We asked Hilary of H. Bune Designs to tell us what she would recommend a visitor do if they only have two hours or an afternoon to spend seeing Chicago. Hilary is a Chicago-based graphic designer with her own line of home and gift ware, some of which feature the city’s flag in the design. She loves the Chicago Architecture Foundation Riverboat Tour. She’s taken it at least three times(!) and says she learns something new every time, thanks to the very knowledgeable tour guides. The tour is perfect for business travelers with limited free time because it only lasts about 90 minutes
For Travelers Who Like: Travelers who love architecture and history
Where to Go: To take the Chicago Architecture Foundation River Cruise, go to the southeast corner of the Michigan Avenue Bridge at Wacker Drive. Look for the blue awning which covers the stairway entrance to the boat dock. You can buy tickets in advance online. Plan to arrive at least ½ hour before your departure time because there are no refunds if the boat sails without you! Check the website for tour times and prices.
What Makes It Special: The boat’s accommodations are quite nice. It has an open air upper deck, making for a great outing on a spring or summer day. There is a full service bar, a snack bar, and nice, upscale restroom facilities.
Trained tour guides use the stories behind some of the Chicago’s most significant buildings as a way to share the story of the city’s evolution from a small settlement to one of the world’s most cosmopolitan cities. The boat tour floats past over 50 buildings that are architecturally or historically significant. This is a city that is known for its architecture and some of which is truly stunning.
Do Not Miss: In addition to the regular cruise, there are two special excursions: the Capture Chicago Photography Cruise and the Twilight River Cruise. During the Capture Chicago Photography Cruise, guides will point out architectural highlights and the boat actually stops several times in order to give you a chance for a good photo op. The Twilight River Cruise is as magical as it sounds. Imagine sipping a cocktail with colleagues with Chicago’s night time skyline as your backdrop.