Monday, October 1, 2012

Chicago Line Cruises

Have you ever taken an architectural tour?  Chablis and I took one last week of Chicago and we really enjoyed it.  We booked a trip with Chicago Line Cruises, and opted for the 1 1/2 hour boat cruise.  The
$ 40.00 per person tickets included the boat ride, an informative docent who spoke for the entire 90 minute trip and a treat table of Starbucks coffee, assorted teas, water and homemade lemonade, as well as  delicious, fresh baked muffins and cookies.  Water, a boat, a nice day and food - What's not to like??

The trip starts out at the North Pier Dock, which is located just blocks away from Navy Pier.  The cruise ship passes under Lake Shore Drive....

 rounds Ogden Slip and slides into the Chicago River....

Look on the left side of the building below.  That's a window washer hard at work.  Windex anyone??

The view from the river offers a totally different perspective of the buildings that I usually see from a distance...

We heard about the different architectural styles and the famous architects who worked on the various buildings.  After the Chicago Fire in 1871, the entire lakefront business district was wiped out and had to be re-built from the bottom up.  Actually, I should do a blog post on that one day, because it's really interesting.

This is the NBC building.....

The Civic Opera House...

This is the Wrigley building and I like this type of architecture the best.  I like all the columns and intricate decorations.

Marina Towers....

The Merchandise Mart, which is one of the largest buildings in the world and was once owned by the Kennedy family....

The Sun-Times building...

The Spirit of Progress is perched atop the Montgomery Ward building, which was once the national  headquarters of the world's oldest mail order business....

That's Sears Tower in the background.  Well, actually it's now known as Willis Tower, but I can't bring myself to utter the words...  It's 108 stories high and is the tallest building in the United States.  The docent told us that the top of the building will sway as much as 3 feet in the wind.  One of the upper floors has three  glass balconies that are built out 4 feet and for a fee you can go stand in them and stare down at Wacker Drive, 1353 below.  I haven't done it yet, but one of these days I will.  

That building in the distance, to the right of center, is all 14k gold on top....

There is only one skyscraper that was allowed to be built east of Lake Shore Drive, and that's Lake Point Tower.  It's one of my favorite buildings because of its graceful curves.  The windows are bronze tinted and  surrounded by gold anodized aluminum frames that make the building shimmer gold in the sun.

We lucked out and got to see some of the bridges open while we cruised by....

Returning to port we could see the Ferris wheel at Navy Pier....

When we were on the river we saw this water fountain...

The docent told us that the city is in the process of building a 4 mile Riverwalk, so after the cruise we ventured down the portion of it that had been completed.  We strolled past restaurants, shops and lots of empty store fronts just waiting for businesses to move in.  We also came across the water fountain again...

The Riverwalk is going to be a beautiful addition to the city and I imagine it will be bubbling with activity once it's completed.  We walked over to see the Tribune building and then had lunch at the Billy Goat Tavern, which you can read about here.

If you're in Chicago and want to see the city from a different perspective and learn some of the history of these amazing buildings, then I suggest you take one of the boat tours.  The only thing I didn't like, and this had nothing to do with the boat tour company at all, was the parking situation.  We chose to drive into Chicago that day and park at one of the parking garages.  The price for 4 hours was $ 36.00.  Are they insane??  To park a car?  Next time I'll just take the Metra and hike the 2.5 miles to the boat tour.  Keep that in mind.


  1. Great post! I'd love to take this river boat tour. It's fun to learn the history of a place, and take in views from a different angle. That IS an insane amount to pay for parking!

  2. What's not to like indeed?! Sounds like a great day! And I'm discovering the Chicago seems to be a much more interesting place to visit than I'd ever thought! (was never on my list of "cities to see one day", but it's forcing its way on there thanks to you!)

    1. Cris: there is so much to see and do in Chicago. I hadn't really been down to Chicago much for years, but now that Chablis is older, I find we go there a lot more often and I'm re-discovering it myself. I hope you get to come someday and I'll take you around!

  3. Wow! That was some tour! Thanks for sharing it. I've never spent any time in Chicago and it looks like I need to change that!

    1. There is SO much to do here. You should really think about going sometime. Thanks for stopping by!

  4. What a great way to see the City!

  5. Wow! so beautiful places and building are so nice. What a great architectures, thank you for sharing with this a wonderful photos.

    Kind regards,
    Hospital Architects

  6. Fun! Love these kinds of tours

  7. what a fun tour and the perfect time of the year to take one. :)

  8. That almost looks like the boat from the movie "My Best Friend's Wedding". You & Chablis are always up to something interesting & fun. xo

  9. Wow, this is especially interesting to me from a completely onsite perspective. I've spent a lot of time in this beautiful city always looking towards the waterway. It looks so cool looking back FROM the waterway! Neat! I know where all those places are! I love Chicago!
    I see Chablis stole the camera lens again! Beautiful girl indeed but, something about your warm smile Kim just makes my day! I'm sure she would love to take a pic of you, come on, say cheese.......
    Finally, for someone who can photograph the crap out of the great outdoors, you ain't too bad in the city as well! Great pics, nice tour, thanks for sharing!


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