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Chicago History Museum.jpg
1601 N Clark St, Chicago, IL 60614, United States

Chicago History Museum

The Chicago History Museum stands at the crossroads of America’s past and its future. If you live in Chicago or visit here and are curious about the city’s past, present, and future, the Museum should be your first stop.

Your History Lives Here

The Chicago History Museum cares for, showcases, and interprets millions of authentic pieces of Chicago and U.S. history. Our ability to illuminate the past is a reminder of what really happened once upon a time, sheds light on the present, and compellingly informs the future.

We invite you to engage with our stories and make history yourself.

College Group Trips: Chicago History Museum

See it. Hear it.  Walk it. Ride it.

Whatever method suites your group best, We have great tours that will bring you closer to Chicago and its fascinating stories.

Tours are available for groups of adults ages 18 and up.

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Guided Exhibition Tours

See Chicago’s past and present from new perspectives with guided or self-guided tours.

Highlights of Chicago

Discover the city’s vast and colorful history on a tour of our permanent exhibition,Chicago: Crossroads of America.

Chicago’s World’s Fairs

Experience the grandeur of the magnificent White City of 1893 and the rainbow-colored oasis created in 1933.

Chicago’s Innovations

Learn about the city’s many innovations that have impacted American life, such as its renowned skyscrapers, modern retail practices, social reform and everyday products that have all shaped Chicago’s leading-city status.

Shalom Chicago

Explore the rich history of Chicago’s Jewish community and discover its lasting impact on the city.  From Maxwell Street and Lawndale to Hyde Park and suburban Skokie, Jews have helped shape the history of Chicago neighborhoods, religion, industry, labor, art and politics.

Group size: Minimum 10, maximum 50 people for permanent exhibitions, maximum varies for special exhibitions

Duration: 50–60 minutes

Cost: $14 adults, $13 seniors and students

Plan your group visit

Curators Guided Tour

Get a first-hand account from one of our curators about his or her vision of a current exhibition’s scope and its development.

Group size: Minimum 10, maximum 25 people

Duration: 60 minutes

Cost: Call 312.799.2162 or e-mail grouptours@chicagohistory.org

Plan your group visit

Self-Guided Tour

Learn all about Chicago history as you stroll through the galleries at your own pace. Audio tours of Chicago: Crossroads of America are available for $2 per person.

Group size: Minimum 10, maximum 100 people

Duration: 2–4 hours

Cost: $11 adults, $9 seniors and students

Plan your group visit

History Scavenger Hunt

How much do you know about Chicago? Test your knowledge with a scavenger hunt in the Museum. This tour is ideal for team-building or for a fun way to experience history.

Cost: $2 per person in addition to the self-guided tour fee

Plan your group visit

America Goes Dry

Monday through Friday; 9:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m.

The idea to control the consumption of alcohol was developing for nearly a century before passage of an amendment to the Constitution.  So what went wrong?  How did an idea meant to improve not just people’s lives but people themselves instead spawn an epidemic of lawlessness and violence?

Cost: Call 312-799-2162 or e-mail grouptours@chicagohistory.org

Group size: Minimum 10, maximum 55 people

Duration: 60 minutes

Plan your group visit

Gangland Chicago

Monday through Friday; 9:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m.

Take a photographic tour of Chicago in the Prohibition era. The lecture features a host of historic images from the Chicago History Museum’s collection to tell stories of the Prohibition era in Chicago, including the growth of the temperance movement, Chicago’s bootlegging industry, the rise of Al Capone’s empire and his eventual downfall. It’s all here in black and white (photographs).

Cost: Call 312-799-2162 or e-mail grouptours@chicagohistory.org

Group size: Minimum 10, maximum 55 people

Duration: 45 minutes

Plan your group visit


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Monday through Friday; 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Explore the city by motor coach with your very own guide.

Must have own motor coach transportation with sound system and seating for guide. Minimum of 20 people per tour.

