Chicago Lyric Opera and Birding Tour

Chicago Lyric Opera and Birding Tour

If you are interested in the Chicago Lyric Opera and Birding Tour, come and join us at Kaiyote Tours!

Chicago is a great city for everything...including urban birding!!  

Birding:  Over 300 species of birds have been identified in Chicago and because Chicago is located on Lake Michigan, it is an important flyway for nearly 200 bird species.

History of opera in Chicago:  The first opera to be performed in Chicago was Bellini's La Sonnambula, performed in 1850.  Chicago's first opera house opened in 1865 but was destroyed by the Great Fire of Chicago in 1871. The current art deco Civic Opera House was built in 1929 and seats 3,563, making it the second-largest opera auditorium in North America, after the Metropolitan Opera House.

Lodging will be at the historic Congress Plaza Hotel.  Built in 1893 for the World's Columbian Exposition, the hotel is perfectly situated for great views of Lake Michigan and close to the best parks for birding.  The hotel is considered one of the most haunted buildings in Chicago.

Evening Events: Chicago is an important city for art, music, and the performing arts.  On this tour there will be evening events to visit the Willis Tower, 2nd City Comedy Club, the Chicago Lyric Opera, and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra.  Some years we can fit in a visit to the Steppenwolf Theatre, Broadway in Chicago or the Goodman Theatre. Please see the schedule below for specific events for each tour. 

Dinner:  Chicago maybe the second city, but it really does have the best pizza (sorry New York) and is the origin of deep-dish pizza.  Since the mid 1940s, Chicagoans have been arguing who makes the better pizza, Lou Malnati's or Uno's.  We will visit both and you can decide for yourself at these Chicago pizzeria favorites.  Other dinners will be at restaurants that have cultural and historic significance in Chicago.  

If you are not an opera lover, you can sign up for the daytime activities without the opera, there is a price deduction. 

  • Travel Dates: April 4 – 10, 2021 and April 2022
  • Group Size:  6 Travelers plus guides
  • Trip Length: 7 days
  • Rates: Rate per person = $3,750 (based on double occupancy)
  • Rates include: Transport within Chicago, lodging, breakfast, lunch, dinner, evening event tickets and group tours
  • Not included: Airfare to Chicago O'Hare Airport (ORD)
  • Adventure level:  Easy, please check the "Welcome" page for definition

Special offer:  Included with your trip (one per room) is a copy of the field guide “Sibley Birds East: Field Guide to Birds of Eastern North America” by David Allen Sibley.  You will receive this when you reserve your trip so you will have time to study and know the beautiful birds! 

Reservations:  To reserve a spot on the trip, it is a non-refundable 50% deposit

April is a beautiful time to visit Chicago!

2021 Itinerary

Day 1, Sunday April 4:   Fly to Chicago

  • Arrival day:  No scheduled activities
  • Dinner:  TBA based on arrival schedule

Day 2, Monday April 5

  • 6:00am – 8:00am:  Morning bird walk
  • 8:00am – 9:00am:  Breakfast
  • 9:00am – 12:00pm:  Birding Jackson Park
  • 12:00pm – 1:00pm:  Picnic lunch
  • 1:00pm – 4:00pm:  Birding Washington Park
  • 4:00pm – 6:00pm:  Afternoon break
  • 6:00pm:  Dinner at the Green Door Tavern in Uptown 
  • 8:00pm:  The Second City Comedy Club

Day 3, Tuesday April 6

  • 6:00am – 8:00am:  Morning bird walk
  • 8:00am – 9:00am:  Breakfast
  • 9:00am – 12:00pm:  Montrose Park Bird Sanctuary
  • 12:00pm – 1:00pm:  Picnic lunch
  • 1:00pm – 4:00pm: Birding Humboldt Park
  • 4:00pm - 5:00pm:  Afternoon break
  • 5:00pm:  Dinner at Lou Malnati's Pizzeria, the best! (more than just pizza)
  • 7:00pm:  The Rake's Progress (1951) Igor Stravinsky

Day 4, Wednesday April 7

  • 6:00am – 8:00am:  Morning bird walk
  • 8:00am – 9:00am:  Breakfast
  • 9:00am – 12:00pm:  Notebaert Nature Museum and Sanctuary
  • 12:00pm – 1:00pm:  Picnic lunch
  • 1:00pm – 4:00pm:  Birding Lincoln Park and Northerly Island
  • 4:00pm – 5:00pm:  Afternoon break
  • 5:00pm:  Dinner at the original Uno's Pizza (more than just pizza)
  • 7:00pm:  The Marriage of Figaro (1786) Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

Day 5, Thursday April 8

  • 6:00am – 8:00am:  Morning bird walk
  • 8:00am – 9:00am:  Breakfast
  • 9:00am – 12:00pm:  Birding Douglas Park Lagoon
  • 12:00pm – 1:00pm:  Picnic lunch
  • 1:00pm – 4:00pm:  Birding Garfield Park Lagoon
  • 4:00pm – 5:00pm:  Afternoon break
  • 5:00pm:  Dinner at the Atwood located in the Reliance Building
  • 7:00pm:  Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Wagner & Saint-Saëns Organ Symphony

