FAQs

Is the tour really free?

Free Chicago Walking Tours is absolutely completely free. When you sign up for a Tour we only collect an email address, your name and phone number – no credit card or any billing information. Free Chicago Waking Tours does not charge any money at the beginning, middle or end of the tour.

You are NEVER REQUIRED to pay ANY MONEY.

Instead we ask you tip the guide what you feel the tour was worth. Free Chicago Walking Tours and our guides work really hard creating unique, interactive & exciting tours.  We’re confident you will feel Free Chicago Walking Tours is well worth any price, but we let you decide that.

What should I bring?

First and foremost make sure you bring a great attitude and come ready to Meet People, Have Fun & Learn. Participating and engaging will make Free Chicago Walking Tours very memorable. There are some tangible items you will want to bring as well:

  • Camera
  • Comfortable shoes
  • Appropriate clothes for the weather (umbrella, rain jacket, sweater, etc…)
  • Sunscreen
  • Water

What will I see?

You will see a lot of different cool and interesting buildings, places and people with Free Chicago Walking Tours. Make sure that you review all of the Tours we offer to find the one that stops at the places you want to see. If you have a particular spot in mind, but do not see it listed in any of the descriptions please send us an email and we can help you pick the best tour.

How far will I be walking?

Free Chicago Walking Tours wants everyone to Meet People, Have Fun & Learn – not pass out to do exhaustion or pull a muscle. Our tours will almost never go further than 3 miles.

Do I need to sign up or can I just show up?

You will need to sign up for Free Chicago Walking Tours to join us. This helps us control the group size and deliver you an exceptional experience. Reserving online in advance provides you with who you guide will be and where the meeting point is.

What happens if I am late?

Free Chicago Walking Tours will always start on time. If you’re going to be late you can text or call the guide and they will tell you where to meet.  It’s best of course not to be late. You don’t want to miss the introductions!

What is the best way to get to your starting point?

Free Chicago Walking Tours is a big fan of…you guessed it…WALKING! Sometimes that is not possible. Our next favorite mode of transportation is either the bus or our famous “el” elevated train line. If you’re new to the city the buses and trains can get confusing. Read Your Guide to Getting Around in Chicago for help.

I have never been to Chicago before, can you help me plan my trip?

Free Chicago Walking Tours would love to help plan your trip. We’re not a tour agency, but we’re locals, and we want to help. We are so interested in you having a great Chicago experience we’ll do just about anything. Consider us city ambassadors. Send all questions about your upcoming to trip to Free Chicago Walking Tours through the Contact Us form.

I’m shy and don’t want to meet people, is that OK?

Yes, that is completely fine. You should know that Free Chicago Walking Tours encourages meeting people and interacting while on the tour. We go through a short round of introductions for everyone – guests and guides – before the tour takes off and the guides will be engaging the group throughout the tour. You of course do not have to participate in any part that you do not want to.

Can I bring my dog on the tour?

Short answer: No. Free Chicago Walking Tours loves people and we love dogs. A lot of guides are dog owners. Unfortunately not all of our guests feel the same way. In order to ensure a consistent and pleasant experience for everyone on the tour we ask kindly that you leave your furry friends behind. We’re working on dog-specific walking tours so keep your eyes open for updates.

I prefer private tours, can you accommodate me?

Yes, Free Chicago Walking Tours provides Private Tours. Read all about the process and request a Private Tour here.

Is there a place to grab a snack or something to drink on the tours?

While Chicago is littered with convenience stores throughout the city, it’s not possible for our guides to take the entire group to a store and stay on schedule. Please make sure to eat something before your tour. You are more than welcomed to bring any water and snacks along with you as well.

What happens if the weather is bad, does the tour still go on?

Free Chicago Walking Tours doesn’t take a scheduled day off. Rain or shine the show must go on. Because we have commitments from guests that can be traveling from really far away, it’s not fair for us to cancel a tour just because we have a little bad weather. We cannot risk disappointing a guest.  Our guides will show up at the meeting place on time. If no guests arrive within a certain time frame then we’ll pack up and head home.

How much do people actually tip?

