Chicago Birding and Culture Tour
Chicago is a great city for everything...including urban birding!!   

Birding:  Over 300 species of birds have been identified in Chicago and because Chicago is located on Lake Michigan, it is an important fly-way for nearly 200 bird species.

Lodging:  will be at the historic Congress Plaza Hotel, perfectly situated with great views of Lake Michigan and a short walk to the best parks.

Evening Events:  Chicago is an important city for art, music and the performing arts. On this tour there will be evening events to visit the Willis Tower, 2nd City Comedy Club, Broadway in Chicago, Steppenwolf Theatre, Goodman Theatre, the Chicago Lyric Opera and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra.  Please see the schedule below for specific events for each tour. 

Dinner:  Chicago maybe the second city, but it really does have the best pizza (sorry New York) and is the origin of deep-dish pizza. Since the mid 1940s, Chicagoans have been arguing who makes the better pizza, Lou Malnati's or Uno's. We will visit both and you can decide for yourself at these Chicago pizzeria favorites. Other dinners will be at restaurants that have cultural and historic significance in Chicago.  

  • Travel Dates: April 12 - 18, 2020 and April 18 – 24, 2021
  • Group Size: 6 Travelers plus guides
  • Trip Length: 7 days
  • Rates: Rate per person = $3,250 (based on double occupancy)
  • Rates include: Transport within Chicago, lodging, breakfast, lunch, dinner, evening event tickets and group tours
  • Not included: Airfare to Chicago
  • Adventure level: Easy, please check the "Welcome" page for definition

Special offer:    Included with your trip (one per room) is a copy of the field guide “Sibley Birds East: Field Guide to Birds of Eastern North America” by David Allen Sibley. You will receive this when you reserve your trip so you will have time to study and know the beautiful birds! 

Reservations:    To reserve a spot on the trip, it is a non-refundable 50% deposit
April is a beautiful time to visit Chicago!

2020 Itinerary

Day 1, Sunday April 12:  Fly to Chicago

  • Arrival day: No scheduled activities
  • Dinner: TBA based on arrival schedule

Day 2, Monday April 13

  • 6:00am – 8:00am: Morning bird walk
  • 8:00am – 9:00am: Breakfast
  • 9:00am – 12:00pm: Birding Jackson Park
  • 12:00pm – 1:00pm: Picnic lunch
  • 1:00pm – 4:00pm: Birding Washington Park
  • 4:00pm – 6:00pm: Afternoon break
  • 6:00pm: Dinner at the Atwood located in the Reliance Building**
  • 8:00pm: Visit the top of the Willis Tower**

Day 3, Tuesday April 14

  • 6:00am – 8:00am: Morning bird walk
  • 8:00am – 9:00am: Breakfast
  • 9:00am – 12:00pm: Montrose Park Bird Sanctuary
  • 12:00pm – 1:00pm: Picnic lunch
  • 1:00pm – 4:00pm: Birding Humboldt Park
  • 4:00pm - 6:00pm: Afternoon break
  • 6:00pm: Dinner at Lou Malnati's Pizzeria (the best!)**
  • 8:00pm:  The Second City Comedy Club**

Day 4, Wednesday April 15

  • 6:00am – 8:00am: Morning bird walk
  • 8:00am – 9:00am: Breakfast
  • 9:00am – 12:00pm: Notebaert Nature Museum and Sanctuary
  • 12:00pm – 1:00pm: Picnic lunch
  • 1:00pm – 4:00pm: Birding Lincoln Park and Northerly Island
  • 4:00pm – 6:00pm: Afternoon break
  • 6:00pm: Dinner at the Palmer House (invented the Chocolate Brownie!)**
  • 8:00pm:  Chicago Symphony Orchestra**

Day 5, Thursday April 16

  • 6:00am – 8:00am: Morning bird walk
  • 8:00am – 9:00am: Breakfast
  • 9:00am – 12:00pm: Birding Douglas Park Lagoon
  • 12:00pm – 1:00pm: Picnic lunch
  • 1:00pm – 4:00pm: Birding Garfield Park Lagoon
  • 4:00pm – 5:00pm: Afternoon break
  • 5:00pm: Dinner at the original Uno's Pizza**
  • 7:00pm: Broadway in Chicago**

Day 6, Friday April 17

  • 6:00am – 8:00am: Morning bird walk
  • 8:00am – 9:00am: Breakfast
  • 9:00am – 12:00pm: Birding North Park Village Nature Center
  • 12:00pm – 1:00pm: Picnic lunch
  • 1:00pm – 4:00pm: Birding LaBagh Woods
  • 4:00pm – 6:00pm: Afternoon break
  • 6:00pm: Dinner at the Green Door Tavern in Uptown** 
  • 8:00pm:  The Goodman Theatre production**

Day 7, Saturday April 18: Departure Day

  • You will be transferred from your hotel to your departure airport

***Details about nightly events and Dinners***

Chicago Lyric Opera:   For the 2020 tour, there are no opera events included in the tour. 

