* Chicago, IL *

Chicago Bus Tours from Toronto

Visit Chicago, one of the most populous cities in the U.S, on our four day and three night Chicago Bus Tours from Toronto. Chicago is a contemporary city full of charisma with visitors from all over the world. Our guided bus city tour includes round-trip transportation by coach, accommodations at a 4-star hotel close to downtown and full daily breakfasts at the hotel.

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Top tour highlights include:

» Michigan Ave (Famous Magnificent Mile)
» Water Tower & Pump Station
» Chicago Tribune; Wrigley Building
» Tales of Chicago
» United Center; Famous Bronze statue of Michael Jordan
» Grant Park (built using rubble from the Chicago Fire); Buckingham Fountains
» Pass the field where Barack Obama delivered his acceptance speech in 2008. Cultural Center
» Drive through China Town
» Greek Town
» Millennium Park
» Tour through “The Loop” (major corporation headquarters)

During your free time, experience Chicago’s famous Architectural Cruise along the Chicago River where you will see over 40 landmarks of modern American architecture. This tour is sure to please! Chicago is a contemporary, multicultural city full of charisma with attractions and activities sure to please everyone! Join COMFORT TOUR CANADA today on our frequent Chicago Bus Tours from Toronto !

For more details about the tour itinerary, hotels and prices, please visit our website: http://comforttour.ca/holiday/chicago-bus-tours-from-toronto/

Small World in a Big World- Chicago’s Greek Town

The first Greeks in Chicago arrived as ship captains in the 1840s. They started out as food peddlers and, by natural progression, became restaurant owners. Around the turn of the century, the Greeks concentrated around the Harrison, Blue Island and Halsted area, originally known as the as Delta but later re-named as Greek Town. During the 1960s, Greek Town was displaced by the Eisenhower Expressway and the University of Illinois at Chicago, forcing a move north a few blocks.

In 1968, gyros and saganaki (flaming cheese) were introduced in this country by Chicago’s Greek Town. From 1970 to 1990, most of the current restaurants and businesses opened, and the Taste of Greece summer festival became a tradition. In 1996, the City of Chicago helped erect traditional Greek temples and pavilions at the major intersections in Greek Town.

Today Old World traditions are prevalent in the many establishments of Greek Town. The language is still heard in the neighborhood, and the community comes together during the annual Greek Independence Day parade, the Taste of Greece and the days surrounding Greek Easter.

You will have free time during our Chicago bus tour. What restaurants in Chicago’s Greek Town are worth to be visiting?

Athena: An excellent summer patio sets this Greek restaurant apart from the rest. The outdoor space is a three-tiered affair that features brick walkways, 30-foot trees, colorful flowers, and a waterfall. The menu features classic Greek dishes, including braised lamb, dolmades, and moussaka. Warm pita bread, seafood kabobs, and eggplant dishes are solid choices as well.

Carmichael’s Chicago Steak House: This steakhouse is one that’s down to earth and proud of the top quality meat and seafood served by its kitchen. The interior is welcoming with oak paneling, brass accents, and black-and-white photos. Upon arrival at your table, you’ll receive a warm welcome with a piping hot basket of rolls and a large menu. Sit down and peruse the lengthy list. You’re sure to find something to hit the spot, whether it’s a rib-eye steak, a filet mignon, or planked Atlantic salmon.

Greek Islands: Greek Islands separates itself from the pack with festive atmosphere and a professional wait staff. Indeed, the flavorful restaurant has managed to garner a fair amount of local praise and delicious dolmades, moussaka, and lamb kokkinisto make it easy to see why. If seafood is more your style, fresh lavraki is flown in daily and broiled octopus is ideal for adventurous palates.

Parthenon: This restaurant stays open late, feeding hungry patrons after other restaurants have shut their doors. The menu includes a host of traditional mezes: you can try a platter of sausages, liver, sweetbreads, and meatballs, or sample spinach cheese pie. Main selections encompass a delectable roster of lamb, vegetable, potato, and chicken dishes. Try chicken karama, chicken simmered with tomatoes and herbs and served with rice pilafi or okra. The interior features Greek landscapes.

Have a look at our Chicago bus tour itinerary and plan your lunch time in Greek Town!

Summer in Chicago 2013

Chicago comes alive in the summer, when street fairs and parties take over neighborhoods every weekend. When on our bus tours to Chicago, here are some of city’s best summertime festivals and events that you cannot miss!

WTMX Party in the Park
When: June, 06– August, 29

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Meet with THE MIX and Bud Select at ‘Party in the Park’ which takes place outside at The Park Grill Restaurant on the plaza at Millennium Park.

Sausage Fest Chicago
When: June, 15– June, 16

It’s all about encased meat treats at this tasty and tantalizing fest held adjacent to iconic Wrigley Field. Returning to the Lake View neighborhood for its second year, Sausage Fest vendors will include several of the Windy City’s best-known butcher/meat shops and restaurants.

Lake Forest Festival & Fireworks
When: July, 04

This affluent North Shore suburb celebrates Independence Day with a community celebration featuring food, a beer garden, live music and activities for kids–all culminating in a gala fireworks display.

Roscoe Village Burger Fest
When: July, 13- July, 14

Tantalizing and mouth-watering burgers from some of Chicago’s finest restaurants PLUS a fantastic music lineup are just a few of the highlights of the seventh annual Roscoe Village Burger Fest on Belmont at Damen.

Northalsted Market Days®
When: August, 10- August, 11

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Fun! Eclectic! Exciting! People-Watching Galore! These are just a few of the ways to describe the 32nd annual Northalsted Market Days, the largest two-day street fair in the Midwest. Another big draw of Northalsted Market Days are the 400 food and unique arts & craft vendors.

