Photo: Eucarol Juarez

Celebrating 25 years as Chicago’s original Hop-on Hop-off tour, Chicago Trolley & Double Decker Co. with tickets ranging from one to three days, it includes Chicago Trolley’s Downtown Tour, with 14 Hop-on Hop-off stops throughout downtown Chicago and River North, the Wrigley Field/Lincoln Park Zoo Route and the Night Tour. Chicago Trolley also offers the Land, Lake and River Package a combination of the Downtown Tour with the Mercury Skyline Cruises boat tour.

My guest and I arrived at the Water Tower stop to begin our tour. Upon arrival, we received our tickets and an official guide book/ map which included all of the 14 stops in the Downtown Tour along with coupons and special offers to some of the attractions and local shops. As we waited for a bus to hop on, the guides were friendly and made conversation about our day. Offering 2 levels for seating, we opted for the upper deck which is open air and offered the best views for pictures, rather than the lower deck.

The Chicago River. Photo: Eucarol Juarez

The tours begin at Stop 1-Millennium Park, which then move south over the Michigan Avenue Bridge to the Art Institute of Chicago and Hilton Chicago. The tour continues south to Museum Campus stopping by the Adler Planetarium, Field Museum and Shedd Aquarium. Looping north, the tour continues to the newest stop, Buckingham Fountain then Sheraton Hotel, Navy Pier and the Chicago Theater. Taking in all of the sights, the tour travels up the Magnificent Mile and stops at Water Tower Place, the Hancock Tower, the Hard Rock Café-the only River North stop and Skydeck at the Willis Tower.

Holy Name Cathedral. Photo: Eucarol Juarez

As we made our way through the city, Justin, our tour guide, gave us the history and fun facts of the buildings and streets we passed. Such as how Holy Name Cathedral is made from the same stones as the Water Tower. Or that the Merchandise Mart requires 4 full-time postal carriers to deliver the daily mail.  

Photo: Corey Goddeyne

The Night Tour operates differently from the daytime tour. It starts at 7 pm at Millennium Park and you can hop on or off at any designated stops but only makes one Downtown loop and ends at the starting location.  For the tour I was on, almost all got on at the starting location and those who got off at a designated spot did not hop back on.

View from Museum Campus. Photo: Corey Goddeyne

This tour offers a breathtaking cityscape of lights. Our tour guide, whose name I did not catch also gave us historical facts and tidbits about the landmarks we passed. She also made sure to have the driver stop by Buckingham Fountain and along the Museum Campus for an opportunity to take pictures from the bus which was great since it did not look like many of us were planning on hopping off.

Buckingham Fountain. Photo: Corey Goddeyne

The Chicago Trolley and Double Decker Tours are a great way to learn and take in the views of the city. The tour guides are friendly and knowledgeable and it is great for all ages.  I had a great time and a bonus was getting some great photographs of the city.

The Chicago Theatre. Photo: Corey Goddeyne

Tickets and packages ($26 – $68) are available online at ChicagoTrolley website or in-person at a Chicago Trolley kiosk at any of their 14 Downtown Tour stops.

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