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Chicago’s Best (and Most Delicious!) Pizza Tour

Traveling has always been one of my passions. It exposes us to new cultures and experiences and makes the world a more tolerant place.

chicagos-best-pizza-tour

We all know that Chicago is famous for its pizza, so why not take one of Chicago’s famed pizza tours? We did just that with Chicago Pizza Tours, and it turned out to be both an educational and delicious experience. While they offer a couple of different pizza tours, we opted for The Original Chicago Pizza Tour, which took us to four different pizzerias in four distinct neighborhoods of the city. It was a great way to see the city, learn about the history of pizza in Chicago, and sample a lot of great slices.

If you happen to be visiting Chicago, this is a fun and interesting activity to partake in to help immerse yourself into the local culture of the city.

Coalfire Pizza Oven

Coalfire Pizza Oven

About Chicago Pizza Tours

Started in 2009 by local pizza enthusiast Jonathan Porter, Chicago Pizza Tours was the first company in Chicago to focus a tour solely around pizza. Since its humble beginnings, the pizza tour has become a hit with locals and visitors looking for a fun and entertaining way to experience the Chicago pizza scene. With a number of guides and a small fleet of buses, it’s a great way to visit some of the small, off-the-beaten-path pizzerias that you would most likely never find on your own.

Our Bus on the Chicago Pizza Tour

Our Bus on the Chicago Pizza Tour

What to Expect From the Tour

The Original Pizza Tour includes only stand-alone, independently owned pizzerias—no chains—and starts downtown at Pizano’s Pizza and Pasta. They have about ten different places that they frequent, and your tour will include four of them. How they choose which ones to visit will depend on how busy a particular pizzeria is (which determines if they can accommodate the group), what parts of the city the group wants to visit, and the personal whim of your guide. The tour will last anywhere from 3.5 to 4 hours, depending on traffic, group size, etc.

Arrive Hungry!

You should plan on being in a famished state prior to the tour as you will have the opportunity to sample upwards of eight different kinds of pizza.

Pizano's Pasta and Pizza

Pizano's Pasta and Pizza

Because the different pizzerias they take you to are located all over Chicago, they have a small fleet of shuttle buses to transport you around the city. And while it was great to sample a variety of Chicago’s best pizza, it was also somewhat of an interesting city tour.

Our guide, Danny, did a wonderful job of commentating to us about the different areas we were passing through as we were moved from one pizzeria to the next. I think this really added to the tour and it’s a great way to get your bearings in the city if you are not familiar with Chicago. Our guide was very open to taking our questions and you can ask them about virtually anything to do with Chicago. And when it comes to pizza, they really are the experts.

chicagos-best-pizza-tour
chicagos-best-pizza-tour

The tours offered by Chicago Pizza Tours start at either 11 am or 7 pm. The evening tour includes a variety of local craft beers. Private tours are also available and they will work with you to customize a tour around your event, be it a corporate outing or a large group just looking for a fun night out. We opted for the lunchtime tour.

Having just arrived in Chicago that morning we were ready to try some of the city's famed pizza and this tour did not disappoint. While you may not love every pizza that is offered throughout the tour, there will undoubtedly be at least a few that will appeal to you. The idea is to expose you to some of the many different types of pizza made here, be it the famed deep-dish, pan, stuffed or the thin crust, which is actually the most popular here in Chicago. Yes, contrary to popular belief, the thin crust pizza is the pizza of choice among Windy City locals.

chicagos-best-pizza-tour

And Our Favorite Pizzeria Was?

For our tour, we visited Pizano’s Pizza & Pasta, Flo & Santo’s, Pequod’s, and Coalfire. They were all unique in their own way and at the end of the day, everyone managed to have a personal favorite. For our group, it was clearly Pizano’s.

I personally found this interesting as Pizano’s was the first stop on our tour. Usually, after 3 to 4 hours everyone has forgotten their first few tastes, so it was impressive that they were the clear choice at the end of the day. At Pizano’s, we sampled both a deep-dish pizza and a thin-crust pizza, which was my personal favorite of the day.

No matter what your favorite winds up being, it’s a great way to spend an afternoon or evening and you will not go home hungry. My vote for the most unusual pizza of the day was definitely the s’mores pizza offered by Flo & Santo’s. Doesn’t that look great?