Cost: Call 312.799.2162 or e-mail us at grouptours@chicagohistory.org.

Duration: 2-3 hours

Best of Chicago

Experience Chicago’s best, including our breathtaking skyline, architectural treasures, Magnificent Mile, theater and financial districts, and Millennium Park. This tour also available in Spanish.

Chicago’s Jewish Communities

The history of the Chicago Jewish communities began in the 1830s and by 1930 there were almost 300,000 Jews, almost 9 percent of Chicago’s population, living in Chicago.  Jewish history is one of arrival, growth, maturation, relocation, and dispersion.  Our tour of the Jewish communities includes various neighborhoods, religious, cultural, and charitable institutions.  Edward Mazur leads this bus tour of sites connected to the Chicago Jewish community.  Tours available Sunday through Thursday.

Chicago’s Ethnic Neighborhoods

Discover the city of neighborhoods and get a flavor for the richness of other cultures from Andersonville to Argyle Street, Chinatown to Greektown, and Little Italy to Lincoln Square, Bronzeville to Hyde Park and Southshore.

Devil in the White City

Imagine the grandeur of the World’s Columbian Exposition of 1893 depicted in Erik Larson’s best-selling book as you tour sites from the Midway Plaisance to the Wooded Isle.

Graceland Cemetery

Uncover old Chicago as you venture through one of the country’s most beautiful cemeteries.

Chicago Politics

As the 2012 presidential campaign begins to heat up learn more about the city where politics is one of the most important industries. From Lincoln to Obama, Chicago is a hotbed for the presidents, hosting more party conventions than any other city.  Politics and controversies at the local city and state levels will also be discussed during the tour.

The Wright Kind of History

Frank Lloyd Wright perfected his Prairie Style here in Chicago, but this famous craftsman was well-known for his ego and tragic personal life.  View some of the spectacular buildings that played a direct role in all areas of Wright’s Life.

Capone’s Chicago

Take a tour through the Roaring Twenties and explore Chicago’s gangster past. Revisit the “beer wars.” Ride through Al Capone’s neighborhood and see the place he called home. Witness the site of Chicago’s most infamous and still unsolved gangland murder. With guidance from the experts at the Chicago History Museum you’ll discover Chicago’s authentic gangland history.


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The Museum houses the largest costume collection in the world. Get an inside look at upcoming exhibitions, the storage vault and rarely-seen artifacts.

Available in Spring 2013

Group size: limited to smaller groups due to storage facilities. Minimum 10, maximum 12 people.

Duration: 40–60 minutes

Cost: Call 312.799.2162 or e-mail grouptours@chicagohistory.org



May 1 through October 15

Tour the opulent mansions of the Gold Coast, or learn about Old Town’s colorful past.

Group size: Minimum 10, maximum 40 people

Duration:  90–120 minutes per neighborhood

Cost: $14 per person

Plan your group visit


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Gold Coast

See the opulent mansions and elegant townhouses of the city’s wealthiest neighborhood. Learn about the historic Astor Street district and the area’s most famous residents, including the McCormicks, Palmers, and Wrigleys.

Old Town

Explore the architecture of one of the city’s oldest neighborhoods. Founded by German immigrants in the 1800s, Old Town became a gathering place for hippies in the late 1960s. Today, it is a thriving artists’ haven, business district, and home to many young professionals.


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History of the Lake

Available June 1 through September 1

Cruise Lake Michigan and the Chicago River while you learn about the city.  Presented in partnership with Chicago  Line Cruises.  Presented in partnership with Chicago Line Cruises.   Private charter tours also available for groups of 20 to 200.

Group size: Minimum 20, maximum 100 people.

Duration: 90 minutes

Cost: Call 312-799-2162 or e-mail grouptours@chicagohistory.org

Plan your group visit


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History Pub Crawl

Available this Spring!

