Chicago Day 2: Boat Trips

I’m linked up today and for the rest of the month in the 31 Days Challenge at The Nester. By clicking the tab at the top of the page, you can easily access all of the 31 Days in Chicago posts. If you’ve got a story to tell about your experiences in Chicago, I welcome guest posts. Join the fun by emailing me, or if you’re not ready to write, go to The Nester’s web site to follow some other stories this month.

Despite its Midwest location, Chicago has several boat tour options that can jump start a vacation — or a staycation. We have a fabulous skyline when seen from Lake Michigan, and the architectural tours that go up the Chicago River are equally fun.

Chicago River Architecture Tour

The granddaddy of all the current tour operators is the Wendella Sightseeing Company. Started in 1935, Wendella’s dock at 400 N. Michigan Ave. is easily accessible for tourists as it is right by the piers of the Michigan Avenue bridge. Wendella operates a Chicago River Architecture tour, a combined Lake and River tour, and a Sunset Lake Cruise.

Shoreline Sightseeing is almost as old as Wendella (1939) and now departs from a convenient dock in the Navy Pier Gateway Park. I have also taken this cruise and their open  top deck held a lot of passengers without any impediments to the view. You don’t have to worry about which side of the boat you are on since you can see both sides from the deck, and their guides were very good.

A newer entry into the cruise tour market, Chicago Line Cruises uses a dock at 465 N. McClurg Court, about halfway between Shoreline and Wendella. As you can see from their trendy web site, they are doing a lot to entice customers to their cruises. I took both the river and lake tours recently and they were upbeat and informative.

There are also water taxis that operate from the train stations via the Chicago River, and then there’s the Seadog cruises. I’ve never done these cruises, but they look like fun for the adventurous. 🙂

For the more sedate among you, the Tall Ship Adventures ships also go out into Lake Michigan for various cruises. There are three docking locations along the lakefront including Navy Pier and at the museum campus. When I took this tour with family members, we were disappointed to find that although the sails were up, we were always motoring. Still, it’s a fun trip for children who have grown up with Pirates of the Caribbean.

Finally, for the romantics among you, dinner cruises are available on the Spirit of Chicago, the Odyssey, and Mystic Blue. All three are beautiful large yachts with full dinner service, bars, and often dancing and music while you are out on the lake. For a couple of hours, you can pretend to be rich and party like a celebrity.

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