Meat-packing. Gangsters. Prohibition. Ring a bell? Chicago is a city rich in history. From the Pullman Historic District to the Biograph Theater, you can experience the wonder of Chicago first hand at these destinations. Top off your tour with a trip to a speakeasy-themed restaurant or a dinner theater for a more in-depth take on Chicago’s past.
The Pullman Historic District
In the late 1800s, George M. Pullman decided to create a model neighborhood for his workers. The factory town featured idealized residences, indoor plumbing, a school and a church. Over the last century, this historic neighborhood has managed to narrowly avoid redevelopment. Learn more about his vision here, and be sure to check out the Clock Tower and Hotel Florence.
Garden of the Dead
Tomb Raider isn’t just for the movies. Long ago, grave robbers opened up coffins to find riches, jewelry, and precious items. Discover some of the hidden truths of improper burials and grave robbers at the Garden of the Dead. This project is based at the Chicago City Cemetery and explores the incidents that led to the development of Lincoln Park.
One of Chicago’s most notorious gangsters, John Dillinger, met his end at the Biograph Theater. After an enjoyable time at the theater, he walked out of the building into an FBI ambush. After pulling his weapon, Dillinger was shot down. While the theater has been remade into the Victory Gardens Theater, the site is still available for history lovers to check out.
Chicago Cultural Center
Experience history first hand at the Chicago Cultural Center. The museum occupies an entire block on Michigan Avenue, so you can’t miss it. Here, you’ll notice striking details like the gold leaf columns that commemorate The Civil War, and the world’s biggest Tiffany glass dome. Built in 1897, this historic landmark primarily serves as a reception area for visiting dignitaries. Lectures, tours and music events are also held at the center.
Graceland Cemetery and Bohemian National Cemetery
Within Graceland Cemetery, you will discover the burial sites of some of Chicago’s most elite residents. Of particular note are the graves of George Pullman, Marshall Field, Bertha Palmer, and Louis Sullivan. A guided tour by a local historian costs $25 for non-members. For another cemetery, check out the Bohemian National Cemetery. Created in 1877, this cemetery encompasses 123 acres of mausoleums, grave markers, and historic buildings. The site also includes a memorial to the victims of the 1915 Eastland Disaster.
Constructed in 1887, the Glessner House was once the home of Henry Hobson Richardson Glessner. An icon for architect lovers, Glessner’s house has been restored to its former glory, with furniture from the 19th and 20th centuries.
The Chicago Water Tower
Built in 1869, the Chicago Water Tower managed to survive the great Chicago fire of 1871. Made from limestone, it looks like a palace. It stands 154 feet high and was chosen to be the first American Water Landmark in the United States.
Experience the historic architecture, stories, and landmarks of Chicago through these various sites. Offered in tour packages, these destinations are ideal for history buffs and gangster enthusiasts. Plan ahead and enjoy one of Chicago’s top destinations on your next stay.