Sunday, August 9, 2015

Architectural Tour Cruise, (Chicago), 8/04/2015

Amanda and Justine made reservations for the four of us to go on an Architectural Tour Cruise (Seadog Chicago) departing from Navy Pier. They found a nearby parking garage at a reasonable rate using an app for that purpose. We walked to the pier enjoying the sights of the river and lake along the way.

The Nicolas J. Melas Centennial Plaza and Fountain.

Chicago Children's Museum (located at the entrance to Navy Pier), the Shakespeare Theatre (Amanda has worked here) further down the pier, and the Carousel.

We arrived 15 minutes early for the 90-minute tour and were boarded on schedule. The tour began with a brisk ride on Lake Michigan with stunning views of the pier and the Chicago skyline. It was a hot day so this was a great start to the tour. And it was beautiful out on the lake. 

Here are some of the amazing buildings we saw. Our guide, Grace, was very knowledgeable about the history of Chicago as well as the architects and history of the buildings.

Lake Point Tower, the top two floors were one of Oprah's residences. It had to be divided into multiple units to find buyers that could afford to live here. The unique structure enables it to withstand heavy winds with only 2" sway at the top. Upriver from this location is the Trump Tower. Locals despise the brightly-lit T-R-U-M-P signage!

These two buildings are Marina City, a combination residential and commercial property. There is parking on the lower levels of both buildings and a marina on the river below. Locals call them "the corn cobs."

The massive Merchandise Mart built by Fields who envisioned one location to house anything you might want to purchase. It was the largest building in the world when it was completed in 1931. It once had its own zip code.

Civic Opera Building

The Willis Tower (aka Sears Tower), 110 stories, built in 1970. And the Inland Steel Building was the first skyscraper to be built in the Loop after the Depression and World War II.

Check out the window washers on the first building. And construction seems to be underway everywhere in downtown Chicago (not to mention all of the road construction here).

Constructed in 1929, the green Carbide & Carbon Building has a gold-leaf tower. Wow!

Loved these "steps" along the river. What a great spot to enjoy lunch in the summer.

This, the oldest brick building in Chicago, is a sharp contrast to the glass and steel skyscrapers. 

The Wrigley Building, where construction started in 1920 as the corporate headquarters for the gum company, is across Michicagn Avenue from the Tribute Tower. The Tribune Building, home of the Chicago Tribune (newspaper), was completed in 1925. See the separate post about the diverse array of artifacts found embedded around the ground floor of the building.

Some interesting views on the river: kayakers and a yacht with a helicopter!

After passing through the locks from the river to the lake, we had a final cruise on the lake. The Chicago Harbor Lighthouse (an automated active lighthouse) protects the Chicago Harbor and is located just east of the Navy Pier and Chicago River.

A closing shot of the skyline and our tour guide, Grace. 

We really enjoyed the perspective of the Chicago skyline provided by this tour. I had visited this city on business many, many times over the years, but this is the first time I experienced this tour. It was great and is highly recommended for those interested in architecture and the history of this beautiful city.

Check out the Seadog Cruises website for information about available tours, hours or operation, and cost. Our tour was approximately $34 per person.

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