Emanuel made the announcement in a video release on his Web site, ChicagoforRahm.com.
"As I prepare to run for mayor, I'm going to spend the next few weeks visiting grocery stores, 'L' stops, bowling alleys, and hot dog stands. I'm calling this the 'Tell It Like It Is' tour because I want to hear from you, in blunt Chicago terms, what you think about our city, and how the next mayor and you can make it better," a deadpan Emanuel tells the camera.
"Leading Chicago would be a great responsibility and a tremendous privilege," he says.
Emanuel left his job as chief of staff for President Barack Obama on Friday.
The new Web site highlights Emanuel's ties to Chicago, noting his three terms representing a North Side district in Congress before his move to the White House.
His online biography says he is "deeply rooted in the life of the city."
Emanuel had been careful not to launch his mayoral bid from Washington. He didn't want to offend Chicago voters, who are expected to make him work to prove he truly deserves the job.