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3 Helicopter Rides In Chicago For Your Bucket List

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One of the most incredible ways to see the world’s metropolises is to take to the skies on a helicopter tour. If you’re an adrenaline junkie in the Midwest, soaring the sky over downtown Chicago is something you’ve got to try. There aren’t many places offering helicopter rides in Chicago, so take a peek at our favorite aerial tour outfitters.

The Windy City, with its famous landmarks, Museum Campus, and the shopping extravagance of the Magnificent Mile, makes for quite a sight. Although you can easily see Chicago’s landmarks from the river or Lake Michigan, seeing the city from a bird’s eye view is sure to leave you with a memorable trip.

Even if you’ve visited Chicago before, helicopter tours will give you a new perspective on this historic city. When you see the Chicago skyline from among the clouds, you’ll fall in love with the Windy City again. So stick with us to find the best helicopter tours in Chicago from a local who adores this city.

Aerial View of Gold Coast, Chicago
Kyle Kroeger / ViaTravelers

The Best Helicopter Rides In Chicago

If you’re looking for unique things to do in Chicago, it’s hard to top taking to the skies – literally. Adrenaline junkies will have no fear of climbing into a small tour helicopter, but nervous fliers might think twice. If you’re anxious about taking a tour, rest assured that these experienced pilots can safely guide you around the city, and the views are worth the palpitations!

1. Heli Chicago’s Private Skyline Tour

Red Helicopter flying through Chicago, with skyscrapers in the background.
Heli Chicago / Facebook

For up to three travelers at a time, private Chicago helicopter tours from Heli Chicago offer views of the city’s biggest attractions with unparalleled skyline appearances. You can access noise-canceling headsets during this tour to listen to the pilot’s city commentary.

Besides the incredible photo opportunities of Chicago from above, you’ll spot some of the most iconic locations in the city. You’ll see all of the best tourist attractions in Chicago! See if you can spot Navy Pier, the former John Hancock Building, Wrigley Field, Willis Tower (Sears Tower), Grant Park, Millennium Park, and Soldier Field. Even though the flight is short, you’ll walk away feeling absolutely amazed by the Windy City.

Given that these helicopter tours depart from the Schaumberg Regional Airport, which can be up to an hour’s commute from downtown, consider staying in this Chicago suburb. The Renaissance Schaumberg Convention Center Hotel is a chic hotel to call home for a day or two to fully enjoy your helicopter tour in style.

This lovely hotel has room service, a swimming pool, and easy access to Woodfield Mall, so you’ll feel like a VIP before or after your aerial flight. It’s also nice to note that parking is included in the price of these private helicopter tours.

See Related: Best Boutique Hotels in Chicago for a Unique Experience

2. Chicago Aerial Tours, Based At Midway Airport

Chicago skyline at night from a Chicago helicopter tour
Chicago Aerial Tours / Facebook

The only tour operator in Chicago that offers both airplane and helicopter tours, Chicago Aerial Tours is also the oldest air tour operator in the city, and taking either type of tour with them is one of the best things to do in Chicago. Founded in 2003, this company offers a range of options for visitors to see the Chicago skyline and locales like Navy Pier in a whole new way at a more affordable price.

Up to three passengers can enjoy a private helicopter tour with Chicago Aerial Tours. These helicopter tours last between 20-30 minutes, giving a glimpse of sites like Willis Tower and Soldier Field. Along the way, you’ll also see Northerly Island, Adler Planetarium, Shedd Aquarium, and Lake Michigan, among others.

Since these helicopter tours take off from Midway Airport, you may want to stay near the airport rather than downtown for a less significant commute. We highly recommend the cozy Hyatt Place Chicago Midway Airport, which offers free breakfast, an indoor pool, and free parking. You can’t get much better than that in Chicago, where free parking is few and far between.

See Related: Hidden Gems in Old Town Chicago

3. Helicopter Tours Chicago by Adrenaline, Close To The Loop

Helicopter at sunset
Adrenaline / Facebook

At Helicopter Tours Chicago by Adrenaline, there are multiple Chicago helicopter tours to choose from. These tours last 10-20 minutes, allowing you to gaze upon Chicago landmarks as you fly. You’ll spot Wrigley Field, Grant Park and its Buckingham Fountain, the shimmering Bean (aka Cloud Gate), and so much more.

If you book your flight with Helicopter Tours Chicago, your third passenger flies for free. Even if the price is higher than other area tours, the third person flying free makes it one of the best fun deals in Chicago. These Chicago helicopter tours are available daily from 11 am to 9 pm. That means a sunset ride is available for special occasions or a stunning backdrop to the skyscrapers.

Unlike the other tours, Helicopter Tours Chicago takes off from Vertiport Chicago. This helicopter mini-port is located near the West Loop, making it excellent for tourists staying downtown. Since you’ll be so close to the heart of the city, it’s worth planning a nice dinner in Downtown Chicago to make your evening truly memorable.

If you’d rather not stay downtown, The Hoxton in the West Loop is a gorgeous place to consider. This luxe location is contemporary and romantic, plus it has a rooftop pool – what a perfect way to end the night after you fly.

The Best Chicago Tours

Of course, not everyone is comfortable getting up and above the ground on a helicopter tour. Luckily, there are a million great ways to see the Windy City. If you’d prefer to explore on foot, on wheels, or on water, here are a couple other top Chicago tour picks:

Tour Highlights
3-Hour Private Speakeasy Cocktail VIP Tour Speakeasies, Tales from Prohibition, and Gangster History
Fireworks & Gourmet Dinner Cruise on Lake Michigan Three course gourmet meal, live band, fireworks on the lake
Craft Brewery Tour by Barrel Bus The “Barrel Bus” itself, brewery tours and tastings
1.5-Hour Guided Architecture Cruise On The Chicago River Available year-round, hits all the must-see sites, fantastic and knowledgeable guides
Favorite Foods Guided Walking Tour Of Chicago Deep Dish, Chicago-style hot dogs, Italian beef, and Windy City’s favorite sweets
Night Tour w/ Skydeck & Skyline Cruise Chicago River Cruise, Willis Skydeck and The Ledge at night, Hotel pickup and drop-off.

If none of those appeal to you, take a look at our roundup of the Best Walking Tours in Chicago. No matter how you choose to see the city, you’ll have an amazing time getting to know Chicago.

FAQ

How much is it to fly a helicopter in Chicago?

Depending on your operator, helicopter tours of Chicago cost between $150 and $900, depending on how many people are flying and the tour operator you choose. However, what is nice about the price of a flight is that there will always be private tours.

How long is a helicopter tour in Chicago?

The flight lasts anywhere from 10 to 40 minutes from take-off to landing. Chicago helicopter tours allow passengers to watch Chicago from an otherwise unreachable distance. A tour fits perfectly into even the busiest itinerary.

Is a helicopter tour of Chicago worth it?

If you want to watch the Chicago skyline from a distance at sunset, there is no better way to do that than with a helicopter tour. These fun flight tours are unlike any other tour offered in the city. It’s well worth the price, especially if you’ve never taken a helicopter flight.

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