A hop-on hop-off bus tour is a great way to explore Chicago at your leisure. With fixed routes, but no fixed schedule for you to stick to, you can disembark at your chosen stops and then hop back on to continue the route when you’re ready.
While on the bus, you will learn more about the sights from the audio narrative provided by a professional guide.
Hop-on hop-off tours offer the best value for money as you can travel for as long as your ticket is valid.
Below you’ll find all the information you need to prepare for a hop-on hop-off bus experience, one of the most complete sightseeing tours in Chicago.
The Big Bus Company Chicago is the operator of hop-on hop-off bus tours in Chicago.
Known as the "Big Loop: Red Route," the hop-on hop-off bus tour follows a circular route with 11 stops:
You can start your tour at any of the route’s stops and can end your tour at any time. En route, you will bypass some of the city’s best known attractions including:
The Willis Tower where you can take one of the fastest elevators in the world to the Skydeck where you can view Chicago from 103 floors above the ground from a clear glass ledge.
360 Chicago observation deck that sits 305 meters above Chicago’s Magnificent Mile in the iconic John Hancock Building. 360 Chicago is also home to TILT, an enclosed platform that tilts out over the streets of the city.
At the Chicago Architectural Centre you can examine hyper-detailed scaled models of skyscrapers from the city and elsewhere in the world. At the Chicago City Model Experience you can get a cinematic and interactive view of more than 4,200 buildings.
From May to October an added non-stop 75-minute night time tour can be added to your hop-on hop-off 2-day bus ticket. This loop begins and ends at Navy Pier, travelling along the Magnificent Mile and on to Michigan Avenue before passing the magnificent architecture on the Loop skyline.
The first buses of the day begin running at 10 AM and run in a loop passing stops every 20-30 minutes. The last run of the day starts at Chicago Riverwalk at 5 PM and ends with the final pickup at Hard Rock Café at just before 6:45 PM.
Four different types of tickets are available for a Chicago hop-on hop-off tour:
Children under 12 pay half price.
Hop-on hop off tours allow you to start you trip at any stop on the route. The open-top buses provide a great view of the city and pre-recorded commentary ensure you are informed about the landmarks on you route.
Buses offer frequent service, passing each stop at approximately 30 minute intervals. Night tours are included between May and November and you can choose between a 1-day or 2-day pass if you want a slow and leisurely tour.
The Big Bus Cruise option also includes a 75 minute cruise along the Chicago River. Big Bus also offers a free mobile app to keep you updated with bus arrival times or to connect you to a customer service agent.
The Big Bus Cruise ticket gives you the flexibility of a 2-day hop-on hop-off bus tour and a 75-minute architectural tour along the Chicago River.
On this combo tour you will hear more about the city’s hidden architectural treasures and view the most famous landmarks. Live guides on the cruise will explain how Chicago’s architecture, engineering and buildings have made the city world famous.