A great way to start out a day in Chicago or any city for that matter is to take some sort of ‘free’ walking tour. There are a couple of companies that I like to use.  For Chicago, I headed straight to Chicago Greeters Website and set up a FREE Greeter Tour.

The Greeter tours in Chicago are done by volunteers at the Cultural Center and are really totally free. There is no push for tips or donations. In fact, your not even allowed to tip your tour guide. The guides are locals. People living in Chicago that want to show you what makes the city important for them, what their favorite spots are, and/or anything that you have a direct interest in.

My tour was of the ‘Loop” area of Chicago. It was great because it showed me places that I would have walked by without even giving a second glance. To start with, the Cultural Center. It’s a destination. Not just for the tourist office that’s located inside but for it’s history and ambiance. There is free wi-fi and and very comfortable reading or studying area with comfortable chairs and tables. Like your local coffee shop without the coffee.

The cultural center is the city’s old Library.  After the Great Chicago Fire, books were donated to the city of Chicago and believe it or not, the city had not ever had a library before.  So, one had to be built. (After doing some internet research on this; I found that this isn’t true.  Chicago DID have a library.)

It’s beautiful.  Go and explore.  The moaisc murals on the walls are made from glass and marble, and the Tiffany glass dome is reportedly one of (if not the) largest ever made.  It’s outstanding

I also learned a little of the architecture in Chicago; specifically the “Chicago window”.  Check it out on Wikipedia.  We actually have a lot of the “Chicago window’s” in my home town.  Interesting.

After the tour, I wandered around and found the Marilyn Monroe pictured above.  There is a ton of controversy surrounding Marilyn here in the city but the tourists (myself included) seem to enjoy it…especially some of the men getting up close and catching a little more than a peek at Marilyn’s panties!

Check out my daughters Gallery for additional Chicago inspiration.