Like Canada's Toronto and Montreal, Chicago is cold in the winter - so who wants to go outside in the freezing weather between office blocks? Like those Canadian cities, Chicago has developed an underground network that connect the central business district of Chicago that especially comes in handy in the winter.

Montreal in particular has a whole extra city beneath it where the residents of the cold city can escape the chills of winter. London has a very different network of tunnels beneath its streets - it has many abandoned tube lines and stations, many old postal tunnels, and many abandoned or secret military tunnels. In all London is considered to have one of the largest tunnel systems in the world.

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What To Know About Chicago Pedway

The Chicago Pedway connects the train stations, hotels, skyscrapers, and some retail stores in the central business district. The Pedway is complete with restaurants, art, shops, and more. The system helps to protect pedestrians from inclement weather as well as to bypass having to wait for stop lights on the surface. The whole length of the Pedway is over 40 downtown blocks.

  • Links: More Than 40 Blocks In The CBD
  • Buildings: Over 50 Buildings
  • Built: From 1951

Most of the connections to the Pedway are commercial or government buildings. It is made up of a system of underground tunnels and overhead bridges. Every day tens of thousands of people used the Pedway as they make their way to can from work or to and from shopping centers.

The development of the Pedway started back in 1951 as the City of Chicago built one-block tunnels connecting the Red Line and Blue Line subways at Washington Street and Jackson Boulevard. Today it has been greatly expanded with both private and public investment so that it connects more than 50 buildings.

The Pedway offers a safe, convenient, and quick way for people to get around downtown and is particularly appreciated in the winter months and when its windy or snowing.

Related: It's Rumored That London Is Home To The Largest Secret Tunnel System In The World, So Here's What We Know

Why Take A Guided Tour Of The Pedway

Inside Chicago offers a range of walking tours of the Windy City. Their "Open Your Eyes" tour explores Chicago's Underground Pedway as well as other secrets of the loop. On this tour, one will explore the Pedway, its history, and see some surprisingly beautiful architecture interiors below the surface.

See how the people of Chicago manage to keep warm and dry in adverse weather by means of the mysterious underground tunnels of the downtown.

There is an underground world beneath Chicago with corridors of stained-glass and underground swimming pools. The knowledgeable Chicago guides show their guests hidden passages, rich symbolism, strange stories, and overlooked details of the Pedway that will add to the charm and character of Chicago as a whole.

What better way to see the hidden and inner side of Chicago, than by exploring the Chicago beneath the streets? While the Pedway is not exactly a noted tourist attraction for Chicago, it is an opportunity to see a very different side of one of America's largest and coldest cities.

More Than Just The Pedway

The tour explores more than just the Pedway and underground tunnels. It also covers some of the above ground secrets of Chicago. Some of these "secrets" are hidden in plain sight - who's ever noticed the giant green gargoyles on the library?

The tour ends with the "secret" interior of the Art Institute where guests are well positioned to explore more of downtown Chicago after the tour.

  • Cost: Adults $30.00, Children $25.00
  • Duration: Around 2 Hours
  • Distance: Around 1.5 Miles Of Walking
  • Group Size: Up To 15 People
  • Offered: 2.00 pm Fridays & Saturdays
  • Note: The Exact Route Can Change Depending On Building's Hours of Operation (Some May Be Closed On The Weekend)

The tour is also available as a private tour. For those would like to convert it to a private tour contact Hillary at 312-799-0164 to get it organized.

Related: What You Need To Know About Seeing The Sealed Up Freight Tunnels Under Chicago

The Sealed Up Freight Tunnels of Chicago

Chicago has more secrets than one might guess, it also has a warren of abandoned tunnels. These are mostly 2-foot narrow-gauge railway freight tunnels that have since been abandoned.

  • Original Purpose: For A Network Of Telephone Cables
  • Later Purpose: For Freight And Mail Service
  • Length: By 1914 They Were Around 60 Miles or 97 Kilometers Long

The tunnels started to be built in somewhat secrecy in 1899 and by 1914 there were 50 miles of these tunnels beneath the city. Today they are abandoned and sealed off.