All cruises are weather permitting and availability is based on Coast Guard capacity. Redeem your pass at Navy Pier or Michigan Avenue! Please check the website for most up-to-date hours. Explore Chicago on board an Architecture River Tour. This picturesque cruise is led by a professional guide that gives the exciting details of the buildings that line the Chicago River, as well as their historical significance.
A few months ago, I had the opportunity to visit Chicago. It had been over twenty-five years since my last visit, and I began to wonder if I would still recognize the city. Needless to say, a lot had changed. But the one impression of Chicago that had embedded itself in my memory was still intact. Chicago is a city that excels in amazing skyscraper architecture. In fact, a journey through the downtown area of Chicago is a trip through the history of the development of the modern city.
I have always been fascinated by architecture, particularly architects and builders who push the boundaries of current convention and create everlasting monuments that highlight the creativity and genius of design and engineering. Over the past two years, I have been to Dubai and Shanghai, where the limits of engineering, design, creativity, and construction seem to be surpassed on a monthly basis.
Part of my reason for visiting these cities was to see and marvel at the growth and building that is taking place. I also took multiple architecture classes in college due to my fascination with urban design and history. The study of the rebuilding of Chicago after the Great Fire of was a major topic in many of these classes. So, when it was recommended to me to take an architectural tour of Chicago , I eagerly jumped at the opportunity. There are many architectural tours offered in Chicago, but the ones that I found most fascinating were the boat tours advertised in the area along the Chicago River by Michigan Avenue.
Some of these tours are just on the Chicago River and others actually go out to Lake Michigan through a lock that connects the river to the lake. The company that was recommended to me was the First Lady Boat Cruise because the excursions were narrated by actual docents from the Chicago Architecture Foundation. The day of our tour was very pleasant. It started out a little overcast, but the sun eventually broke through and became stronger throughout the tour. The combination of sun and clouds made for excellent photographs.
We choose to sit in the middle of the boat on the top deck so we could have a full view of the Chicago skyline. All of this turned out to be a good choice. I was feeling really confident when the tour began, because unlike most of the passengers on our boat, I actually did know the difference between a Sullivan; van der Rohe; and Skidmore, Owings, and Merrill. Our docent, Katherine, spoke from the front of the boat, but moved around a lot, and answered many questions.
She was a wealth of information and talked continually through the minute tour. We were encouraged to take as many photographs as we wished and to move around the boat to find the best camera angles. Many people took photographs, but I was the only person who got out of his seat to find the best photograph opportunities. All of this proved to be interesting along with insights into how the river became a focal point of the city. Our boat navigated through the Main Branch of the Chicago River and traveled up and down both the North and South Branches of the river.
It passed famous structures such as the Wrigley Building and many other structures that I had never heard about. It turned out that I had a lot to learn. Most of the talk focused on the buildings surrounding the river and the architects who designed these wonders of Chicago. We learned about a multitude of architects and architectural firms along with the the struggles and challenges that came about to create the modern city of Chicago.
Eventually our tour ended where it began near the Michigan Avenue Bridge. One thing that is unique about the Chicago Architecture Foundation tour is that even though the basic program is the same, the narration can vary significantly based on the interests and strengths of the docents. My daughter, who had taken this tour a few times before, remarked that she always learns something new each time.
In fact, she shared with me some interesting pieces of information about the curved design of a building on West Wacker Drive that she had heard on a previous tour. I really enjoyed the approach to sight-seeing offered by the Chicago Architecture Foundation and did not feel that I was missing something offered on previous tours. I like the fact that the docents had the freedom to point out different features of the city depending on the interests of the audience, time of day, or changing atmosphere of the city.
It made the experience seem fresh, and I appreciated the value our docent brought to our tour by including her personal insights and interests. This was really an enjoyable and interesting tour, and I was really surprised at how much I enjoyed it. The tour was really about the growth of a city and its determination to establish an identity as a unique urban destination.
If you go, in addition to the Architectural Boat Tour, the Architecture Foundation also offers many other architecture tours by bus and on foot that focus on specialized topics as well as other areas of the city. Amazing travel column. Really enjoyed reading it. I also took this tour last year during my Chicago trip. Name must be a real name required. Mail will not be published required. Amateur Traveler Award Winning Travel Blog and Podcast helping real travelers plan real trips to their own backyard or around the world.
A Tour Review: Modern Architecture Share this:. Buckingham Fountain — Chicago, Illinois — Photo. Kramer is an elementary educator who developed a love of travel after attending an educational technology conference in Beijing in the year Since then he has returned to China eight times to experience many popular attractions, national parks, and out of the way places often not visited by Westerners. His travel partners are his wife, Liping, and his daughters, Liz and Jessica.
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Chicago Architecture Foundation (CAF)
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There are several ways to save money on tickets. Open Tuesday-Saturday 10am-6pm and Sunday 11am-4pm. Monday-Saturday 10am-6pm and Sunday 11am-5pm. Wacker Drive or directly at the boat dock at the southeast corner of Michigan Ave. Just bring your river cruise ticket to the CAC box office.
