Who We Are
Tour Chicago was started in September of 2019 by Chicago actor, and tour guide Mark West (www.heymarkwest.com). The goal was to show the parts of Chicago that visitors miss out on at other companies, and offer locals a fun new way to engage with the city. Working at other tour companies around Chicago, Mark realized that a lot of them were taking visitors to the same neighborhoods and sites, and sharing the same information and experiences. None of them were venturing to the most culturally rich and diverse parts of Chicago. Many people live their entire lives in Chicago without ever seeing the many attractions of The Loop, but fall in love with the city just as hard as those who do. Why is that? Well, we'd like to show you! Be it by bike, bus, or on foot, we'll show you some of the richest, truest parts of Chicago history and culture in all of the "unexplored neighborhoods" that have been overshadowed.
Everything we do is built upon these core values: passion, authenticity, community, and fun. A tour with us feels more like spending an afternoon with your in-the-know, local friend as opposed to a typical tour guide. If you're ready to experience Chicago as a local, hungry to try new foods and experiences, or want to explore beyond downtown without the hassle of driving and parking, Tour Chicago is here for you. We are the company for those who find as much joy in the journey as the destination.
Tourism is changing. People want a deeper experience and connection with a destination.
What we mean by 'more local'
While working at other tour companies in the city, Mark noticed a rift between the Chicago he worked in, toured through, and talked about, and the Chicago he went home to. He often encountered people on tours who'd say things like "sure, the skyline's nice, but living here I bet you never see it." or "I don't see any schools! Do they bus the kids to the suburbs?" He knew he had to take people to the "real Chicago" beyond downtown and The Loop. The city of ice cream trucks, street festivals, and neighborhood softball; farmer's markets, front porch concerts, and Movies in the Parks. We want to offer an unfiltered, unapologetic view of our community; a glimpse into what it's like to call this place home and why, despite our famous winters, we still love living in Chicago. But enough talking about it, let us show you! Book a tour>>>
Our Core Values
Passion. We are locals who share our love of Chicago through engaging stories. Our guides care about the information, restaurants and neighborhoods we visit and convey that passion in each tour.
Authenticity. We seek out opportunities to discover history and understand culture through real experiences. The whole story matters; we exhaustively research and never flinch away from uncomfortable truths.
Community. We understand this business is about building community, so we strive to build strong relationships with our guests, vendors, and within the communities we visit. We run our business in a way that values and helps sustain the beauty and culture of the neighborhoods and restaurants we visit and Chicago as a whole.
Fun. In all this, we have a lot of fun! We believe that a life without adventure is a life not fully lived and, put simply, we want to live fully.