The Willis Tower:  The Willis Tower (colloquial: Sears Tower, its name for 36 years) is a 110-story, 1,450-foot (442.1 m) skyscraper in Chicago. At completion in 1973, it surpassed the World Trade Center in New York to become the tallest building in the world, a title it held for nearly 25 years; it was the tallest building in the Western Hemisphere for 41 years, until the new One World Trade Center surpassed it in 2014. (from Wikipedia)

The Second City Comedy Club:  Come see where it all began! "The Best of The Second City" features some of the best sketches, songs, and improvisations from its fifty-eight year history performed by The Second City Touring Company. Join the next generation of comedy, the world's best and brightest performing hilarious sketch comedy and The Second City's trademark improvisation.

Broadway in Chicago:   "Once Upon a Time One More Time" A group of famous fairy tale princesses gather for their fortnightly book club, to read together from – well, the only book they’ve ever known – Grimm’s Fairy Tales. When Cinderella makes a desperate wish for a new story, a rogue fairy godmother drops  The Feminine Mystique  in her corseted lap. Oh baby, baby… could there really be more to life than bridesmaid dresses, friendships with woodland creatures, and dreams of a prince’s kiss?

Chicago Symphony Orchestra:   Join the debonair Max Raabe and his Palast Orchester for an evening of vintage glamour and sophistication at Symphony Center. The Berlin-based crooner performs ballroom hits of the 1920s and '30s, along with original songs and a few modern surprises. "Max Raabe likes to party like it's 1929" ( The New York Times ).

Steppenwolf Theatre production:  TBA, based on availability

The Goodman Theatre production:   "Molly Sweeney"   The unexpected consequences of a modern medical miracle come to light in this “astonishing meditation on hope, change and despair” ( The New York Times ).


The Atwood located in the Reliance Building:  Built from 1890 - 1895, the Reliance building was the first skyscraper to have large plate glass windows make up the majority of its surface area, a design feature that would become dominant in the 20th century. It has been termed the "first comprehensive achievement" of the Chicago construction method; Its steel-frame superstructure is built atop concrete caissons sunk as much as 125 feet beneath the footing. It was one of the first skyscrapers to offer electricity and phone service in all of its offices. In its first few decades, it provided office space for merchants and health professionals, including Al Capone's dentist. (from Wikipedia)

Lou Malnati's Pizzeria:   Lou Malnati got his start in the 1940's working in Chicago's first deep dish pizzeria, Pizzeria Uno. Some believed that Rudy Malnati, the father of Lou Malnati, invented the deep-dish pizza. Lou Malnati took his pizza expertise to Lincolnwood, a northern suburb of Chicago, where he and his wife Jean opened the first Lou Malnati's Pizzeria in 1971. Lou Malnati's is true Chicago style pizza, and its deep-dish pizza is referred to as a "pie." and is made with a thin crust of pizza dough laid in a seasoned deep-dish pizza pan and filled with ingredients. There are 56 locations in Chicago.

The Palmer House:   Opened September 26, 1871 and burned down 13 days later on October 9, 1871 in the Great Chicago Fire. Palmer immediately rebuilt and constructed one of the fanciest hotels worldwide in post-fire Chicago. Built mainly of iron and brick, the hotel was widely advertised as "The World's Only Fire Proof Hotel. The Palmer House was the city's first hotel with elevators and the first hotel with electric light bulbs and telephones in the guest rooms. It has also been dubbed the longest continuously operating hotel in North America. And, the Chocolate Brownie was invented by Bertha Palmer in 1893.

Uno's Pizza:  (Here lies the controversy) Who invented Chicago's deep-dish pizza?  The first Uno's was established in 1943 by Ike Sewell and Ric Riccardo, in the River North neighborhood of Chicago. Sewell claimed to have originated the deep-dish pizza style, but many believe that Rudy Malnati, the father of Lou Malnati, invented the deep-dish pizza while working for Sewell. Sewell opened two additional restaurants in response to Pizzeria Uno's popularity. Pizzeria Due opened one block north of the original Pizzeria Uno location in 1955 (Uno and Due are Italian for one and two).

