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Alternative Bus Tours

Some big-city bus tours in Chicago, Las Vegas, New York, San Francisco, and Seattle offer a more whimsical insider’s insight.

fire truck tour in Chicago, image
Photo caption
Take a fire truck tour through the Windy City.


Most big-city bus tours are the sightseeing equivalent of elevator music—boring, cheesy, and grating on the nerves. Luckily, some tour operators are challenging the stereotype and offering whimsical alternatives.

CHICAGO Delve into the history of the great Chicago fire aboard an antique engine. O’Leary’s Fire Truck Tours, $20. (312) 287-6565,

LAS VEGAS Visit sites supposedly frequented by celebrity ghosts—Bugsy Siegel, Redd Foxx, Liberace, and Elvis. Haunted Vegas Tours, $46.25. (702) 737-5540,

NEW YORK Hop on the Sopranos Tour bus and get an inside look at Pizzaland. On Location Tours, $35–$40. (212) 209-3370,

SAN FRANCISCO Climb aboard a motorized cable car that zips you to the Golden Gate Bridge. Gray Line Tours, $28 (AAA discount offered). (888) 428-6937,

SEATTLE The World War II amphibious vehicle known as the Duck rolls around town before splashing into Lake Union. Ride the Ducks of Seattle, $23. (800) 817-1116,

Photography courtesy of O’Leary’s Chicago Fire Truck Tours


This article was first published in January 2006. Some facts may have aged gracelessly. Please call ahead to verify information.