2011 Excursions

Hosted Excursions

Chicago River Architecture Tour

Thursday, June 9, 6:30 - 8:00 pm
Cost: $16
Advanced registration required
Please note: 16 minute walk to boat, then down two flights of stairs

Chicago's architectural heritage is considered to be among the finest in the world, and the Chicago River provides the ultimate setting to view these magnificent structures. Join us for this 75-minute tour of some of the best of what Chicago has to offer. The Wrigley Building, one of Chicago's' most recognizable architectural treasures, is the perfect location to start the journey. While we travel through the heart of the city, a knowledgable tour guide will provide an in-depth perspective on why Chicago's architectural heritage is known and studied around the world.

Morton Arboretum Tour

Wednesday, June 8, 8 am - 2 pm
Cost: $51 includes tram tour, admission, and transportation; lunch $10-15 additional
Advanced registration required, minimum 25/maximum 48 participants

The Morton Arboretum is located on 1,700 acres in the west suburbs of Chicago. The Arboretum includes over 4,000 kinds of trees, shrubs, and plants, and has over 16 miles of hiking trails, nine miles of roads, a restored prairie, and features several themed gardens. The Sterling Morton Library specializes in botany, horticulture, botanical art, and natural history. The excursion will include a one-hour narrated tram tour as well as a tour of the library.

Hyde Park Walking Tour

Wednesday, June 8, 12:15 - 4:30 pm
Cost: CTA pass plus optional snack
Advanced registration required, maximum 15 participants

The Hyde Park walking tour will begin with public transportation from the conference center to the Chicago south-side community. On disembarking from the Garfield bus, the first stop will be the Smart Museum, an independent collection of art on the University of Chicago campus. Time will be taken to view the permanent collection on display as well as the then-current exhibit “Warhol at Work: Portrait Snapshots, 1973-1985.” A walk around the Regenstein Library building will bring the group to the University Quadrangle, where turn-of-the-last-century Gothic Revival architecture forms the core of the university buildings; carved stonework was still a flourishing craft when construction was completed. A short two-block walk past Chicago Theological Seminary delivers the tour to the Robie House, the first of Frank Lloyd Wright’s “prairie style” homes that inspired a revolution in American architecture. Across the street is the University of Chicago’s chapel. Though having been endowed by John D. Rockefeller, Rockerfeller Memorial Chapel is a modestly-sized Gothic Cathedral.  Providing that the sanctuary is not in use, tourists are welcome to walk though the building, which includes the meticulously cleaned and restored ceiling (work done in the late 1980s). The tour will exit onto the Midway Plaisance, site of the Columbian Exposition of 1893’s sideshow extravaganza and the home of the Ferris Wheel [now all long gone, but soccer games abound on the grassy spaces throughout the year]. From Rockefeller Chapel, a path leads to the Oriental Institute, where the guided tour of the exhibit halls will be led by Steven Holloway (ATLA Indexer-Analyst and chair of the Society of Biblical Literature Assyria and the Bible section). The Oriental Institute Museum includes Egyptian, Mesopotamian, and East-Mediterranean exhibits of artifacts accumulated over a century. Public transportation will return the tour to the conference center.

Newberry Library Tour

Wednesday June 8, 12:30 - 3:00 pm
Cost: public transportation/CTA Pass
Advanced registration required, maximum 18 particpants

The Newberry is granting a Rare Book and Special Collections tour to ATLA Conference attendees. John Brady, Director of Reader Services – Bibliographer of Americana will highlight the Newberry’s holdings, including Judaica holdings, of interest to theological librarians. The Newberry’s religious holdings consist primarily of materials from Western Europe the Americas and focus more on historical studies, rather than biblical studies. Included in its holdings are collections of bibles, sermons, and liturgical works to name a few. The Newberry Library continues to actively collect and acquire additional religious materials. “In recent years the Newberry has acquired rare books and archival materials from several religious institutions, among them Mundelein College, the Passionist Monastery of Chicago (North side), the Divine Word Seminary, and Concordia University. These collections, rich in patristics and early modern theological and devotional literature, are now partially cataloged.” http://www.newberry.org/collections/religion.html "L" Chicago Public Transportation will be utilized for this excursion with an ATLA staff escort. This excursion is co-sponsored by the Special Collections Interest Group and Judaica Interest Group.

