Chicago, Illinois audio tour: Chicago Off the Grid: An Alternative Guide to River North

Chicago Off the Grid: An Alternative Guide to River North

Walking Tour

30 mins

About the Tour

Forget stuffy museums and get lost in the beauty of Chicago's urban jungle on this Off the Grid walking tour. It showcases unique aspects of the city's history as well as some of its hottest spots and hardest-to-find gems. You'll visit places that are difficult to find without a local to guide you and point out significant places you might otherwise pass right by.

At the start of the tour, you’ll discover where the legendary Chicago-style pizza was born. From there, we’ll head deeper into the River North neighbourhood where I’ll show you buildings from Chicago's growth period after the Great Fire of 1871. (You’ll hear one of Chicago's most heart-breaking tragedies, and why several buildings around the city are haunted because of it.) Then you’ll get the lowdown on trendy spots you might want to visit again and again in this ultra-stylish, ultra-urban district of art galleries, boutique shops, restaurants, bakeries, coffee houses, trendy bars and clubs.

River North is the go-to area for design-lovers, and it's packed with history-defining buildings and stunning architecture. Come with me and uncover the local treasures of Chicago!

Tour Producer


Maria Bar

Hi, I’m Maria and I’m excited to share a bit of Chicago with you! A Midwesterner through and through, I grew up with Chicago in my backyard and have been discovering new things to love about the city ever since. With a background in the performing arts, broadcasting and experiential education, I have an interesting mix of experiences – I've worked as an actor in theatre, film, tv, and even in hospitals. I've taught international students in Prague, Vienna, and Berlin, as well as all over the United States. I became a tour guide to combine some of the things l love most: talking about Chicago’s history, architecture and beautiful landmarks,
bragging about our theatre scene, food options, and sports teams and continuing to walk the city and discover new things. I’ve done a fair amount of traveling, but have many areas still in my “Places To Go” list....Africa, China, Iceland, Thailand, Ireland, etc., etc., etc. But for now, I'm a tourist in my own city. Join me!

Major Landmarks

  • Pizzeria Uno

  • Medinah Temple

  • Tree Studios

  • P.O.S.H.

  • Redhead Piano Bar

  • The Old Historical Society

  • The Ohio House Motel

Directions to Starting Point

Pizzeria Uno is on the corner of Ohio and Wabash in the River North neighborhood of Chicago. (29 East Ohio Street) Just two blocks west of Michigan Ave. Head west (away from the lake) on Ohio from Michigan Ave. and you'll see Pizzeria Uno on the south side of Ohio in just two blocks.

Show Directions
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Places to stop along the way

L.A. Burdick's at the Tree Studio Shops, The Berkshire Room or Pops Champagne for cocktails in the evening, West Town Bakery for a delicious treat, Eataly, The Goddess Cafe, etc.

Best time of day

Mid-morning is a nice time to stroll through River North....and you'll find lots of places to stop for lunch after the tour. OR if you'd like to go after lunch, you'll be at the perfect lunch spot to start the tour, Pizzeria Uno!


River North is usually very safe. The crowd picks up at night with ample opportunity for night life.


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Chicago Off the Grid: An Alternative Guide to River North