If you're ready to experience a little downtown nightlife with the kids without the hassle of driving yourself, try hopping on a double-decker bus or trolley for a tour of the city's lights. For the first time, the iconic red buses and green and red trolleys will traverse the city after dark during the summer months.
The hour-long tour includes four hop-on, hop-off points and focuses on Chicago's well-known architecture and hot spots like Michigan Avenue and the lakefront. The nighttime tour comes after a successful holiday lights tour season.
"We found that in doing the holiday lights … Chicago has iconic buildings that take on a different look and feel at night, for instance Buckingham Fountain, the Wrigley Building and Water Tower Place," says Rob Pierson, president of Chicago Trolley.
The evening tour starts at 6 p.m. and lasts until 11 p.m., so riders can hop off, visit downtown and then hop back on. The tour encompasses the John Hancock, North Michigan Avenue, portions of Lake Shore Drive, Millennium Park and much of the downtown area.
Passengers who buy the daytime Signature or Neighborhood trolley tour tickets can ride the evening trolley for no additional charge, Pierson says.
The tour is partially narrated, but also includes plenty of quiet time to just sit back and enjoy the scenery.
The evening tours are appropriate for all ages, Pierson says, and will appeal to even the most seasoned Chicago residents.
"How often are they in the downtown market in the evening, in an open-topped vehicle, where they can sit out in the fresh evening air with a 360 degree view of the skyline?" Pierson asks. "It has an attraction for both in-towners and out-of-towners."
Liz DeCarlo is the senior editor at Chicago Parent.
See more of Liz's stories here.