Join us for a fun adventure in the city.  These tours take groups to four taverns and provide a unique perspective on Chicago history and the bars you visit.

Tours last approximately three hours and visit four taverns with 30 minutes spent at each bar. Drinks and food are not included in the price and are the sole responsibility of the client.  Due to the nature of the experience, tours must happen on Monday – Thursday afternoon/evenings or Saturday or Sunday afternoons (depending on sporting event schedules).  Participants must be 21 or older.  This tour only offered by trolley transportation.  4 weeks advance notice is required to book a tour.

Chicago’s Greatest Dives

Join us as we pour into some of Chicago’s best dive bars.  We’ll learn about the history behind each drinking den we visit and discover the history behind moonshine, bathtub gin, and other historic homemade concoctions.

Booze, Bars, and Bootlegging!  Prohibition Era Chicago

Find out what makes Chicago untouchable.   Get a taste of infamous speakeasies frequented by Chicago’s notorious gangsters like Capone, Moran, and Dillinger. On this trolley tour, learn how prohibition came to be, fascinating facts about the era, and how it ultimately shaped the city and its image.


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Group Visit Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Download our Group Visit FAQ

How do I purchase tickets for groups of 10 or more?

We ask that you fill out a group visit reservation form. This form is available to download, or by calling the adult groups manager at 312.799.2162. Forms can be returned by fax or mail. For a self-guided visit, reservations can be made up to 3 weeks in advance. For a guided experience, reservations must be made 6 weeks in advance.

Download the Group Visit Reservation form

What is the group rate?

Self-Guided Exhibition Tours: $11 for adults; $9 for seniors (65+) and college students

Guided Exhibition Tours: $14 for adults; $13 for seniors (65+) and college students

Neighborhood Walking Tours: $10 per person

History Boat Tour: call for pricing

Step-On Guides: call for pricing

Can I get the discount rate if I walk-in with a group?

No, if you want the discount rate you must make an advance reservation with the adult groups manager. Otherwise, the general admission rate will apply; $14 for adults and $12 for seniors and college students.

Do you offer on-site food service?

For groups of 10 or more, the North & Clark Café offers pre-ordered boxed lunches.

Download the Boxed Lunches menu (PDF, 52 KB)

What is included in the guided experience?

A guided tour includes a trained docent that will lead a 50 to 60 minute tour of the gallery of your choice. Our docents are trained by leading historians knowledgeable about the city’s rich history and built environment.

How long should I plan for my visit?

The average visit takes approximately 2 1/2 to 3 hours; longer if you are having lunch. Although there is seating throughout the museum, you can anticipate being on your feet for as long as fifty minutes and up to one hour while taking a tour.

How does our group check-in?

If arriving by bus, please pull up to the Clark Street entrance and proceed to the Visitor Center to check in with the receptionist. We recommend that your group remain on the bus while you handle any business transactions. There is a bus loading and unloading zone directly in front of the Museum, but this is not a parking zone. After your group enters the Museum, your driver must move to a designated bus-parking area. For more information on tour-bus parking, please call the Chicago Office of Tourism at 312.744.2400.

If arriving by car, parking is conveniently located one block north of the Museum at Clark and LaSalle Streets. Enter on Stockton Drive.

A complimentary coat check is located on the first floor. All large bags and backpacks must be checked. We suggest taking care of bathroom visits, coat check, and payment for your group, immediately upon arrival and before the orientation begins.

Can I take pictures?

Photography is allowed in the Chicago: Crossroads of America gallery and our public spaces and lobby areas. Please do not take pictures in our special exhibition galleries.

Where can I find lodging for my group?

To plan an overnight visit, please visit http://www.enjoyillinois.com.

Is the museum accessible?

All public spaces and most restrooms in the Museum are wheelchair accessible. A limited number of wheelchairs are available for visitor use; please give us advanced notice prior to your arrival if you require this service. A listening system is available on gallery tours. Please call 312.799.2162 for more information.


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