When I’ve asked both Chicago natives and Chicago fans what’s the one thing I should do when I’m in the city, they’ve unanimously said the Architecture River Cruise. So today I took their advice.
The open-topped boat tour leaves from the Magnificent Mile and, for 90 minutes, travels along the Y shape of the Chicago River. A guide – in our case, the lovely, ridiculously knowledgeable Constance – points out Chicago’s stunning buildings and talks about their history, form and significance.
I know that me liking absolutely everything I do is getting a little tired. But wow. What a great tour. I took it at midday and Chicago’s magnificent buildings glimmered beneath the baking Illinois sun. As the tour went on, I felt like I was gathering a rounded version of the history of the city and the architects – including Ludwig Mies, Bertrand Goldberg and Adrian Smith – who had a hand in making this gorgeous skyline.
In terms of its architecture, I really think Chicago is unlike any other city I’ve been to. Every single building seems to have been crafted with such art and grandeur. And as I walked the streets after taking the tour, I was looking up and noticing more and more of the beautiful buildings that we hadn’t seen from the river.
Prepare yourself for lots and lots of pictures… And if you’re ever in Chicago, make sure this is your first stop.