Daley, son of the legendary, even infamous, late Chicago Mayor Richard Daley, served for 22 years and will be succeeded by mayor-elect Rahm Emanuel on Monday.
Daley said he would leave a note for Emanuel, the Chicago Tribune reported. The longtime mayor declined to reveal its intended message.
He told the paper he was proud to carry on the legacy of his father, a notoriously hard-nosed mayor who died in office in 1976.
Daley, 69, spent the morning touring several community development projects he helped initiate, amid much fanfare.
During one speech, he urged the crowd to embrace Emanuel and show him the same "passion and the same commitment and honesty and feel of the community" that they showed Daley, the Chicago Sun-Times reported.
"It is necessary that all of us -- all of us -- come together because we don't want to go back to the days of people fighting for nothing. They were fighting for nothing. It became a disgrace for Chicago," the Sun-Times quoted Daley as saying about the 1980s scandal known as the "Council Wars," fueled by racial politics to stymie then mayor Harold Washington, who was black.
Daley, who announced he will write a book about his life in politics, told the Tribune of his tenure:
"I enjoyed it -- it was really not like work." He said.