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From Fairground to Film Set: Chicago's Midway, Movies, and the 1893 World's Fair

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About

75 min

0.5 mi.

10 guests

$29.99

Join the only walking tour that explores the Midway's 130-year history with movies

Journey back in time From Fairground to Film Set as you discover Chicago's movie history in an entirely new way! 


Step into the heart of the 1893 Chicago World's Fair as you explore the Midway Plaisance and its fascinating history. As you walk the Midway, you'll retrace the footsteps of millions who experienced a groundbreaking fusion of entertainment, culture, and technological advancement over a century ago!


Your itinerary on this 75-minute guided walking tour includes 5 must-see stops on the Midway and the University of Chicago's campus, each brimming with historic—and cinematic—significance. 


Along the tree-lined route (0.5 mi.), your tour guide, a knowledgeable Ph.D., will relay little-known stories about the first cinema screenings, the first female action star, and a murderous cinematographer—yes, you read that right! 


As with all of our guided movie tours, your experience on From Fairground to Film Set: Chicago's Midway, Movies, and the 1893 World's Fair will be enhanced with a variety of media: film clips, photos, screenshots, and vintage movie fan magazines. Also, exclusive to this tour, you'll experience firsthand how a 19th-century moving picture device enthralled early audiences.


So, whether you're a seasoned cinephile or simply seeking an unforgettable stroll through Chicago's cinematic past, don't miss your chance to join us for From Fairground to Film Set: Chicago's Midway, Movies, and the 1893 World's Fair!


Note: This limited Chicago movie tour is available on Sunday mornings to give you the most accurate and unobstructed view of the Midway's monumental sculpture Fountain of Time.

Movies/TV Highlighted

  • Loki (2021– )

  • Nope (2022) 

  • South Side (2019-2022)

  • Flatliners (1990)

  • The Package (1989)

  • Sunset Boulevard (1950)

  • Chicago the Beautiful (1948)

  • Meet Me in St. Louis (1944)

  • Sue (1915)

  • The Hazards of Helen (1914-1917)

  • The Horse in Motion (1880)

Public Tour Dates

Sunday

Jun 30, 2024

3:00 PM

Sunday

Sep 29, 2024

4:00 PM

Tour Specifics

Start/End Points

The tour starts at 6016 S. Ingleside Ave, Chicago, IL. Please arrive about 10 min. before the tour begins. The tour ends at 6000 S. Cottage Grove Ave.


Waivers

Guests must initial a digital general waiver of liability with Chicago Movie Tours when they book. Guardians must sign waivers for children under the age of 18.


Parking/Transportation

If available, free parking spots run along the Midway, Best Drive, and Payne Drive. For public transit: the Green Line runs from Chicago's Loop to S. Cottage Grove. Our starting point is about a 10-minute walk from the Cottage Grove 'L' station.


Accessibility

All 5 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.


What to Bring

Please wear weather-appropriate clothing. This tour runs in mild rain or shine. NOTE: Sheltering options are limited on this all-outdoor tour, so if the weather is too bad, we will reschedule. 


Restrooms

A Jewel-Osco grocery store with a public restroom is near the end of our tour route. A restroom may also be available in Logan Center for the Arts, next to Midway Studios.


Children

Guests ages 10 and up can attend.


Photography/Video

No video or audio recording of the tour, but take as many pictures as you'd like!


Cancellations and Refunds

You may cancel or amend your reservation 48 hours or more before the tour departs. Read more Tour Terms and Conditions.

Private Tours

Yes, you may book this tour as a private or group tour! 


The private tour price listed below is a flat fee for up to 9 guests. If you have more than 9 in your party, please contact us so we can accommodate you.


NOTE: this movie tour works best on weekend mornings to give you the most accurate and unobstructed view of the Midway's monumental sculpture Fountain of Time.

What's Included

  • 5 must-see stops on the Midway and the University of Chicago campus

  • Expert commentary from a Ph.D. in film

  • Small groups to enhance engagement and foster a more personalized experience

  • Clips and vintage photos that enhance the Midway's film history

  • Demonstration of 19th-century moving picture device

  • Plenty of Instagram opportunities

  • Free parking

  • Mini (movie-themed) goodie bag! 💙

Reviews

Halle

From Fairground to Film Set

average rating is 5 out of 5
A very smart tour! Tour guide was very informative and great communicating with people! We were a few minutes late and she communicated well with us to make sure we caught up with the group!

May 6, 2024

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Joseph

From Fairground to Film Set

average rating is 5 out of 5

May 5, 2024

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Ellen B

From Fairground to Film Set

average rating is 5 out of 5
Really enjoyed Chicago Movie Tour @ Midway! Kelli does a terrific job of bringing history to life with the Chicago movies as her back drop. Our family toured old Joliet prison with her yesterday and really enjoyed this one as well! Very well worth the time. Kelli knows her stuff and is a terrific host!

May 22, 2022

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