There’s no question that having 54.1 million visitors to Chicago in 2016 was a pretty impressive feat. In fact, it set a record. But imagine what it the city was like when more than 27 million people passed through the 1893 World’s Fair in six months – the year the Chicago Athletic Association opened its doors – at a time when the city didn’t have nearly the same infrastructure or public transportation it does now. Imagine what it took to pull that off!
While all the structures built for the fair, except what is now the Museum of Science and Industry, were demolished after the crowds left, you can still gain some insight into what went on during the exposition. Through a tour by Chicago Detours dubbed 1893 World’s Fair Tour With Bars, you’ll visit a number of architecturally important buildings like the Auditorium Building, the Monadnock and the Chicago Athletic Association hotel, which also opened in 1893. You’ll see beautiful mosaics, ride the last human-operated elevators in the Loop and explore a secret building hidden in an alley.
During this three-hour walking tour (with 95 percent taking place indoors), you’ll stop for drinks, play trivia games, go on scavenger hunts and all the while learn about one of Chicago’s most important events in history.