Architecture cruises in Chicago run now through November; take in many sights along the river

There are all kinds of cruises. Most of the time when we think of cruising, we think of the big ocean liners that visit the Caribbean, Alaska, the Med and the Pacific.

We don’t necessarily think of a cruise in Chicago. But there are river cruises in the city of Chicago that should be considered by anyone visiting during the warm weather months.

The official Chicago Architecture Foundation  river cruise season opened May 1 and new this year are two “date night” cruises every Thursday and Friday evenings at 5:30 pm starting in June.

Seeing the city from the vantage point of the river gives a whole new feel to appreciating the city. The architecture river cruise is offered aboard Chicago’s First Lady Cruises luxury cruising yachts, with open-air decks as well as air conditioned interior seating.

Chicago Architecture Foundation – volunteer docents provide the fact-filled and enjoyable commentary on Chicago’s architecture during the 90-minute tour.

“People from as far away as Australia and Argentina or as close as the south loop enjoy the cruise,” said Jason Neises, Chicago Architecture Foundation VP of Tours. “The experience is always new because our docents keep up-to-date with new construction along the river and include all the news in their commentary.”

The cruise highlights 53 historic and architecturally significant sites including: the Trump Tower, Merchandise Mart, 333 W. Wacker, the Wrigley Building, the Tribune Tower, the Sears Tower, River City, and Marina City. The cruise also includes the North Branch of the Chicago River with buildings such as The Montgomery, formerly the world headquarters for Montgomery Ward; the Chicago Tribune printing press plant; Goose Island; Kinzie Park development; Riverbend and the clustered glass River Cottages.

All Chicago Architecture Foundation cruises depart from the lower level and southeast corner of the Michigan Avenue Bridge at Wacker Drive. The staircase to the ticket window and dock is marked by a blue awning. The 2010 Tour Schedule runs through November 21. The Chicago Architecture Foundation sells advance tickets on

The print-at-home option allows quicker check-in for passengers at the dock. Tickets are $32/person and are also available at the Chicago Architecture Foundation Shop, 224 S. Michigan Avenue, at the Chicago’s First Lady ticket window at the dock or by calling 1-800-982-2787.

The fleet of Chicago First Lady Cruises has been the official partner of the Chicago Architecture Foundation River Cruise since 1993, operating more than 1,600 tours annually to the general public.

About Cynthia Boal Janssens

Cynthia Boal Janssens is the editor and chief blogger for She is a former national president of the Society of American Travel Writers (SATW). She has sailed on over 40 cruises all over the world.

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