The Green Door Tavern in Uptown:   In 1872, immediately following the Great Chicago Fire of 1871, James McCole built a two-story balloon frame wooden structure. Following the fire, Chicago passed a fire code ordinance prohibiting construction of wooden commercial buildings in the Central Business District. The Green Door is one of the few remaining frame structures built prior to the fire ordinance. The "racking" (leaning) of the building occurred shortly after the building settled and has been that way for over 100 years. The green door has been serving alcohol since 1921. The "green door" signified a speakeasy during prohibition and the business has retained the name ever since. Some of the interior design and fixtures date back to 1921.  

Daily Birding & Nature Tours
Chicago has a lot of great birding locations with lots of birds to see. Everyday there will be a morning and afternoon bird walks in park throughout Chicagoland. In the evenings there will be four operas and two Second City comedy events.

Click for Website Link

Beautiful Walks: There will be visits to the top birding spots in Chicago: Jackson Park, Washington Park, The Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum and North Pond Sanctuary, Douglas and Garfield Lagoons, Northerly Island, LaBagh Woods, Lincoln Park and Humboldt Park for birding.

Morning Bird Walks: Our lodging at the Congress Plaza Hotel is located across the street and easy walking to Grant Park, Millennium Park and the Maggie Daley Park. These areas are also good for morning birding walks.
Lodging in Chicago: The Congress Plaza Hotel, built in 1893, is not only one of the oldest hotels in Chicago, it is considered one of the most haunted hotels. Numerous presidents have stayed at the hotel including Grover Cleveland, William McKinley, Teddy Roosevelt, William Howard Taft, Woodrow Wilson, Warren Harding, Calvin Coolidge, and Franklin Roosevelt.  The hotel has great history and charm, it is located across the street from some of Chicago best parks and has great views of Lake Michigan,

Jackson Park: About 7-miles south of the Congress Plaza Hotel, south of downtown Chicago, is the 500-acre Jackson Park. The park is considered the best birding area and eBird hot spot in Chicagoland. The park was developed as part of the Chicago World's Fair in 1893. It is also the future site for the Barack Obama Presidential Center and Library.   

The Lyric Opera of Chicago: Since 1954, the Lyric Opera of Chicago has been producing world class operas at the Civic Opera House, which has 3,563 seats. The Art Deco building opened in 1929 and is the second largest opera house in the United States. The N.Y. Met. opera house is the largest, making Chicago once again, the "Second City" to New York. "Second City" is one of many Chicago nick-names.
Buckingham Fountain: Built in 1927, Buckingham Fountain is one of the largest fountains in the world; it contains 1.5 million gallons of water and can display 14,000 gallons per minute in the air. Our lodging is located across the street from this fountain, it is beautiful to see at night. Once I saw a Hermit Thrush near Buckingham never know what you might find flying through the city in springtime.
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International Travel Tours
We are expanding our tours in Asia, Africa and Europe
International Tours
  • Uganda: Birds, Wildlife and a chance to see the Mountain Gorillas and chimpanzees.
  • Sarawak and Northern Borneo: Birding and wildlife viewing, including orangutans
  • Sri Lanka: The best and most relaxing bird tour you will ever experience
  • Nepal: Birding the fantastic Himalayas and a great cultural experience
  • Mongolia: Birding the high steppes and staying in traditional "Gers" for lodging
  • Korea: Winter birding to view cranes and migrants
  • India: Birding for vegetarians, great culture and great food
  • Iceland: Three great tours in May and the best New Year's Eve trip ever
  • Sweden: Christmas tour, Southwest Sweden and the Åland Islands for mid-summers'
  • Nicaragua: Our all time favorite place for birding and traveling anytime of year
  • Taiwan: A very special place for birding and one of our favorites
  • Colombia: Birding the Andes and having a lot of fun
  • Colombia: Leticia and the Amazon
  • Argentina: Birds and butterflies, more than you can count

In the United States
  • Santa Fe Birding and Opera Festival

Your Dedicated Guides
Kaiyote & Ed
Photo: Here we are atop the Empire State Building in New York City.

We look forward to showing you all the great birds and wildlife and adventures that can be found around the world, the United States and in Washington state.

Call us anytime! See you soon!
Kaiyote Tours +1 970-556-6103