Taste of Latin America
When: August, 23- August, 25

Now in its second year and supported by Chicago Alderman Roberto Maldonado, a gala weekend celebration of all things Central and South American. Eclectic (and exotic) cuisine … live music … arts & crafts … cooking demonstrations and much more are part of this festival’s mix that showcases a rich multi-country heritage and Latin culture.

The History of the Chicago Tribune Newspaper and the Tribune Tower

During our tour to Chicago, we will visit the Tribune Tower that is a neo-Gothic building located at 435 North Michigan Avenue in Chicago, Illinois, USA. It is the home of the Chicago Tribune and Tribune Company (second-largest newspaper publisher). The Tribune Tower is listed as a Chicago landmark and is a contributing property to the Michigan –Wacker Historic District.

Here are some interesting facts about The Chicago Tribune Newspaper:
Joseph Forrest, John Wheeler and James Kelly founded the Tribune in 1847 and quickly adopted nativist and temperance positions that forecast its editorial policies for more than a century. The newspaper went through a series of owners and editors and eventually became a strong supporter of the Republican Party with an abolitionist stance and unwavering support of Abraham Lincoln.

Between the 1910s and the 1950s, the Tribune prospered under the leadership of Medill’s grandson Robert R. McCormick. Calling his operation the “World’s Greatest Newspaper,” McCormick succeeded in raising daily circulation from 230.000 in 1912 to 650.000 by 1925, when the Tribune stood as the city’s most widely read paper. In 1925, when it moved into the Tribune Tower, the paper employed about two thousand men and women. During the 1930s and 1940s, McCormick used the Tribune’s editorial pages to attack the New Deal (series of economic programs) and promote isolationism and anti-Communism.

McCormick died in 1955 but the Tribune continued its conservative policies, supporting Sen. Joseph McCarthy’s efforts to investigate Communism in the U.S. By the late 1960s the paper softened its editorial policies to better reflect Chicago’s widely diverse ethnic population. It scooped its competitors in 1974 by publishing the full text of the Watergate tapes in 1974 and called for Richard Nixon’s resignation.

The Chicago Tribune after 2000 suffered significant circulation declines, losing 5.8 percent of its weekday readership in 2008 and exceeding the national average 4.7 percent among the nation’s 507 newspapers. The Tribune Company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on December 8, 2008. Today this one of the largest and most respected U.S. newspapers, Chicago Tribune is under threat of extinction.

How was the Tribune Tower built?
In 1922, the Chicago Daily Tribune organized a competition for the most beautiful and eye-catching building in the world. Raymond Hood – who later built the Rockefeller Center in New York – and John Howell won the first place due to their familiar Gothic design and because the building fulfilled the needs of the newspaper best.

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An interesting fact is that the Tribune Tower contains many famous stones incorporated in the wall, including rock fragments from the Alamo, the Colosseum and the Chinese Wall. A steel fragment from the World Trade Center in New York is also added to the wall. All these objects are labeled and visible from the street level. The most famous part of the collection is a moon rock which is not incorporated in the building but on display behind a glass window.

With its decorative buttresses at the top, the Chicago Tribune Tower remains a remarkable architectural monument.

A Taste of Chicago

If you are a bit of a food fanatic and enjoy a great day out, don’t miss the ever popular annual Taste of Chicago festival from July 10 – 14, 2013.  This is not only Chicago’s biggest event but is now the largest food festival in the world bringing together more than 3 million visitors of different nationalities from the United States and around the globe.

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The venue for the Taste of Chicago is the beautiful, lakeside Grant Park in downtown Chicago, next to Monroe harbor where the Chicago skyline provides a stunning backdrop.  This 319 acre park has hosted the event since 1980, when it was a low key food festival, right through to present day. In its 33 years, the Taste has just gotten bigger and better.  In 2013 over 70 restaurateurs will be offering a wide range of tempting and delicious fare from traditional Chicago cuisine to ethnically influenced dishes which can be found throughout the Windy City.

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If you want to be traditional, stick with Chicago-style pizza, Chicago-style hot dogs, ribs or giant turkey legs.  On the other hand, throw caution to the wind and dine out on Italian beef, Polish sausage or a delicious goat biryani – an Asian rice dish made with goat meat and a variety of cheeky spices.

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Chicago’s top gourmet restaurants will also be present giving you the opportunity to taste their goods.  In fact with over 300 dishes you may worry that your taste buds will be overloaded.  But have no fear – the vendors will sell small taster dishes to whet your appetite before you settle on one dish and make a true meal of it.

The Taste of Chicago 2013 is not all about food.  There is a wide variety of entertainment all day long including cooking demonstrations by top chefs at the Dominick’s Cooking Corner.  The kids will never be bored with so many things to see and do –  take them to the kids’ activity area to burn off a little energy before you gather together to eat your meal and watch some free live music.  These performances take place on various stages where local and regional acts are invited to perform.  Additionally, the evening concerts at the Petrillo Music Shell usually feature internationally known acts – in the past Moby, Carlos Santana, Chaka Khan and Kenny Rogers have all graced the stage.  For 2013 keep an eye out for the announcement of the Taste of Chicago concert lineup in mid-April.

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Other facts:

Entrance Price:  Admission to the festival is free although tickets for the music entertainment in front of the Petrillo Music Shell are likely to be around $25.  You can also enjoy the performances from the nearby lawn, with capacity for 30,000 spectators, for free.

Food Purchase:  Stallholders don’t accept cash. You must purchase ‘taste tickets’ which are sold in blocks of 12 for $8.  You’ll need 2-3 tickets for a taster portion, 4 tickets for a soft drink and larger meals will set you back around 9-10 tickets.

The Taste of Chicago is a great day out with plenty of food and plenty of entertainment.  Check out the 2013 Taste of Chicago on an empty stomach – you won’t be disappointed.