We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

“The right guide or ...”

Gray Line Tours Chicago
Book In Advance
More Info
and up
Chicago Explorer Pass
More Info
and up
Chicago Grand Half-Day Tour
More Info
and up
Chicago Grand Tour and Admission to 360 Chicago (formerly John Hancock...
Ranked #95 of 178 Tours in Chicago
Attraction details
Level 4 Contributor
32 reviews
15 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 17 helpful votes
“The right guide or ...”
Reviewed 14 June 2014

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.

Visited June 2014
1 Thank Isletravelall
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Write a Review

207 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Portuguese first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Atlanta, Georgia
Level 3 Contributor
19 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 24 helpful votes
“Great way to see city”
Reviewed 1 June 2014

With just a day in the city, the double decker bus was a great way to see the sights. Manny did a great job sharing the history of the city with us. He even dropped us off at our hotel at the end of the tour. Beautiful sunny day in Chicago. Can't wait to bring our kids back to see all the sights! Thanks Manny!

Visited May 2014
Thank JSinCO
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Level 4 Contributor
27 reviews
8 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
“Paul & Michelle were Great”
Reviewed 30 May 2014 via mobile

We were a private tour picked up in Joliet. Since we started our tour at 8 am, we hit a bit of rush hour traffic. It was great to see our tour guide Paul and driver Michelle quickly discuss the situation and re work the tour so we could hop off the highway and get started rather than loose valuable tour time on the highway. Paul was an expert tour leader, full of facts and interesting stories. He gave us two bathroom breaks at interesting places and a LakeMichigan/downtown photo opp. We enjoyed how the guide and driver continually worked together to design our route to give us the best drive by experience. Paul's commentary throughout the tour was top notch.
On the return trip the bus had a tire blow out. She expertly pulled over with flashers on. A state police escorted us off the highway to a safe place for the bus to park and for us to get out. I was pleased with Michell's ability to handle that big bus both during the tour driving downtown and during the tire problem.
Kuddos to Paul and Michelle for a great tour.

Thank AmazingMA
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
1 review
“Complete waste of time!!! Horrible quality And service”
Reviewed 23 May 2014 via mobile

Had to get out of first bus because fumes were coming from the wheels that were asphyxiating my daughter. They told me there was a bus "immediately behind". I had to wait 20 minutes for re next one and when I hopped on the THERE WAS NO TOUR GUIDE!!!! Had to hop off again and had to wait for 39 minutes for the next one (three buses of the competition went by).

Visited May 2014
Thank Alonso V
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Woodburn, Oregon, United States
Level 4 Contributor
31 reviews
11 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
“Best Customer Service - ever!”
Reviewed 13 May 2014

Where do I start? I have just returned from a vacation in Chicago. We did the Go Card Chicago, and one of the attractions was the On and Off tour bus by Gray Line. Our tour guide was Manny and he was awesome! He gave us an informative and entertaining tour. The Gray Line offers a two-day pass and we went back the second day. We were so impressed with Manny that we waited for his tour on day two. I suggest riding the tour around full circle before getting off and starting your adventure. Not only did Manny give us the standard tour, he also offered some fun facts.

My review is twofold because on day two after we disembarked the bus we ventured out and had a great day. We found a pick up spot at the end of the day in the midst of a thunder and lightening storm. After waiting on a few moments we found a Gray Line tour bus (as we found out, this is not the same as the on and off bus), and the driver Johnathon offered to take us to the stop closest to our hotel. Along the way he too gave us a great tour of the downtown area. Johnathon took pity on us because the weather was so bad and drove us right to our hotel. The customer service was great! I would highly recommend Gray Line in Chicago and will likely use them in other vacations.

Visited May 2014
1 Thank Tina F
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

Been to Gray Line Tours Chicago? Share your experiences!

Write a Review Add Photos & Videos

Owners: What's your side of the story?

Own or manage this property? Claim your listing for free to respond to reviews, update your profile and much more.

Claim Your Listing