A nice start to the day at Lower Mazinaw Lake, Ontario, Canada.
Where are Kevin and Ruth now? Ottawa, Canada.

Where are Kevin and Ruth going next? Reuniting with Max in Germany on October 1st.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Chicago Architecture Foundation River Cruise

The Chicago Architecture Foundation River Cruise aboard Chicago's First Lady Cruise's is certainly one of the more popular ways to learn more about the skyline and some of the more interesting buildings. The one and a half hour cruise takes you down the Chicago River and onto both branches where the river splits.

If you can organize your visit to be able to take a Tuesday or Wednesday cruise, AND book it in advance online, you can do it for $30 per person. Otherwise, it is $35 per person, or $38 if you buy the day of the cruise. It's a little pricey, but the guides are probably the most informed so if you really want to know the details, then this is the cruise for you.


There's also a full bar on board and they sure play that up in the introduction. But at $7 to $9 for a mixed drink, I wasn't about to ask what a beer would cost!

We picked up our tickets in advance at their office near Millenium Park. Good thing we allowed lots of time because it's quite a walk from there to the boat dock on the Chicago River.

Ruth, with the brand new boat Chicago's Leading Lady.

Although we learned a few new tidbits of info, we already knew a lot about these building from our free Greeter tour on Tuesday. So if you really want to keep the costs down, the Greeter tour is the way to go. And we had already done the Urban Kayak tour, so we had already seen a lot of the buildings from the river perspective. Really, you don't need to do three tours...just pick one way to do it. The Architecture Foundation River Cruise is probably the most comfortable way, but the free Greeter tour is the cheapest way, and the Urban Kayak tour is by far the most fun!

I won't repeat pictures of some of the buildings that we've shown in previous posts, but here's a couple of new views...

Major renovation project on this building!

Zoomed in on the Sears Tower Skydeck glass ledges on the 103rd floor!

Another interesting building.

A different perspective looking back.

After the cruise, we had an hour so so to spare so we wandered down "The Magnificent Mile", Michigan Avenue. This is where all the expensive restaurants and stores are located, sort of the Rodeo Drive of Chicago.

Happened upon one sign that we had to show you. If you're going to bring a car into downtown Chicago, make sure to bring some spare change to pay for parking...


Almost all of the buildings in 1871 were made of wood. That's why downtown was destroyed in the great fire. This lone water tower, and the waterworks building behind are the only survivors of the fire.

An interesting condo building called "The Wave".  Designed by a very rare female architect!

Stay tuned for part 3...the Chicago Segway Tour!


  1. had to chuckle..not exactly the same view and your st. louis river tour :-)
    and you are correct, never thought of it before but there sure arent many female architectors

  2. Hold it....are those....PANTS we see you wearing in the header picture???? We didn't think you guys even owned those anymore!! Good reports. As always, sounds like you are enjoying yourselves!! We will take care of Mexico while you are gone!!

  3. Great memories, we really enjoyed that tour.

  4. The same night as the Chicago fire, was a HUGE fire up here in Peshtigo (the town just north of us) .. it was a worse fire and killed many people than the Chicago fire did, but didn't get the headlines that Chicago fire got.

    The tallest white pines on our land here survived, and if you cut them down, a definite ring can be seen going back to the year of the fire if you "age" the tree.

    (we had 2 white pines blow down in a storm and the sawmill guy showed us the year of the fire)


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