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Go Inside Chicago With an Expert

Explore the Beauty and Architecture of Chicago on Foot

While the usual tours of Chicago typically include a bus or a boat, Hillary Marzec, the owner of Inside Chicago Walking Tours swears the best way to experience the city is on foot. She founded the company after having worked as a guide on one of Chicago’s river boat tours from 2008 to 2013. During her experience as a guide, she taught herself about the city and decided that perhaps walking tours were the best way to see the city and view the same architecture up close, instead of from the river. “Getting out on foot, there’s infinitely more that you can experience,” she explains.

Possessing a Master’s degree in the field of comparative literature, in other words- a contextual way of understanding literature, has resulted in Marzec’s engaging style of storytelling- one of the reasons her tours are so popular. As she explains it, “Rather than telling people the Sears Tower is the tallest building… I put it in the context of showing people those two buildings within one vantage point. We can see how far architecture went in less than 100 years.” By putting the content within her tours into context, it allows visitors to see, as she describes, “Not just the art of architecture, but the human work, inspiration, success, failures, and it puts the humanity back into architecture.”

Inside ChicagoThe way in which Marzec provokes her guests to think in a different way is one aspect that sets Inside Chicago apart from other city tours. “Rather than giving people a laundry list of dates, facts and names in a big showoff of what I know, I’m equipping people with a different way of seeing the city. People are made to think critically,” she says.  Evidence that these tours can make even a native see the city in a different light came in the form of a great compliment for her.  She describes, “A guy in his late 60s, having grown up in Chicago, took two of my tours with his wife. They liked the tours so much they arranged for a tour with their children when they were home for Christmas break. After, he pulled me aside and said, ‘I’ve known this city for 60 years and I’ve never looked at it this way before’”.

Marzec believes Chicago is a must-visit destination due to its architecture, “You don’t have to be an architecture buff to be super impressed with it. It’s a beautiful city.” She also cites Chicago as being very livable- not only for residents but for visitors spending time in The Windy City. “Chicago is a big city. An urban place with a Midwestern mentality. The people are hardworking, friendly and approachable.”

For those visiting, there are a few spots Marzec always recommends: The Chicago History Museum, The Driehaus Museum, The Lincoln Park Conservatory, Green Mill Cocktail Lounge, Cindy’s Rooftop Restaurant.

Insider Tip from Marzec- For the best views, go to the Adler Planetarium steps to enjoy panoramic, post-card views of Chicago.

Looking for a bite to eat? She suggests: ORIGINAL Pizzeria Uno, Al’s Italian Beef, Lao Sze Chuan (in Chinatown), Demera Ethiopian Restaurant, Bang Bang Pie Shop

-By Ettractions Digital Content Editor, PAULA MARINO

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