Chicago has long been known for its stunning skyline and its awe-inspiring architecture. So it’s no surprise that the city would also come to be known for its many architectural tours and cruises. I sat down with representatives from a few of Chicago’s most popular tour groups to ask them about the wonderful architecture tours they offer.
This week, I spoke with Anita from Entertainment Cruises.
How long has your company been offering its tours?
Seadog opened in 1996 but has been offering architectural cruises for over 12 years (since 1999).
What made you decide to start offering architectural tours?
Well quite simply, there was a demand for them! Chicago has so many famous landmarks and amazing architecture that Chicagoans and tourists both were interested in these tours to learn more and get up-close views so we responded and put our own spin on it.
What are some of the highlights of an architectural cruise?
We are the only architectural cruise that takes guests from the lakefront, through the river and back to the lakefront to end with a fun, speedboat ride so it is the most comprehensive cruise offered. You begin the cruise with up-close views on the river, and then complete the tour with an incredible view of the famous skyline from Lake Michigan.
Willis Tower (formerly Sears Tower). As you idle down the river, you begin to see it peaking through the other buildings but you just can’t appreciate its magnitude and truly how tall it is until you are positioned directly in front of it from the water. Every time I cruise, I’m still “wow’d” and in awe when I start at its base and look up. Amazing.
How long do your tours typically last?
Our architectural cruises last 75 minutes with about an hour of this being the tour through the river.
What sort of person would you encourage to go on one of your tour?
Our tours combine a fun narration with facts about the architecture so the tours are entertaining for all ages. Kids will enjoy the tour without realizing that they’re even learning, and of course they all enjoy the speedboat ride at the end. Adults enjoy the facts that they learn – even locals learn something new on this tour! Anyone looking for a fun tour would definitely enjoy this cruise!
Do your customers learn much about the history of architecture during the cruise?
Absolutely. Although our narration is fun and entertaining, it’s also educational. Guests will learn more about The Great Chicago Fire, why the Chicago River was reversed, or even the reason how Lake Point Tower became the only skyscraper in downtown Chicago that is east of Lake Shore Drive, among other surprising and interesting facts.
Is there anything else you’d like to add?
Seadog’s Lake and River Architectural Tour is the most popular tour out of Seadog’s cruises and I encourage everyone to discover for themselves what brings customers back!