Find Your Chicago Architecture Tour
The email or password you entered isn t correct. If you ve forgotten your password, please reset it. Click here. Ben was so knowledgeable and interesting with the best sense of humor! This was by far the best tour we have been on. The Architectural River Cruise was amazing! One of my favorite things to do in Chicago.WATCH THE VIDEO ON THEME: Chicago Architecture Boat Tour — Chicago Line Cruises
Architecture & Sightseeing Cruises
Published by Belablast at under Chicago. Spend hours admiring exhibits in world-class art, natural history and science museums. Explore the universe in the planetarium, aquatic life in the aquarium. Enjoy an evening at the theater; attend a professional sports game; stroll through the verdant landscape and public art of beautiful lakefront parks. Admire panoramic skyline views from a boat cruise along the Lake Michigan shoreline; ride the Wheel on Navy Pier. Choose a dining experience from a long list of great restaurants; shop, shop, shop Magnificent Mile. The common denominator: Like many other large American cities, Chicago has preserved some of the grand, gilded theaters from the roaring 20s era. Taking a guided tour of the interior of one of the finest is a must-do time travel.
The Best Way to See Chicago
Can t wait to come back again this Summer! The ride on the river front is wonderful. The volunteers who give the architectural tour are extraordinary and love what they do and their city. The stories they tell are extremely interesting. In short, one of the best tours I ve been to.
Land & River Architecture Tour featuring HISTORIC CHICAGO - South Side Tour
The CAF Architecture river cruise is an excellent way to learn about Chicago s famous architecture and the city s history. The tour takes you down the downtown branches of the Chicago river as well as out to Lake Michigan. The views are spectacular and the tour guides are fun and knowledgeable. This tour gives travelers a great background of the history of the city and what makes it special. Obviously architecture and history buffs will love it but even kids will enjoy being on a boat and gazing at the skyscrapers. Check sites like Groupon and LivingSocial for tour deals and discounts. Bundle up if you go in the winter and wear sunscreen if it s warm out! Log In join as a local. Chicago Architecture Founda City Winery Chicago Riverwalk by Allison.
Chicago River Tours
The skyline has been shaped by some of the best-known architects in history, including Frank Lloyd Wright, Mies van der Rohe and Daniel Burnham. Learn the story of how the city was rebuilt from the ground up after the Great Chicago Fire, and see some design masterpieces along the way.. Undaunted by the Great Chicago Fire of that destroyed much of the city, these monumental buildings transformed Chicago into a center of skyscraper design and engineering. The Rookery. Clayton Hauck. Voted one of the top 10 tours in the country by TripAdvisor , this popular minute cruise is narrated by CAF-certified docents who point out more than 50 architectural gems along the Chicago River. Other tour options include: Headlining tours include: This is the ultimate in insider tours. Tours generally travel 1.
Participants can admire over 40 Chicago landmarks from the perspective of all three branches of the Chicago River. Established in , this family-owned company organizes educational and entertaining sailing cruises for children and adults.
I will make my way to the central departure point listed on my voucher and the Getting There section of the website. If you have questions or are unsure of the location, please contact us after booking to arrange pickup. We will send you full contact details for the local office once you have booked. Once you have booked your hotel, please contact us to arrange pickup. Highlights include: You must email Chicago Line Cruises to request your cruise time at info chicagoline. Be sure to provide your name as it is on your confirmation, number of passengers and Gray Line confirmation number. A member of Chicago Line Cruises will reply to your email with confirmation of date and time. Boat Cruise Schedule: April 30 - May The return trip will take you through Museum Campus and past Buckingham Fountain. Throughout the signature cruise one of the award-winning Docents will present more than 50 skyscrapers, bascule bridges, and historic sites. In a world of iconic architecture, only a few images are so instantly recognized they need no subtitle. Think of the Venetian canals, a Shinto temple, the medieval Cathedral at Chartres, or the unmistakable skyline of Chicago.
Throughout our signature cruise one of our award-winning Docents will present more than 50 skyscrapers, bascule bridges, and historic sites. In a world of iconic architecture, only a few images are so instantly recognized they need no subtitle. Think of the Venetian canals, a Shinto temple, the medieval Cathedral at Chartres, or the unmistakable skyline of Chicago. Each year thousands of architecture lovers travel to the City of Chicago, the birthplace of the skyscraper… and thousands book passage aboard our enthralling river tour, widely considered the best minutes spent in Chicago. On Saturdays, at 8: A jaw-dropping excursion through a city that defied all expectations … even the laws of gravity. Travel all three branches of the Chicago River, starting down the main branch then traveling the North branch up to Chicago Ave. To give a special someone, friend, or client the best tour in Chicago, simply ask at our ticket office, contact us, or purchase online. Learn More. Gift Passage.
Chicago is known around the world for its architecture. Whether you tour downtown or a neighborhood, our expert docent guides will tell you the stories behind the buildings. Visit iconic skyscrapers, elegant hotels or the legendary houses of Frank Lloyd Wright. With more than 85 tours to choose from, we won t blame you if you can t pick just one. The CAC s world-famous river cruise is a must for out-of-towners and Chicagoans alike. Looking for the…. Select a tour of architectural treasures throughout Chicago and its suburbs, brought to life as only a CAC docent can. Get on a bus to see more of the city! Choose from several special one-time bus tours. Must-See Chicago is a fast-paced, minute introductory tour to Chicago featuring some of its most famous….