A city in love with its lake & river

Every spring once it starts warming up, we start seeing a ton of boats migrating from the cold storage docks out to the lake. Every once in a while you will get the opportunity to see all of the bridges rise while the sailboats make their way through the locks.

Of course one of the most popular tourist attractions in Chicago is the Chicago River Boat Tour. Whenever I have family and friends come in to town this is always one of my top three that I suggest, besides the Skydeck & one of the Museums. The tours will take you up the north and south branches of the river and give you full history of the buildings and the history of the river. The tour guides are very knowledgeable and encourage interaction. Most of the tour guides I have spoken with in the past are former architects, architecture students or big time history buffs. Every one of them have an amazing passion for what they are talking about.

The Chicago Line Architecture Cruises run about every hour  and the 2012 costs are:

  • $40 for adults
  • $32 for seniors 65 and older
  • $22 for youths ages 7 to 18
  • Children 6 and younger sail free

Two tips that I encourage you to do:

  • See my front desk team at the Hampton Inn & Suites Chicago Downtown before you head out, they can call ahead and make reservations for you with a deposit. That will save you time waiting in line.

Wake up a few minutes early and take the 8a cruise, it’s $10 off each person.

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What to do while in Chicago

As we gear into the wonderful Chicago Summer there are certain attractions that everyone must try at least once! The most common things to do in Chicago are going to Navy Pier, Millennium Park, city tours, The Art Institute, the Museum of Science and Industry, the architectural cruise plus many more.

My personal favorite activity is the architectural cruise; the tour is 90 minutes and it will make you think twice about our beautiful city of Chicago. At first when I agreed to go on this cruise (took much persuasion from my friend who was visiting from out of town) I was hesitant about going. To spend $35 to ride around in a boat when I already live in the city seemed like money I didn’t want to spend. Eventually I put myself in my friend’s shoes about coming to a city she had not been before and I agreed to go on the cruise.

Cruise on the Chicago River
Cruise on the Chicago River

The tour will take you from the aftermath of the great Chicago fire in the late 1800s, to how the city chose to rebuild itself using the surrounding water to their advantage. From there you will see some amazing buildings, the Merchandise Mart; you will go under several of Chicago’s movable bridges and to Navy Pier. After I got off of the cruise I was really glad that I had decided to go. It made me have a different type of appreciation for Chicago.

View Chicago by water with an architectural boat tour!

My recommendations for the tour; go on a sunny and warm day, make sure that you wear a hat if you are going to sit on the part of the boat that is not covered, make sure you grab a beverage and watch out for the shooting fountain, you just may get more than you bargained for! The best way to book this would be to do it on line (as it is cheaper), if you are staying here at the Hampton Inn & Suites Chicago Downtown, just ask one of our Front Desk Associates to book the tour for you and they will be happy to give you all the details and just let you know where it is that you need to show up! You’re here on vacation; let someone else do the work for you.

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