Chicago architectural boat tours: what you can see from a river tour
Chicago is an architectural city and all of the buildings have a story. The Chicago Architecture Foundation offers a 90-minute river cruise where you get to learn about over 50 buildings along the water. It operates during the warmer months (April to November) and is fun for all. You can either sit on the roof top deck or inside the cabin as the docent gives you a tour. Take a look at what you can see on these fun boat tours.
See the office buildings and towers
Chicago has some pretty big skyscrapers, which isn’t surprising since the city is blocked by water on three sides — they had to build “up.” Plus, it has been growing rapidly for over a hundred years. While on Chicago boat tours, you get to see office building after office building that is built into the sky. Most feature steel construction and window wall panels — imagine what it would be like to work in one with a view of the city.
Some of the most notable office buildings and towers you can see on the water are the Willis Tower on the south branch of the river, the Bertrand Goldberg building, and even the Trump tower. Of course, this is by no means an expansive list. You will pass over 50 buildings during your Chicago boat tour. Each is unique and has its own story that your docent will talk about.
Spot historic residences and rehabed communities
Business isn’t the only thing that goes on in Chicago — there are several historic residences you can see on your Chicago boat tour. As a matter of fact, the Chicago Architecture Foundation was originally founded to save Richardson’s Glessner House in 1966.
In addition to historic houses, you can also see a bunch of rehabbed houses along the north branch of the river. Chicago has been through a lot, including a major fire in 1871, so several areas have seen major renovations and rebuilds. And, you can see some of this from the water. For instance, in the 1930s and 40s, poor people built small homes along the river while wealthy people preferred the lakefront.
View some of Chicago's historical attractions
Mixed among the historical residences and office buildings are attractions that have been in Chicago for decades. For instance, you can see the Civic Opera Building and even the towering Ferris wheel. There are also several bridges you can see, like the Columbus Drive Bridge. You can let your tour guide know if you are looking for something in particular, and they might be able to point it out.
Need a little more information about Chicago Boat Tours?
The main branch of the river is where most of the boat tours go, and it’s where most of the historical architecture is found. The interesting thing about Chicago is that it is surrounded mostly by water, which is one reason why it gets so much wind. And, because there is a water culture, Theodore Dreiser calls Chicago, “The Florence of the Midwest.” You can experience this firsthand with Chicago Boat tours.
So, purchase your tickets early to make sure you get a seat. Many call Chicago Boat Tours the most memorable part of their visit to Chicago. Include it in your vacation itinerary, too.
Booking your Chicago vacation
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