By Jenny Berg Posted February 23, 2011, 10:00 AM EST
CHICAGO These new walking tours entertain groups with historical facts and food, and are available year-round.
1. A member of the Chicago Convention and Tourism Bureau, Tastebud Tours launched in spring 2010 and is open year-round. Each three-hour tour can accommodate 14 guests, and lets groups sample classic Windy City fare. The Gold Coast tour includes stops at such spots as Pizano's Pizza and Pasta and Downtown Dogs. The Millennium Loop tour crawls through the downtown area and includes visits to Sugar Bliss Cake Boutique and Berghoff Restaurant. Tours, priced at $44 per head, include historical facts about local cuisine.
2. Founded in July 2010, Chicago Detours offers two- to three-hour tours that focus on local culture and history. Signature tours include the “Good Times Around Michigan Ave.” tour, which visits historical ballrooms, jazz clubs, and theaters; there's also the “Loop: Explore Without Freezing” tour, geared at wintertime crowds, which leads guests through the interiors of downtown buildings. Private tours can also be customized to fit a group's particular area of interest, such as architecture, entertainment, or food. On each tour, guests get iPads that offer historical photos and documentary video clips to help educate them about the subject matter. Each tour can handle a maximum of 24 guests, though the company can accommodate as many as 72 by creating separate groups. Rates for the activity vary depending on the level of the outing's customization and the required iPad media.