Let's Polka! Chicago's Polish Heritage


Tour Number

Activity Level



City, First Time Visitor, Local Experience, Religious Heritage


Kid Friendly: Yes. I can adjust this tour by excluding certain bars. Everything else is kid friendly.

Friendly: Yes.
Must be able to enter or exit a vehicle. I will adjust the tour based upon unique needs.

Maximum travelers: 3



Spanish (conversational), Polish (fluent), English (fluent)

An exploration of Chicago's Polish history...drinks, eats, and places of worship

Chicago is a city of immigrants. My parents belong to this Chicago story as do countless others. We'll learn about the role Polish immigrants had on this city by viewing important historical sites, such as impressive basilicas built brick-by-brick over the span of decades. Inside we'll take in the amazing stained glass windows and murals (the largest of which is 3, 100 sq. ft) that were recently carefully restored.

We'll also see an intricate replica of Wit Stwosz inside of a unique, all-wooden, baroque style church. You don't have to be a practicing Catholic in order to appreciate all of the beauty these places have to offer.

In between history lessons we'll sample Polish cuisine and check out some ultra-divey Polish bars. Perhaps the more adventurous tourist will try fried liver, pickle soup, or meat jello at one of my favorite secret watering holes. Lastly, we'll have a cheap beer or sandwich in the Back of the Yards at 98-year-old Wanda's bar. Na Zdrowie!


Together with you I will design an itinerary/route to your liking. I will offer a multitude of options that we can patch together to form the perfect tour for you. Some of which include:

*two very impressive Catholic Churches that are a must see for believers and non-believers alike
*exploring historic Polish neighborhoods including Avondale, Back-of-the-Yards, and Bucktown.
*Visiting some very divey watering holes, including a special bar that is still tended to by a fiesty 98-year-old bartender. She lived across from the Chicago stockyards almost her whole life, and has some unbelievable stories to tell if you catch her in a good mood.
*Sampling some Polish dishes and trying my very own pierogi Polish dumplings (the best in Chicago).
*Stopping over at the Polish Cultural Museum to look at traditional costumes, artwork, and the Paderewski Room

The transportation will be via my car.

Meeting Location + Tour Duration

Meeting location: St. Hyacinth Basilica in Chicago's Avondale neighborhood. Other meeting locations in Chicago are available such as your hotel.

End location: Any agreed upon location in Chicago.

Duration: 4 hours

This is contingent upon traffic. The duration may be more or slightly less.


Transportation by private vehicle (Mitsubishi Galant)

What’s Included

Other: My time and service as your private guide will be included as will transportation. I will include a bottle of water, snacks, and an informative pamphlet.

Estimated Local Cash Needed

50 USD - Food, drinks, admission fees, and personal purchases.

What’s Extra

Other: Food, drinks, admission fees, any personal purchases, and optional activities.


Although I mostly work with smaller groups, I can accommodate larger groups. If you are interested in booking for a larger group, I can meet you and guide you in your vehicle.

A Recent Review of this tour

Johanna is a vivacious, knowledgeable, friendly, and fun guide. Our tour of Chicago Polish neighborhoods, churches and other sites was simply a great day! Johanna promised wonderful Polish foods and she came through perfectly with our sampling lunch of four different dishes (with enough to take home on the train). We appreciated our adventure to the 1930s bar near the old Stockyards with its devilishly spry 94-year old owner. Johanna graciously picked us up and dropped us off at different locations. A1!
Helaine Nelson

Read More Reviews For This Tour
Private tour guide Johanna

Contact this Guide

Questions about the tour? Not seeing exactly what you’re looking for? Contact this guide with questions, or to create a custom itinerary for you and your travel companions.

Message Johanna W.

Web address (URL) of this page: http://www.toursbylocals.com/PrivateChicagoPolishHeritageTour

Tours by Johanna W.

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