When visiting a big city, I’m sure you’ve seen those big double-decker buses – the ones with open seating on top, right? Well, we had our first experience with one on our recent trip to Chicago. We took the Big Bus Tours Chicago hop on hop off and it is the ONLY way to see a city.
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First of all, for kids, nothing is better than sitting up on top of a bus. It’s just cool. Luckily it’s also pretty cool for adults – the views can’t be beaten and you can get a bunch of amazing pictures in a short period of time – perfect for amateur photographers.
The tour guides we encountered were all entertaining, funny, and full of interesting facts. I love geeking out over the backstories of a city and the Big Bus tour guides delivered.
We learned a little bit of history – did you know that at the time of the Chicago Fire, the population was only about 300,000 compared to the 3,000,000 that live in Chicago now?
We also heard some fun stories about how Navy Pier came to be, and the prices of some of the high-rise apartments, and we got a peek at the building Jennifer Hudson lives in. Plus, the views …
Although we’ve visited Chicago many times, I still learned a lot and after the bus tour have a much better idea of where the main attractions are in relation to the city.
In addition to being fun and educational, a tour like this is a great way to get a feel for a city before you start hoofing it on your own. After we had done the entire route I felt like I knew where everything we wanted to do the rest of the week was located and the best way to get there. It made getting around the rest of the week much easier.
Where are the Big Bus Tours Chicago Stops?
The Big Bus Chicago has eleven stops that take you to the highlights of the city. You can hop on or off the bus at any of these stops and the big red bus will come along every thirty minutes.
We were able to walk to the Hilton Chicago/Grant Park stop from our hotel (and it was an easy 10-minute stroll), and hop onto the bus from there.
The stops include the Chicago Riverwalk (98 E Wacker), Skydeck Chicago/Willis Tower, Millenium Park/Art Institute; Hilton Chicago/Grant Park; Adler Planetarium, Museum Campus (near Shedd); Sheraton Grand (441 N. Columbus); Navy Pier; Water Tower/Magnificient Mile; 360 Chicago Observation Deck; Hard Rock (614 N. Clark).
So you can see that you can easily pick up a Go City Pass and use the Big Bus Tours Chicago as your mode of transportation to almost everything included in your pass!
I have noticed that since COVID, some of the stops aren’t operating every day, so be sure to check their website and/or app to ensure the stop you are waiting at is currently available.
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How do I know when the Big Bus will arrive at my stop?
The buses run every half hour, and you can also download an app to your phone which will show you anticipated arrival times, locations, etc.
What are the hours of the Big Bus Chicago Tours?
The buses run from 10:00 AM until 5:00 PM. They arrive at stops every half hour. If you want to stop at a location and stay there until after 5:00 you will need to find an alternate transportation home (Uber).
How much is the Big Bus Chicago?
There are a variety of ticket options that range from $50 – $85. If you just want an overview of the city you can buy a 24-hour pass, but for only about $15 more you can pick up a 48-hour pass. This one gives you a lot of flexibility to stop and enjoy the sites at various stops without worrying about transportation.
Big Bus Chicago also has a sunset live tour which is a live 90-minute evening tour of Chicago, where you can enjoy a guided tour of Chicago, a panoramic sunset, and see the city lit up at night! Note: Adult prices are a bit more than children’s.
Where to buy Big Bus Chicago Tour Tickets
You can purchase your Big Bus Chicago tickets online on their website – and this will be the least expensive option.
Do you get extra discounts on attractions when on a Big Bus Tour in Chicago?
Discounts on attractions vary, but when we did a Big Bus Chicago Tour, we did receive a coupon for a free sample of Garrett’s popcorn (YUM!), and
How long does the Big Bus Chicago Tour take?
If you were to get on at one stop and ride the bus for the entire route, it would take about two hours. If you don’t have any set plans or are just wanting to get an overview of Chicago, this would actually be a perfect way to start your trip.
Tell me about the tour guides on the Big Bus Chicago Tour
One of my favorite parts of our Big Bus Tour was actually the tour guides. As we hopped on and off a few times, we experienced a few different tour guides and it’s true that some were better than others, but we did learn something new from each one.
All the tours are in English, and we found that the more interested the passengers appeared to be, the more engaging the tour guides were and the more info they shared. So, ask and answer questions and you’ll likely have a better experience!
FAQs: Chicago Big Bus Tours
Is the Big Bus Chicago a double-decker bus?
Yes, the Big Bus Chicago is a double-decker bus with the top level being open – which gives you a fantastic viewpoint of the city.
Should you tip your Big Bus Chicago driver?
If you choose to stay on the bus for the entire route and enjoy the commentary from your driver, I would strongly recommend tipping them.
Where else can you find Big Bus Tours?
Big Bus Tours are located in most large cities worldwide. Just visit their website and type in the name of the city you are interested in to see what they offer.
Conclusion: Big Bus Tours Chicago
So, is Big Bus Tours Chicago worth it? Based upon my experience I’d say 100% yes! It was a fantastic way to get an overview of the city, see the sights from a different perspective, and learn a little about Chicago along the way.
Now that I have experienced a Big Bus Tour, I would be very excited to try them out in other cities. It really is the best way to see a city!