The sky was blue…not a cloud in sight. The temperature was 80 degrees … a perfect day for the Chicago Architecture Boat Tour.
Chicago Architecture Boat Tour
Denise’s niece was kind enough to invite us to join her for the two-hour tour. We met at 11 am at the Wendella dock near Trump Tower. I was surprised to see so much traffic on the river. There are several companies that offer architecture boat tours, as well as water taxis, and private pleasure boats.
We sat on the upper deck with about 70 others while the crew oriented us to the boat and what to expect. At least five times during the 5-minute talk the World Champion Chicago Cubs were mentioned. But who can blame them for this long awaited self-promotion?
Recent, though Remarkable Architecture
Chicago is not known for its historic architecture because most buildings were destroyed by the Great Fire of 1871. However, it is famous for its plethora of unique styles. With dozens of styles in the downtown area, you might see a building influenced by the Arts and Crafts movement, shouldered by a post-modern skyscraper and another of Art Deco design. A guide narrated the tour offering insights into the design as well as noting the historical significance of the buildings.
Among my personal favorites was 333 West Wacker, which exemplifies the post-modern style. Located at the point of the Chicago River where the main branch meets its south branch, this 36-floor office building was designed by Kohn Pedersen Fox (KPF). Its 489-foot curved, blue-green glass facade mimics the bend and color of the river. When the architect was questioned about the simplicity of the exterior design, he responded that the reflection of the neighboring buildings would act as decoration. In fact, it was those reflections that I found mesmerizing. (Fun fact: this building was the work place of Ferris Bueller’s father in the 1986 movie.)
Camping in Chicago
While we had dropped off OLGA at the factory in Bristol and were staying with family, RV camping is available in downtown Chicago. If you are up to braving the always congested Chicago traffic, you can actually dry camp in McCormick Park near Soldier’s Field for less than you can park a car for the day. (Note, parking a car in town will run you more than $40/day while camping in McCormick Place runs about $30/day.) If like us, you don’t tow a vehicle, Chicago’s public transportation or the Bike Chicago program offers excellent options for sightseeing in the US’s third largest city.