Chicago's grassy Midway was the place to be in 1893!
At the 1893 World's Columbian Exposition, the Midway was home to the fair's amusements. There, you would have marveled at belly dancers, an ostrich farm, the original ferris wheel—and, arguably, the first cinema!
On this all-outdoor walking tour, hit five spots on Chicago's historic Midway Plaisance as you learn about their connections to both early cinema and modern movies:
At Midway Studios and Taft House, get acquainted with Lorado Taft: sculptor, teacher, writer, and early adopter of moving pictures.
In the presence of Recording Angel, see Hollywood's first female action star in motion.
On the Midway's green space, envision the first commercial movie theater.
Finally, stand in awe of Fountain of Time, a 126-foot-long sculpture that has inspired both classic and modern filmmakers.
Join us on the Midway, and discover Chicago's film history in an entirely new way!
Approx. 1 hour
Movies and TV series featured on this tour
The Lions (2021)
The Package (1989)
Sunset Boulevard (1950)
Chicago the Beautiful (1948)
The Hazards of Helen (1914–1917)
The Horse in Motion (1880)
The tour starts at 6016 S. Ingleside Ave, Chicago, IL. Please arrive at least 10 min. before the tour begins.
The tour ends at 6000 S. Cottage Grove Ave.
All five locations we visit have sidewalks, crosswalks, and ramps. The road we cross to visit Fountain of Time does not have a crosswalk designated for pedestrians.
A Jewel-Osco grocery store with a public restroom is near the end of our tour route.
Roughly 15 guests
Fully vaccinated guests are preferred on all Chicago movie tours. Your tour guide, Kelli, has been fully vaccinated.
If you are fully vaccinated, you are not required to wear a mask on this tour since it takes place entirely outdoors. Unvaccinated guests should wear masks that cover their mouth and nose.
Guests ages 10 and up can attend.
If available, free parking spots run along the Midway, Best Drive, and Payne Drive.
Public transit: the Green Line runs from Chicago's Loop to S. Cottage Grove. Our starting point, 6016 S. Ingleside Avenue, is about a 10-minute walk from the Cottage Grove "L" station.
What to Wear
Weather-appropriate clothing. Tours run rain or shine.
No video or audio recording of the tour, but take as many pictures as you’d like!
What's included on this walking tour?
Expert tour guide commentary
Clips and vintage photos that enhance the Midway's film history
Demonstration of 19th-century moving picture devices
Plenty of Instagram opportunities
Mini goodie bag! 💙