USML Feehan Memorial Library and McEssy Theological Resource Center Tour

Wednesday, June 8, 9:30 am - 3:30 pm
Advanced registration required, minimum 25/maximum 30 participants
Cost: $40 (lunch is included)

Located on the historic and architecturally significant University of Saint Mary of the Lake campus, the Feehan Memorial Library has recently been designated one of 250 of the “world’s greatest libraries” by the American Library Association.  Completed in 1929, the Library is the embodiment of Cardinal George Mundelein’s ideal of a seminary campus that is “American on the outside and Roman on the inside.” The McEssy Theological Resource Center, an addition to the Library and the first new construction on campus since 1929, was dedicated in 2004. This facility was designed to blend with the American classical elegance of the rest of the campus. The library tour, conducted by Library Director Lorraine Olley, will include both facilities and an exhibit of some of the items from the Library’s autograph and rare book collections. After lunch, the group will visit other architectural highlights of the campus before returning downtown.

White Sox Baseball at US Cellular Field

Friday, June 10, 6 pm
Cost: $30 and public transportation/CTA Pass

The Cubs may be out of town, but there is still good baseball to be seen in Chicago, and a good time to be had. Join fellow fans as the 2005 World Series Champion White Sox take on the Oakland Athletics at 7:00 pm. US Cellular Field (or Comisky Park as some native still call it) is easily accessible by “L”—just take the CTA Red Line from the Loop. The thoroughly modern facilities at “the Cell” include several restaurants, traditional baseball fare, beer and soft drinks. It’s probably the best place to enjoy a Chicago-style hot dog. And, if a Sox hits a home run—fireworks!

World Religions in Chicago Tour

Wednesday, June 8, 9 am - 4 pm
Advanced registration required, minimum 25 people
Cost: $125, includes transportation and lunch

The World Religions Interest Group of ATLA will host a tour of places of worship in the Chicago area. The four siteswe'll visit are associated with the Sikh, Muslim, Buddhist, and Hindu religious traditions. Our tour guide will be Rev. Dirk Ficca of the Parliament of Religions. Lunch will be provided at the Sikh Langar for all participants.


Excursions On Your Own

Getting Around Town

The Regional Transportation Authority website includes schedules and maps for the CTA bus and rail (The “L”) system, Metra commuter rail and Pace suburban bus service. A trip planner that incorporates all of the transportation systems within the RTA system is also included. In addition, the CTA operates a bus tracker system that approximates arrival times at bus stops. 

Loop, Greater Loop

Art Institute of Chicago

Founded as both a museum and a school in 1879, the original building was built on rubble from the Chicago fire of 1871. The current building at Michigan and Adams opened in 1893, the same year the famous bronze lions at the entrance were created by sculptor Edward Kemeys. This world class museum collection was enhanced by the completion of the 264,000 square-foot Modern Wing in 2009 to house the museum’s collection of twentieth- and twenty-first-century art. Admission is $18. Beginning in June, free admission will be on the first and second Wednesday of every month. 

Navy Pier

The Pier houses the Chicago Shakespeare Theater and the Smith Museum of Stained Glass Windows, in addition to a fifteen story Ferris wheel. During the summer months, Shoreline Sightseeing water taxi service is available between Navy Pier and the Museum Campus, and water taxi service will also operate between the Pier and the Loop (near Willis Tower and Adams) via the Chicago River. 


Centered on Cermak and Wentworth on the near South Side, Chicago’s Chinatown is the second largest in the nation, after New York City. In addition to restaurants, gift shops, grocery stores, and Chinese medicine stores, the area includes points of interest such as the Chinese American Museum of Chicago, the Chinese Christian Union Church and the Buddhist Temple. 

Museum Campus

Lake Shore Drive was rerouted in 1998 to create the park that surrounds theField Museum, the John G. Shedd Aquarium and the Adler Planetarium. Basic admission to these three attractions is $15, $26.95, and $10 respectively. Prices are subject to change, and please remember that some of the popular attractions, such as the Adler’s sky shows, require an additional admission fee. Please visit the websites of the respective museums to confirm free days and discount days.  


CityPASS includes admission to the Shedd Aquarium, the Field Museum, the Adler Planetarium, the Museum of Science and Industry, plus your choice of either the Willis Tower Skydeck or the John Hancock Observatory. 

Near North

Newberry Library

This non-circulating research library is focused on the humanities, and is open for research to anyone 16 years and above who would like to register for a reader card. Located at 60 W. Walton Street in the Gold Coast neighborhood, the Newberry also sponsors exhibits highlighting its many collections, as well as lecture series and education programs.  

South Side

Museum of Science and Industry

The Museum is one of the largest science museums in the world, with over 14 acres of exhibits, including the U-505 Submarine, the only German U-boat in the United States. The main building was originally built as the Palace of Fine Arts for the World’s Columbian Exhibition of 1893. Admission is $15. For June 2011, free days will be Monday, June 6 to Thursday, June 9.