Chicago is the birthplace of the skyscraper. It’s known for its engineering innovation and for its architecture. The city is also known for the river that flows through downtown and gives it its distinctive character. One of the best ways to explore all of these is to take a boat tour with the Chicago Architecture Foundation.
Why Take a Tour with the Chicago Architecture Foundation?
The Chicago Architecture Foundation is a non-profit organization whose goals include preserving and sharing Chicago’s architectural past. As such, their tours are led by volunteer docents who undergo a strict and intensive training program. The result is tour guides who not only love the city’s buildings and history, but also are equipped with countless stories about how Chicago was shaped.
What Will You Learn?
Your docent will talk about the individual buildings as you pass by each one. You’ll learn which architects designed each building as well as its style. The tour guide will also give some background on the Chicago River itself, the Great Chicago Fire of 1871, and various engineering feats.
TLTip: Chicago’s First Lady yachts offer climate-controlled lower cabins so that you can cool off or warm up. There’s also a bar complete with cocktails, beer, wine, and most importantly on those hot summer days, water.
That Sounds Like School. Will You Be Bored?
A tour with the Chicago Architecture Foundation is anything but boring. Not only are the docents well versed in their subject matter, they also are very entertaining. You’ll hear stories about the city’s founders. You’ll even find out if Mrs. O’Leary’s cow really did start that fire back in 1871.
How Long is a Boat Tour with the Chicago Architecture Foundation?
The architectural tour lasts ninety minutes. You’ll want to arrive at the dock early so you have plenty of time to board. Each tour leaves on time, so you don’t want to miss the boat.
Does the Chicago Architecture Foundation Offer Other Boat Tours?
In addition to the architectural tour, the CAF also offers a tour for photographers. The Capture Chicago Photography Cruise runs on Saturdays and Sundays only at 9 a.m.
For a more serene experience take their Twilight River Cruise. Only offered on Fridays at 7:30 p.m. you’ll get to glide down the river as the sun sets on the architectural wonders.
How Much Does a Tour Cost?
All three tours are $37.50 per person. If you’re a Chicago Architecture Foundation member you can get 2-for-1 tickets one time throughout the year. You can buy online or by calling 1-800-982-2787.
See: Get Tickets
Taking a boat tour with the Chicago Architecture Foundation is an excellent way to learn about Chicago’s past. It’s a relaxing and entertaining experience that will have you loving the Windy City even more.