I know we all love playing tourist in our home city, and with all the visitors I’ve had coming and going this summer I was able to take two architectural riverboat cruises through the city of Chicago. It was a really great time and a recommended activity whether you are visiting the city for the first time or the hundredth because of the unique views you get from the water.
The first I took was on Chicago’s First Lady through the CHICAGO ARCHITECTURE FOUNDATION. You can get tickets for this tour and many others directly on their website and the proceeds will go to benefit the foundation. Within the past year I’ve gone on several walking tours through the Chicago Architecture Foundation and they have been incredibly enjoyable and really informative. I love being able to hear about history especially when it is history that you get you get to walk through and experience every day.
The second riverboat tour that I took was through SHORELINE SIGHTSEEING. The dock for this boat was directly across the river from Chicago’s First Lady and took the exact same route along the river highlighting a lot of the same talking points.
The tour starts out in the shadow of the city’s second tallest building, Trump Tower. Heading towards the river’s branches the tour focuses on talking about buildings and architectural styles on one side of the river first and covers the other side on the way back.
The Marina-City towers are some of my personal favorite buildings in the city. Built in the 1960s this architectural landmark is a truly unique place to live along the river.
From the river you get an interesting view of the tallest building in the city, the Willis (Sears) Tower. It looms over the surrounding buildings.
After traveling down the branches for a little bit you go back down the original way you came focusing now on the buildings on the other side of the river.
Finally the boat takes you out towards the lake and Navy Pier. This time as it turns around it’ll pause a moment for everyone to take in the skyline and get that final money-shot looking back into the city.
Overall, both of the tours were really great! Both had bars on the lower level where you can get a drink while you listen, and like I mentioned before they took the same route with similar talking points. The Shoreline Sightseeing boat gave a little bit more information about the current real estate pricing and celebrity hang-outs while the Chicago Architecture Foundation was more about the history. Both talked about types of architecture and the buildings themselves though so either would be a great option!