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Reviews are never edited or deleted unless the content does not comply with EF and Bazaarvoice's™ terms and conditions, which prohibit the use of such things as personal information and inappropriate language. On 8/6/2013, our name changed from EF Smithsonian Student Travel to EF Explore America, thus any mention of our previous name can be considered EF Explore America.
Average Rating: (4.5 out of 5)
24 reviewed Chicago: The Windy City
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  1. Enrichment for young minds

    Branden was a wonderful, patient, knowledgeable and kind. He kept the children and adults on track with great patience. The teachers and tour guide worked extremely well together. They not only made it educational but fun. The students enjoyed themselves and as a chaperone on my first trip was very impressed upon how engaged and well behaved the children were under their guidance. I would recommend EF tours highly. RN-and mother
    MamaR / Adult traveler
    Fort smith, Arkansas / Posted on June 10, 2019
  2. Fantastic!

    The tour of Chicago was amazing! We were able to see and visit all of the major landmarks and museums and sample some of Chicago's signature food. I would highly recommend this tour and EF America.
    ShellyParka / Adult traveler
    Thompson CT / Posted on March 21, 2016
  3. Terrific Toured the Windy City

    I have taken students on many field trips on my own, in order to economize, to make trips feasible for more of my students. Our recent tour with EF has convinced me that the extra money spent for a guided tour is well worth the cost. The trip was so much enjoyable for me, and for the other chaperones because all of the planning, transportation, tickets, reservations were taken care of for us. Though we did not have many problems, the few that are natural when touring a group of students, were handled for us. Our tour guide, bus driver, and guest historian were so knowledgeable and professional. I have been to Chicago several times, yet learned so much more every day. Accommodations were excellent, meals delicious and ample. I might add my sincere thanks to our tour guide and to EF for assisting us when our flight home was cancelled. EF procured another night in a new hotel that fit our needs for shuttle to the airport early the next morning, and provided the support we needed to work out our faltered flight arrangements. One more benefit was the security guard contracted to watch over student rooms all night. This allowed the adults to rest worry-free!
    Art1 / Adult traveler
    Madison, MS / Posted on June 24, 2014
  4. Fun Educational Trip

    This well organized trip was very informative throughout while making interesting and fun at the same time. We appreciated our schedule/tour director being flexible enough to work in group requests (and small group requests). It was amazing how much territory we covered in several days. I do wish I had pre-studied the museums prior to the trip in order to plan and prioritize the areas of the museum I wanted to visit. It seemed like I lost valuable time figuring out what I wanted to see and how to get there. Perhaps an option to have a docent would have been beneficial as well as an option to see a IMAX presentation. The restaurant choices were good. Our tour guide mixed in some of his favorite locations as well which were terrific. The local expert on art and architecture was fabulous.
    Madison / Adult traveler
    Jackson, Mississippi / Posted on June 24, 2014
  5. Great Trip!

    Our Trip to Chicago was an overall amazing experience. The one thing that I would change is to spend more time at the different places (museums, aquarium, etc.) but I know this trip was designed with a 12 year old attention span, so I know that was good for them. The timing of everything always lined up and our tour director (Stephanie) did a fantastic job of controlling the group to deliver well worded and clear, interesting information about the city and places we were going to. All of our dining was fantastic and the kids got to try new cuisine! This trip left me wanting more, so I know that my wife and I will have to go back to Chicago!
    Mitch / Adult traveler
    Lewis Center, Ohio / Posted on May 23, 2013
  6. First trip to Chicago

    It was a memorable trip. Kept us busy but not too much. The tour guide Brandon made it fun. My favorite part was the riverboat cruise and Willis Tower.
    Claydawg25 / Student traveler
    Greenwood, AR / Posted on June 09, 2019
  7. It was OK

    The trip was not well planned. We were told an agenda when we signed up but it was changed often. The group was supposed to go to a broadway show. It was chosen late and was RENT. The group going was 7th graders. We were given the option to send our child to a movie instead. This was not what we paid for. RENT has very adult content and we were given 24 hours to decide what we wanted to do. I have 2 other children that will not be going on trips run by this group.
    SoccerMom8 / Student traveler
    Zionsville, IN / Posted on May 28, 2019
  8. Disappointing

    The trip would have been good if the kids did what was on the itinerary. On a 2 night trip to Chicago, 2 of the events were canceled. The architectural boat tour was canceled because of the weather--so not EF's fault; after waiting for quite some time, they finally took the kids to the sports museum instead, but they couldn't all go in together because the site required 1 adult to 4 kids, while their chaperone had 7 kids. In addition, the dinner that night apparently was so bad, they had to give the kids $10 each to find something else to eat before the play began. Finally, the kids were told that they would go on a tour of Frank Lloyd Wright architecture on Sunday. That was canceled due to what I understand was an overbooking combined with the possibility of rain. But honestly, we still don't know for certain why it was canceled. So the kids came home early from the trip instead and we received no reimbursement for the shortened itinerary. Definitely not worth the cost.
    ZParent / Parent
    Zionsville, IN / Posted on May 26, 2019
  9. Pretty great

    We had fun, but I think there were many time constraints that may not have been controlled in the end. Definitely would want to come back to Chicago in the future with what I have learned, but I'm going to be honest now that i can complain that we had Italian food A LOT of times. The first day was fine, and very revealing of ideal Chicagoan food. But every other day (except Tuesday as a day we could decide our food) was very repetitive and nauseating about what we were going to eat.
    DJ00 / Student traveler
    Tucson, Arizona / Posted on March 27, 2019
  10. My Kind of Town

    I teach IB and regular theatre classes in a low-income school which, till I burst on the scene, had not taken any students (other than sports teams) on a trip out of town overnight in over 10 years. Last year, we did a long weekend in Los Angeles; this year I took 17 of my students to Chicago with EF and it was amazing. Chicago has many of the great aspects of New York but is more "doable." It is a beautiful city with outstanding theatre, world-class museums and two of the top universities in the nation. Also, wide variety of great restaurants. And all more affordable than NY. We were able to walk around downtown seeing sights, visit The Field Museum, The Art Institute and the Museum of Science and Industry, attend 2 musicals (Bronx Tale and Hamilton) and play (Sweat at the Goodman), go to the top of the Willits Tower, wander through Lincoln Park Zoo, and take tours of both Northwestern University and the University of Chicago. Our guide and bus driver could not have been better. This was a near perfect student tour and truly opened my student's eyes to what is out there in the world waiting for them.
    MissE / Group leader
    Tucson, AZ / Posted on March 25, 2019

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