At a loss for those last few holiday gift ideas? Encourage some Second City exploration with these quick gifts for seeing new sides of Chicago.
Explore by Bus
Chicago Architecture Foundation Tour: Highlights by Bus $42
Chicago winters are a tough time for exploration, but the Chicago Architecture Foundation offers tours by foot, boat, and bus. Check out the city’s diverse design from Hyde Park, to the Lakefront, to the Loop, and more in a curated bus outing covering 30 miles. The tour includes interior visits to Fran kLloyd Wright’s Robie House and Mies van der Rohe’s IIT campus, allowing you to avoid trekking through the elements while still exploring architecture up close in CAF’s most comprehensive tour.
Explore by Book
Chicago’s Classic Restaurants: Past, Present and Future $39.50
From lavish dining experiences to lunchrooms in the Loop, this coffee table book explores the history of “classic” restaurants in Chicago. Between old school standouts and the reflections of today’s culinary stars, including Charlie Trotter and Rick Bayless, this book serves an appetizing array of Chicago’s dining history.
Food Lovers’ Guide to Chicago: Best Local Specialties, Markets, Recipes, Restaurants & Events $15.95
Jennifer Olvera goes beyond the standard restaurant guide, highlighting Chicago’s neighborhood favorites in restaurants, bars, food festivals, recipes, and farmer’s market. Offering an accurate snapshot of establishments on every side of the city, it’s a great guide for Chicago visitors and citizens alike.
Explore by Band
Friends of the Empty Bottle Pass $149
Gift your favorite show-goer the gift that plays all year-long with the Friends of the Bottle pass from the Empty Bottle. The Ukranian Village venue is offering a year-long pass good for admission to any show in 2012 that is less than $10. In addition to free admission to most shows offered at the Bottle, members will have first access to purchase tickets for pricier shows as well as other perks.
Explore by Bar
History Pub Crawl: Chicago’s Greatest Dives $30
Give the gift of education and inebriation with a Chicago History Museum pub crawl. This tour explores the history of several of the city’s favorite dives, while you explore the goods in the glass at each stop.
Explore by Table
À la Card Chicago Restaurant Deck $32.75
This deck of cards will return more than your usual Texas Hold’em game. Each card contains a description of a delicious chef-driven Chicago restaurant and is redeemable for $10 off at that establishment any day of the year. It’s a great excuse to eat your way through the city all year!
Explore by Air
Chicago Aerial Tours $499.99
When no other view will do, explore the city by the stunning heights of a helicopter. See Chicago neighborhoods and landmarks from a unique vantage on this 30-minute tour, giving new meaning to the Chicago Skyway.