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New Tour Company Uses The City’s L’s to Explore Unique Neighborhoods

6/12/2019, noon | Updated on 6/12/2019, noon
There’s much more to touring Chicago than viewing downtown skyscrapers from a sightseeing boat or tour bus. Chicago is a ...
Tom Schaffner, a retired corporate communications executive, journalist and self-proclaimed Chicagophile founded Enter L Stop Tours earlier this year which uses Chicago’s L to transport guests on tours to various city neighborhoods. In this photo, a Pink Line train approaches Randolph/Wabash. Photo Credit: Douglas Rahden

New Tour Company Uses The City’s L’s to Explore Unique Neighborhoods

There’s much more to touring Chicago than viewing downtown skyscrapers from a sightseeing boat or tour bus. Chicago is a city of 77 communities and approximately 180 distinct and diverse neighborhoods. You haven’t seen Chicago if you haven’t been to the neighborhoods.

Tom Schaffner, a retired corporate communications executive, journalist and self-proclaimed Chicagophile, came to that conclusion about a year ago while giving his own personal “Tour of Chicago” to friends and family members visiting from out of town.

A light bulb went off — someone should conduct tours of Chicago’s unique neighborhoods, Schaffner thought. And they should travel to those neighborhoods the same way that most Chicagoans travel anywhere — via the elevated rail system (the “L”).

Enter L Stop Tours, a company founded earlier this year by Schaffner that uses Chicago’s L to transport guests to various city neighborhoods. Upon arrival at designated L stations, Schaffner leads walking tours that reveal the culture and history of the neighborhoods, as well as restaurants and bars along the way that allow guests to sample the area’s food and drink options.

L Stop Tour’s Blue Line Tour, for example, travels from the Loop to Wicker Park and Bucktown; the Pink Line Tour explores the Pilsen neighborhood; two Green Line Tours explore the West Loop, Fulton Market, and Garfield Park (Green West Line) and McCormick Square, Motor Row and the Prairie Avenue Historic District (Green South Line). The tour company’s Brown Line Tour explores historic taverns and pubs in the River North and Old Town neighborhoods.

“The tours are fun and interesting — we ride the train, we go into historic landmarks and other interesting places, we talk about history and culture and we enjoy food and drink from the neighborhoods we visit,” said Schaffner. It’s a very interactive experience. Everyone has a great time.”

Schaffner said that L Stop Tours also works well for people who aren’t familiar with Chicago’s public transit system and are looking for knowledgeable guides who can mentor them on their travels throughout the area. Guides show tour guests how to use the system, explain where it goes and also how to use smart-phones to determine when the next train will arrive at a station.

Other pertinent information about L Stop Tours:

Tours start at $48 per person.

All tours originate in the Loop (central business district).

Different tours are offered on different days of the week.

Public tours are limited to no more than 8 persons. (Larger groups can be accommodated with private tours.)

Tours may be purchased at LStopTours.com.