Our guides receive a wide range of tips. We have seen tips range from $0 to $100 per person (not kidding!). Neither of those are the norm, however. We really want you to tip what you feel the tour was worth.

To help you plan accordingly, the average per person tip is between $10-$20. But again, it’s all up to you.

I know a lot about Chicago, are you sure that I am actually going to learn something new?

We get this question all the time. Especially from our friends and family who we encourage to take the tour. We’re very confident that you will, regardless of how long you have lived in the city, learn something new and interesting on our tour. There are way too many stories — and stories of stories woven throughout Chicago’s history for you to know it all.  Free Chicago Walking Tours dares you to be a tourist in your own city and come join us for a walk.

Why are you giving FREE Chicago Walking tours?

My wife and I spent 6 months traveling throughout South America in 2015. Early on our adventures we discovered FREE walking tours. We weren’t sure what to expect, but each and every time we had a blast. I absolutely love the concept of tourists and locals alike getting a chance to explore a city without having to commit to any specific price.

At the conclusion of the tour you are encouraged to tip your guide. It’s really a pay-what-you-feel-the-tour-is-worth tour. No upfront costs. You don’t have to pay anything if you didn’t feel it was worth it. But that is rarely the case.

Do you have Facebook, Twitter or Instagram?

Yes, Free Chicago Walking Tours has Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. We publish all kinds of fun facts and information about special tours on our social media pages, so make sure you follow us. Below you can find our information for each.

Should I review you on TripAdvisor?

Yes, please review Free Chicago Walking Tours on TripAdvisor, especially if you enjoyed your tour. TripAdvisor is a great way to let others know about our awesome FREE tours in Chicago. If for any reason Free Chicago Walking Tours did not meet your expectations please send us a note using our Contact Us form and we will correct the issue.

Why do you limit your tour to 25 people?

Free Chicago Walking Tours limits the number of guests on any tour to 25 to ensure that we have a consistent and quality tour every single time.  More than 25 people creates complexities such as making sure everyone can hear the guide. Have you ever tried crossing the streets in Chicago as a group of 26 or more? Nearly impossible.

If you have a group that is larger than 25 people contact us – we will do everything we can to accommodate.

Who will be giving me the tour?

Free Chicago Walking Tours has a variety of Chicago experts standing by to give you your tour. Meet the Guides! Our team is made up of actors, teachers and retired folks – all with a unique and interesting perspective on the city. Our schedules and guides change frequently. You will get an email from your guide the night before the tour introducing themselves and confirming the meeting point.

Are these good tours for kids?

Free Chicago Walking Tours is family-friendly, there is no R-rated material within any of our tours. All are welcome!  We cannot think of a better way to spend a sunny after than a family stroll through one of America’s greatest cities.

Please make sure that any children under 12 are booked as children and not adults.

Who makes the best Chicago deep-dish pizza? For real though…

There are so many great options in Chicago for deep dish pizza. One thing is for certain – you must try some before you leave. But where? Well, you’re going to get different answers depending on who you talk to. Some will swear by Giordano’s. Others will tell you that your best option is Gino’s East. You’ll even hear the name Pequod’s Pizza in the mix. For our money we always head to Lou Malnati’s. Honestly though we don’t think that you can go wrong anywhere.

What should I wear?

Great question. Free Chicago Walking Tours operates in rain or shine, so this isn’t exactly an easy question to answer. We highly recommend that you wear comfortable walking shoes because you will be on your feet walking for at least 2 hours. Outside of that there is no dress code. Monitor the weather at Accuweather Chicago for all the latest updates. Here are some tips to make sure you enjoy your tour:

  • Comfortable shoes
  • Appropriate clothes (shorts if its hot, pants if its cold, jackets, etc..)
  • Bring sunscreen – Chicago sun in the summer can be brutal
  • Drink water – best to always have a bottle of water
  • Umbrellas – even if there is just a slight chance of rain, this can’t hurt

How can I become a tour guide?

We’re always interested in adding great guides to our team. If you believe that you are the best walking tour guide in Chicago send us an email with your name, why you would make such a great tour guide and a few ideas you have for walking tours. A member of our staff will respond promptly! email: info@freechicagowalkingtours.com

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