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Chicago River architectural boat cruise photo essay

Chicago River architectural boat cruise

Willis, you will always be Sear’s Tower to me from the Chicago River architectural boat cruise

One of the standard tourist activities in Chicago which is a must is the architectural boat cruise down the Chicago River with Wendella. I live in Chicago and this is one of those items I do every time someone comes from out of town or I suggest for those coming for a visit.

I have toured the downtown area via the river twice through an architectural boat cruise and once by canoe. I would do either tomorrow in a heart beat, so it is as enjoyable for locals as it is for visitors. The first time I did the boat cruise, I listened intently to the narrator and learned the history of all the beautiful buildings and the history of the city and the river. This  time I talked with friends and just watched the scenery.

Whether you want to learn about Chicago history and buildings, or if you want to tune it out, you will enjoy the tour either way. The cruise is also enjoyable rain or shine. The first time I went it was sunny and beautiful, and when I canoed the river it was hot and sunny. This time it was cloudy, rainy, and a little bleak, but the clouds provided interesting photos and did not dampen the spirit of the tour.

Wendella Chicago River

The tour begins down the stairs from the Wrigley Building

The tour meets at the Wrigley Building, which is located at 400 N. Michigan Avenue. Check groupons for frequent awesome deals on the trip. We bought our tickets for $18.00 with a free drink. For a different perspective, try the Chicago River by canoe or kayak (see the video near the top of the article). Boats can be rented via Kayak Chicago or the Chicago River Canoe and Kayak.

Chicago River boat cruise

Chicago River with the Marina Towers to the left

Chicago River boat cruise

Passing another boat along the Chicago River

Chicago River boat cruise

The boat that left just before ours near the Wrigley Building

Chicago River boat cruise

I don’t know the names of these buildings as I was drinking and talking

Willis Tower Chicago

The iconic Willis Tower as seen from the Chicago River

Wendella Architectural Boat Cruise

Interesting apartment building along the Chicago River

Chicago River

Chicago River

Chicago River

The turn around point near the confluence with Lake Michigan

Chicago River

For those who choose to listen, the narrator does a great job with the tour

Stay tuned,


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14 Responses to Chicago River architectural boat cruise photo essay

  1. Cal May 16, 2012 at 11:13 am #

    This is awesome. I wish I had time to do this when I was in Chicago. So much to do – must go back!

  2. Jeremy Branham May 16, 2012 at 2:27 pm #

    I’ve never been down the river there. It’s been many years since I’ve been to Chicago. I need to go back and visit. The last time I was there, Andre Dawson was the man for the Cubs and I saw a game in Wrigley Field.
    Jeremy Branham recently posted..Scottish clans, a Maori tribe, and a World War II hero

    • travelingted May 16, 2012 at 5:00 pm #

      Wow, that is a pretty long time ago Jeremy. You need to return.

    • Pola May 16, 2012 at 7:11 pm #

      You should also check out a Sox game – the food at that ballpark is great, as far as ballparks go! 🙂
      Pola recently posted..Photo Focus: The Chicago River

      • travelingted May 17, 2012 at 4:19 am #

        I concur Pola, and the team is much more interesting.

  3. robb714 May 16, 2012 at 6:07 pm #

    This was truly a great experience Ted, thanks for the wonderful job and great pictures of a truly beautiful city. It has been a long tome since I was there and it brought back hazy but fun memories.

    • travelingted May 17, 2012 at 4:20 am #


      After showing you around jungle, trails, and canoeing, I thought I would get civilized for once and show you the big city.

  4. Pola May 16, 2012 at 6:46 pm #

    Nice shots Ted, especially the turnaround point and the view down from the bridge. I can’t believe it took me over a decade to repeat the tour, it’s a lot of fun!
    Pola recently posted..Photo Focus: The Chicago River

    • travelingted May 19, 2012 at 6:11 pm #

      This same photo was featured in Aaron’s blog as well. Interesting about the similarities and differences between our posts.

  5. Aaron May 16, 2012 at 8:38 pm #

    Great skyline and building shots Ted! Love the upper-deck shot with Navy Pier straight ahead. It will always be Sears Tower to me too.
    Aaron recently posted..Photo(s) of the Week: An Exchequer Deep Dish Pizza in Chicago.

    • travelingted May 17, 2012 at 4:21 am #

      Willis Tower reminds me Different Strokes. Watchu talking about Willis Tower!

  6. Charles Higgins May 17, 2012 at 3:31 am #

    This is a big Chicago draw for me personally..thanks for the heads up.

    Charles Higgins recently posted..Dennis Quaid portrays Sheriff Ralph Lamb in new fall 2012 TV series

    • travelingted May 17, 2012 at 4:21 am #

      Hope you can make it out here sometime Charles!

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