We bought the Go Chicago card and it included a Gray Line tour and the hop-on-hop-off bus.
North Side Tour is led by Paul and he gave a good and personal tour. Many sites of the downtown are included -- the loop, Daley Plaza, Magnificent Mile. We drive north on Lake Shore Drive all the while Paul is sharing his knowledge. We go to Lincoln Park and make a quick stop at the conservatory; a giant 124-year-old greenhouse! It is beautiful inside, several rooms and each one with a different humidity level and temperature. Paul also walks us into the Lincoln Zoo to see the baby Rhino but it isn't on display, on to the Polar Bears and they aren't out, the Giraffes are missing as well. Someone comments that the zoo is free because it doesn't have any animals -- HA! Continuing the tour we pass a few gangster sites including a church with one bullet hole remaining as a reminder of the violence. He tells us of places to eat and all things Chicago that should not to be missed. Good tour, Paul!
Back at the Palmer Hotel we get on the hop-on-hop-off double decker bus. Our guide is Victor; he is great at his job and customer service. Victor is talking, giving information, announcing stops, and answering questions. He tells us that Grant Park has a statue of Lincoln and Lincoln Park has a statue of Grant ... a bit mixed up! We hop off the bus to tour the planetarium but when we come out, who is the guide? Victor! So glad, as he is funny, respectful and informative -- love his tour. He also has a great relationship with the driver who honks in agreement with his comments on occasion. This driver hears Victor so they are in communication. Victor also asks people we pass if they are waiting to board, he realizes they may not know where the official stops are or may have been dropped in a different location. He is considerate and great asset to Gray Line!
Next day, back to Palmer Hotel for hop-on-hop-off again. Today, this bus only has the open-air top and no interior seats. Anton is our guide; he gives a good tour with a different perspective than the day before. Much if the information is the same, but his spin is more gritty, political and real. We enjoyed our tour with Anton but unfortunately we disembarked at the Sears Tower due to rain and waited for the next trolley in order to be be inside. Next tour guide is Joe; he is doing his job and nothing more. No personality, no passion for the city, no customer service. A foreign couple asked to be dropped at 360 Chicago. As we passed the John Hancock, they didn't know it was the same place ... Joe doesn't bother to tell them. We wanted to hop off near Marshall Fields; we come to block 37 and I ask if the driver will stop. Joe responds, "the driver should stop." We drive several more blocks and Joe says, "I guess the driver isn't going to stop." A normal stop IS Block 37 for the hop-on-hop-off so I'm not sure why we didn't stop. But, Joe should have communication with the driver since there aren't ropes to pull to request a stop. Joe is an average Joe and I would recommend you wait for the next trolley if you want personality and/or customer service. I sure wish we could have continued this day with Anton as our guide.
Overall our experience was good and I'm glad I had time to do the hop-on-hop-off for three trips. The Gray Line North Tour was also a good way to see many sites in a short period of time, gaining information and history.
Own or manage this property? Claim your listing for free to respond to reviews, update your profile and much more.