Day 6, Friday April 9

  • 6:00am – 8:00am:  Morning bird walk
  • 8:00am – 9:00am:  Breakfast
  • 9:00am – 12:00pm:  Birding North Park Village Nature Center
  • 12:00pm – 1:00pm:  Picnic lunch
  • 1:00pm – 4:00pm:  Birding LaBagh Woods
  • 4:00pm – 6:00pm:  Afternoon break
  • 6:00pm:  Dinner at the Palmer House (invented the Chocolate Brownie!)
  • 8:00pm:  Visit the Willis (Sears) Tower

Day 7, Saturday April 10:  Departure Day

  • You will be transferred from your hotel to your departure airport

Details about nightly events and Dinners

Chicago Lyric Opera:  When we know the opera schedule, we will finalize the schedule for all activities for each day.

The Willis Tower:  The Willis Tower (colloquial: Sears Tower, its name for 36 years) is a 110-story, 1,450-foot (442.1 m) skyscraper in Chicago. At completion in 1973, it surpassed the World Trade Center in New York to become the tallest building in the world, a title it held for nearly 25 years; it was the tallest building in the Western Hemisphere for 41 years, until the new One World Trade Center surpassed it in 2014. (from Wikipedia)

The Second City Comedy Club: Come see where it all began! "The Best of The Second City" features some of the best sketches, songs, and improvisations from its 58-year history performed by The Second City Touring Company. Join the next generation of comedy, the world's best and brightest performing hilarious sketch comedy and The Second City's trademark improvisation.

Broadway in Chicago:  TBA, based on opera schedule and availability

Chicago Symphony Orchestra:  TBA, based on opera schedule and availability

Steppenwolf Theatre production:  TBA, based on opera schedule and availability

The Goodman Theatre production:  TBA, based on opera schedule and availability

Dinners

The Atwood located in the Reliance Building:  Built from 1890 - 1895, the Reliance building was the first skyscraper to have large plate glass windows make up the majority of its surface area, a design feature that would become dominant in the 20th century. It has been termed the "first comprehensive achievement" of the Chicago construction method; Its steel-frame superstructure is built atop concrete caissons sunk as much as 125 feet beneath the footing. It was one of the first skyscrapers to offer electricity and phone service in all of its offices. In its first few decades, it provided office space for merchants and health professionals, including Al Capone's dentist. (from Wikipedia)

Lou Malnati's Pizzeria:  Lou Malnati got his start in the 1940's working in Chicago's first deep dish pizzeria, Pizzeria Uno. Some believed that Rudy Malnati, the father of Lou Malnati, invented the deep-dish pizza. Lou Malnati took his pizza expertise to Lincolnwood, a northern suburb of Chicago, where he and his wife Jean opened the first Lou Malnati's Pizzeria in 1971. Lou Malnati's is true Chicago style pizza, and its deep-dish pizza is referred to as a "pie." and is made with a thin crust of pizza dough laid in a seasoned deep-dish pizza pan and filled with ingredients. There are 56 locations in Chicago.

Uno's Pizza: (Here lies the controversy) Who invented Chicago's deep-dish pizza?  The first Uno's was established in 1943 by Ike Sewell and Ric Riccardo, in the River North neighborhood of Chicago. Sewell claimed to have originated the deep-dish pizza style, but many believe that Rudy Malnati, the father of Lou Malnati, invented the deep-dish pizza while working for Sewell.  Sewell opened two additional restaurants in response to Pizzeria Uno's popularity. Pizzeria Due opened one block north of the original Pizzeria Uno location in 1955 (Uno and Due are Italian for one and two).

The Palmer House:  Opened September 26, 1871 and burned down 13 days later on October 9, 1871 in the Great Chicago Fire. Palmer immediately rebuilt and constructed one of the fanciest hotels worldwide in post-fire Chicago. Built mainly of iron and brick, the hotel was widely advertised as "The World's Only Fireproof Hotel.  The Palmer House was the city's first hotel with elevators and the first hotel with electric light bulbs and telephones in the guest rooms. It has also been dubbed the longest continuously operating hotel in North America.  And, the Chocolate Brownie was invented by Bertha Palmer in 1893

The Green Door Tavern in Uptown:   In 1872, immediately following the Great Chicago Fire of 1871, James McCole built a two-story balloon frame wooden structure. Following the fire, Chicago passed a fire code ordinance prohibiting construction of wooden commercial buildings in the Central Business District. The Green Door is one of the few remaining frame structures built prior to the fire ordinance. The "racking" (leaning) of the building occurred shortly after the building settled and has been that way for over 100 years. The green door has been serving alcohol since 1921.  The "green door" signified a speakeasy during prohibition and the business has retained the name ever since.  Some of the interior design and fixtures date back to 1921.   

Chicago Lyric Opera and Birding Tour