Q: Why do you offer free tours?
A: Free Tours by Foot offers tours at no upfront cost. In fact, our tours operate on a pay-what-you-like model. We believe that everybody should be able to enjoy an educational tour experience and discover and learn about this great city of Chicago, regardless of your budget. We also strongly believe that you should not have to pay for a tour in advance, without having experienced it first. We think that you should decide how much you think the tour was worth when the tour is finished. As you can imagine, our tour guides have to work extra hard to earn your appreciation. How much did you like your tour and guide? You name the price.
Q: Do I have to make a reservation or can I just show up?
A: Yes. Reservations are required
for guaranteed spots on all tours. Reservations help us determine the number of guides we need to ensure that our groups remain manageable and enjoyable, and they allow us to notify you of changes to the tour due to weather or anything that could disturb the tours. Groups of 6 or more MUST contact us before reserving
. Walk-up guests for these tours will be permitted if space is available. However, we strongly suggest contacting us before walking up to a tour.
Q: Why should I submit my phone number when making a reservation?
A: This is optional. You will receive your reservation confirmation and a reminder on the day before your tour via email. We do recommend, however, that you hand in a phone number by which you can be reached on the day of the tour. This way, your tour guide can get in touch with you if there are any short notice changes to the tour.
Q: We are a group of six or more. Why can’t we make a reservation online?
A: Groups of 6 or more MUST contact us
before reserving. From experience we know that larger groups have the tendency to bail on us last minute or to involuntarily interrupt the tour. We want all our tour guests to enjoy the tour, therefore, we cannot allow groups of 6 or larger. Sorry. You are welcome to book a private tour for your groups of 6 or larger.
Q: What happens if we arrive late to the tour?
A: Please, please, please try to be on time. We recommend arriving at the starting location ca. 10 minutes before the tour starts. We also recommend checking with your concierge or online how much time you need to make it to the tour on time and allow some extra buffer time. You don’t want to be the person arriving late and having to call and interrupt the guide in the middle of a tour. Your email reminder that you receive the day before the tour should list the tour guide’s name and phone number. Any late arrivals with reservations who do not contact us may have their reserved spots allotted to walk-up guests. Not contacting us or at a very late notice might affect your future reservations.
Q: I have changed my mind and cannot come to the tour. Do I have to let you know?
A: Yes! Please give us at least a 24-hour notice before your tour starts. Our number of spots are limited and we often have to send away interested guests, because there is no more space. By letting us know in time (at least 24 hours ahead) that you cannot make it, we can open up the extra spot to other interested guests. We do work on the honor system, so please understand that if you make a reservation and don’t show up or bail on us last minute, that this might affect your future reservations.
Q: Do the tours ever get cancelled for weather?
A: The show must go on! Our tours go out rain or shine. Dress appropriately for the conditions. If the weather is bad your guide will include as many “bad weather” indoor stops as possible. Comfortable walking shoes are recommended. However, Free Tours by Foot may cancel or postpone the tour due to extreme weather. Please contact us or check our website for updates.
Q: Do the tours end where they start?
A: No. Each tour ends at a different location. For a map and directions from the tour, including mass transit, please check out the individual tour pages, as well as the details button when booking the specific tour.
Q: What is an appropriate amount for a name-your-own-price tour?
A: Another good question. People always ask why we offer tours for no upfront cost that our competitors charge good money for? Well, we feel that everyone should have the opportunity to enjoy a tour at a price they can afford, so our tours are “name your own price”. We also think that you should not pay for a tour, if you have not yet experienced it. Loved your tour and tour guide? Let him or her know! We appreciate whatever you feel is fair. You name the price. We are that confident in the quality of our tours. How can you beat that?
Q: Will my kids like these tours?
A: That really depends on your kid. But generally all of our tours are suitable for children. Our tours are designed to be suitable for people of all ages.
Q: How long are the walks?
A: Most of our tours are a little over one mile (1.6k) in length. The tours are approximately 2 hours in length.
Q: How much does it cost to do a private tour?
A: Check our Private Group Tour
link for more details.