S'mores Pizza at Flo and Santo's

S'mores Pizza at Flo and Santo's

Tour Information:

Original Chicago Pizza Tour:

  • Starts and ends at Pizano’s Pizza & Pasta at 61 E Madison Street.
  • Tour begins at 11:30 am
  • Duration: 3.5 hours
  • Stops: 4 pizzerias
  • Travel by shuttle bus
  • Cost: Adults - $60
  • Kids - $36

Pizza & Cocktails Tour:

  • Starts at Exchequer at 226 S Wabash Ave. The tour ends at the last pizzeria located on the Magnificent Mile.
  • Tour begins at 7 pm
  • Duration: 3.5 hours
  • Stops: 3 pizzerias and includes 1 drink at each restaurant
  • Travel by shuttle bus
  • Cost: Adults - $80
  • Must be 21 or older
Our group with guide Danny

Our group with guide Danny

If you’re visiting Chicago for the first time, this is a great way to get introduced to the city. Pizza has been an integral part of the culture of Chicago for over 100 years, and what better way to see the city than to be shuttled from one great pizzeria to another. For an entertaining, fun, and educational way to spend an afternoon or evening, and enjoy a good slice of pizza, look no further than Chicago Pizza Tours.

© 2019 Bill De Giulio

Comments

Bill De Giulio (author) from Massachusetts on March 25, 2020:

Thank you, Peggy. It was indeed a great way to see the different neighborhoods of Chicago as well as taste some of its best pizza. I would highly recommend this to anyone visiting Chicago.

Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on March 25, 2020:

I like the idea that you were taken to stand-alone independent pizza places. It sounds like a fun way to see the different neighborhoods as well as taste different types of pizza. Thanks for informing us about this unique tour in Chicago.

Bill De Giulio (author) from Massachusetts on July 10, 2019:

Hi James. Thank you. We had a great time and it was nice to try a variety of Chicago's best pizza. Hope you enjoy it as much as we did.

James A Watkins from Chicago on July 09, 2019:

Thank you very much for this fascinating information. I think we will give it a try. We LOVE pizza.

Bill De Giulio (author) from Massachusetts on July 05, 2019:

Thanks Heidi. I agree, thin crust was my favorite of the 8 varieties we tried We did try the hot dogs at Portillo's, along with other Chicago staples including the infamous cake shake. Have a great weekend.

Bill De Giulio (author) from Massachusetts on July 05, 2019:

Thank you Shawindi, glad you enjoyed the hub.

Heidi Thorne from Chicago Area on July 05, 2019:

Yep, pizza and hot dogs are basic food groups here in Chi-town!

Because I'm pretty far out of downtown, my pizza tours would include a host of other suburban haunts, some big (like Giordano's which is also downtown) and a number of local places.

Surprisingly, I don't like deep dish pizza. Way too heavy! Yuck! Thin crust for me.

Thanks for sharing our pizza capitol with the world!

Bill De Giulio (author) from Massachusetts on July 05, 2019:

Hi Pam. It was both fun and delicious. A great tour, especially if you are from out of town and just visiting Chicago. Have a great day.

Shawindi Silva from Sri lanka on July 05, 2019:

This is perfect, thank you this is one of my dreams !!

Pamela Oglesby from Sunny Florida on July 05, 2019:

I have a grandson that recently moved to Chicago, so I am going to ask him if he is aware of this tour as it sounds fun and delicious.

Bill De Giulio (author) from Massachusetts on July 05, 2019:

Hi Linda. I had never heard of a pizza tour either before we discovered this. Most of the pizza we tried was very good, and I actually did enjoy the s'mores pizza.

Bill De Giulio (author) from Massachusetts on July 05, 2019:

Thanks Flourish. We had a great time and getting to try so many different kinds of pizza was filling to say the least. Check it out next time you're visiting family in Chicago.

Linda Crampton from British Columbia, Canada on July 04, 2019:

I've never heard of a pizza tour before. It sounds like a great idea. The food in your photos looks very appetizing. I'd love to try a s'mores pizza!

FlourishAnyway from USA on July 04, 2019:

Yes! Now you’re talking! I haven’t had deep dish Chicago style pizza in years and now thanks to you it’s going to be all I’ll be able to think about! My husband has family in Chicago and now I’m thinking we need to visit! Great photos!

Bill De Giulio (author) from Massachusetts on July 04, 2019:

Thank you Liz. We had such a good time on this tour I just had to write about it. Thanks for stopping by.

Liz Westwood from UK on July 04, 2019:

This is a very interesting account of these unusual tours. You give a great description with good illustrations.

Bill De Giulio (author) from Massachusetts on July 04, 2019:

Thank you Rose. Chicago does indeed have great pizza. We can’t wait for an opportunity to return. Thanks for stopping by, have a great day.

Gypsy Rose Lee from Daytona Beach, Florida on July 04, 2019:

Now I am so hungry for a pizza and I want to take the next tour. Sounds like Chicago has great pizza.

Bill De Giulio (author) from Massachusetts on July 04, 2019:

Thanks Bill. It was wonderful. Got to try 8 different kinds of pizza. I was so full by the end of the your. A happy 4th to you also.

Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on July 04, 2019:

I'm drooling! Sign me up for that tour any old day.

Happy 4th my friend!