The following list of optional excursions is not all inclusive, but has served local hosts well, in their roles as amateur tour guides.


Chicago Botanic Garden
The 385-acre Garden, in nearby Glencoe, features 23 display gardens and three native habitats, uniquely situated on nine islands surrounded by lakes. In 1963, the Chicago Horticultural Society was granted 300 acres of forest on the outskirts of the city, and the Chicago Botanic Garden established roots. With the groundbreaking for the Garden in 1965 and its opening in 1972, the Society created a permanent site on which to carry out its mission. The mission encompasses three important components: collections, education and research.

From its founding, the Garden has hired leading architects, beginning with the master plan by John O. Simonds and Geoffrey Rausch. Edward Larabee Barnes designed the Education Center as the Garden's first building in 1977. The Malott Japanese Garden, Sansho-En, was completed in 1982. Throughout its existence, the Chicago Botanic Garden has developed gardens and educational facilities with a meticulous eye toward its original mission.

1000 Lake Cook Road, Glencoe, IL 60022    ( 1 847 835 5440  ) http://www.chicagobotanic.org


Architecture River Cruise by the Chicago Architecture Foundation 
Chicago's most popular River Cruise!  CAF-certified expert docents interpret the world-class architecture along the Chicago River.  Marvel at Chicago’s soaring towers while enjoying a 90-minute,docent narrated river cruise. This tour spotlights more than 50 architecturally significant sites where you will discover a new perspective on the city. Come aboard the vessels of Chicago' Finest Fleet: Chicago's First Lady, Chicago's Little Lady and Chicago's Fair Lady where both open-air and climate-controlled indoor seating make the journey comfortable. Snacks and beverages are available for purchase on board each vessel.

Many other self guided and docent led  walking tours are also available.
Chicago Architecture Foundation 

Santa Fe Building @ 224 South Michigan Avenue,  Chicago, Illinois 60604 
( 1 312  922  3432  ) http://www.architecture.org


The Art Institute of Chicago
The Art Institute is dedicated to building and caring for a collection that fully represents the world’s great artistic legacy and sharing that collection with the public. The Art Institute has come to a point in its long stewardship when existing gallery space cannot fully represent this scope of more than 270,000 objects in the collection nor can current facilities support the educational mission. With the completion of the new building, every part of the collection will gain gallery space, especially those areas that have had limited visibility in the past.
On May 31, 2005, the Art Institute of Chicago unveiled master plans for the Modern Wing, the museum’s newest addition since 1988. In 1999, the Art Institute chose architect Renzo Piano to design the project that will, among other things, increase gallery space by 33% and house new educational facilities. The striking design of the Modern Wing complements the adjacent Millennium Park and is scheduled to open to the public in 2009.

Immediately north along Michigan Avenue is the new Millennium Park. Or as some old revelers will remember, just south of the “Top of the Rock”
111 South Michigan Avenue, Chicago, Illinois, 60603  ( 1 312 443 3600 )


Millennium Park 
Millennium Park is an award-winning center for art, music, architecture and landscape design. The result of a unique partnership between the City of Chicago and the philanthropic community, the 24.5-acre park features the work of world-renowned architects, planners, artists and designers.It is bordered by Michigan Avenue to the west, Columbus Drive to the east, Randolph Street to the North and Monroe Street to the South.

Among Millennium Park's prominent features are the Frank Gehry-designed Jay Pritzker Pavilion , the most sophisticated outdoor concert venue of its kind in the United States; the interactive Crown Fountain by Jaume Plensa; the contemporary Lurie Garden designed by the team of Kathryn Gustafson, Piet Oudolf and Robert Israel; and Anish Kapoor's hugely popular Cloud Gate sculpture on the AT&T Plaza. 

Since its opening in July 2004, Millennium Park has hosted millions of people, making it one of the most popular destinations in Chicago.
( 1 312 742 1168 ) or email millennium-park@cityofchicago.org.