Architecture of Money and Power Financial District Walking Tour

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Event Overview

This walking tour in the heart of Chicago’s financial district will take you and your private group to discover opulent architecture and secret stories. We explore architectural interiors of bank and insurance buildings from the turn of the century and beyond. You’ll hear about the flamboyant characters of the past, including stories of both greed and generosity. We’ll visit what was the largest and most technologically advanced building of the 1930s, and consider the background of skyscrapers as a symbol of financial power. Architecture on this financial district walking tour will range from sleek art deco to glittering post-modern, with buildings constructed from the late 1800s into more present times. We’ll consider the roots of why bank buildings often look like temples. We’ll see ornate carved stone details and massive murals. Buildings include the Chicago Board of Trade, The Rookery, Union League Club, the Federal Center, Field Building and more. About 90% of this interior walking tour takes place inside, making it great for any time of year in Chicago. We also venture to the “back door” of the Board of Trade. Here a time-warp exists in the middle of downtown Chicago, with historic bars, an old school pizza joint, a pawn shop, and the rickety tracks of the El train. In keeping with Chicago Detours’ mission to explore stories and places locals don’t know, this tour will either tell lesser known stories behind famous buildings or take guests into buildings they might not normally notice right in the heart of the financial district.

Walking Tour Highlights

  • The art deco glamour of the Bank of America Building

  • Glittering architectural interiors of the post-modern 190 S. Lasalle Building

  • Frank Lloyd Wright’s opulent remodel of the Rookery

  • The Union League’s residential-inspired architecture

Stories and Ideas

  • A vibrant history of open outcry

  • The gorgeous building cursed with the worst bank collapses in American history

  • A surprising story of disappearing sculptures from Chicago Board of Trade

  • The armed militia of Northern Trust Bank The story of the eccentric self-made billionaire John D. MacArthur

MEETING POINT - We start INSIDE the street-level lobby of 39 S. LaSalle Street Please arrive 10 minutes in advance for check-in. Look for the guide with the name tag and clipboard. TOUR CHANGES - All sales are final. Changes are welcome at least 48 hours before the tour. Please email to process a change. We do not accept changes via voicemail. After 48 hours changes are not accepted. Details on our cancellation policy on FAQs page. TOUR END - Tour ends promptly two hours after your scheduled start time. We end inside the Marquette Building, 140 S. Dearborn. PARKING - If you are driving, Chicago Detours offers our guests a special discounted rate for parking at the Grant Park North Garage, accessible from Michigan Avenue at Randolph Street. Rate is $15 ($38 value), valid up to 12 hours. Upon check-in for the tour, ask the tour guide for a voucher for the discounted rate. Please understand that if you do not ask for the voucher at the beginning of the tour, we can no longer be responsible for giving it to you. The garage is about four blocks from the tour meeting point, and 2 blocks from the tour end.

Minimum age

All ages welcome

What's Provided

Shared Ipads with Historic photos

Cancellation Policy

There are currently no upcoming dates scheduled for this Dabble. Log in to an account message the host or add to your bucket list to be automatically notified when new dates are posted.


Our Philosophy
We believe that the primary role of a tour guide is to educate, so we create an interactive group dynamic and share educational tools and new perspectives for you to connect with the architecture of Chicago.

We are committed to responsible travel, so our tour company uses green practices and immerse you in a truly local experience.

We know that history is best told with a creative approach, so we use different media, like historic quotes, old photographs, and documentary film clips, to stimulate your imagination and present various perspectives.

We believe that a city like Chicago is more than “highlights,” so we share forgotten stories about both famous city landmarks and lesser-known attractions.

We understand that business is about building community, so our tour company likes to connect with tour operators, conventions, destination management companies, non-profits, community groups, senior groups, universities, cultural organizations, and Chicago businesses.

We treat all our tour guests like a new friend, because we believe in the importance of hospitality, and we love when tour guests have chosen to tour Chicago with a small business.

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