No Little Walking Tour: Exploring the 1909 Burnham Plan for Chicago - Atlas Obscura
Join us on an Atlas Obscura Trip in 2019 »


No Little Walking Tour: Exploring the 1909 Burnham Plan for Chicago

Join urban planner Vitaliy Vladmirov for a walking tour that explores the impact and implementation of Daniel Burnham’s 1909 City Plan of Chicago.

“Make no little plans. They have no magic to stir men's blood…”

If you’ve been to Grant Park, walked along Michigan Avenue, or driven down Wacker Drive, you can thank the bold and brilliant 19th-century civic leader and visionary Daniel Burnham. His 1909 Plan of Chicago, one of the most influential examples of urban planning ever created, transformed the city and became one of the most influential planning documents ever written.

Join urban planner Vitaliy Vladmirov and Field Agent Patti Swanson on a walking tour that explores the impact, implementation, and failures of Burnham’s 1909 plan. You’ll discover how the city owes its lavish park systems, lakefront beauty, highway systems, and much more to architect Daniel Burnham, all while learning how 21st-century urban planners continue to build on the ideas he presented to structure cities today. More than 100 years later, Burnham’s famous words continue to shape Chicago, and his mantra to “make big plans” has—for better and worse—shaped a century of city planning.

Tour includes an illustrated, take-home companion guide entitled Urban Planning 101!


  • This event goes on rain, shine, or snow!
  • Meet Field Agent Patti at 360 North Michigan Avenue.
  • Be ready to walk 2.5 miles.
  • Wear shoes fit for an adventure and an outfit appropriate for the weather.
  • No ADA access.
  • The ticket is non-refundable, but you can transfer your purchase by following this handy Eventbrite tutorial.


Email Patti Swanson

About Patti Swanson

Patti Swanson is an architectural historian, educator, preservation enthusiast, and bookbinder living in Chicago. Raised near Austin, Texas, Patti came to Chicago in 2011 to pursue a degree in art history at School of the Art Institute of Chicago and stayed for the city's rich history, friendly people, and balmy winters. She worked as a tour guide for four years in various capacities before starting her own walking tour company, Chicago for Chicagoans, in 2016. Patti factors lots of local collaboration into her tours and strongly believes in making history accessible to everyone. She is best described as "Shazam for buildings," and can be found on her website Chicago for Chicagoans.

Stay connected! Subscribe to the Illinois Obscura Society newsletter and like our Facebook page for a first glimpse at upcoming events.

Advance Tickets only. All Sales Final. No Refunds or Exchanges.