When I think of Chicago I think of deep dish pizza, sporting events, Garrett’s Popcorn, sightseeing, Bernie the Blister, Chicago hot dogs and skyscrapers. My recent trip to the Windy City with the North Iowa Bloggers was one that I will never forget and I have regaled you with my adventures over the past few weeks. It was an unbelievably fun trip and I was so excited to be able to be a part of this group for probably one last big adventure before I move from Iowa.
I personally was so excited when I found out early on that we were going to be able to take an architectural tour of this great city with Shoreline Sightseeing. Shoreline Sightseeing in Chicago is a third generation, family-owned company that has been in business since 1939. This company has many boat rides to offer including a night version which includes fireworks. Our ride was the complete 75 minute tour aboard our boat The Evening Star with our fabulous and very knowledgeable tour guide, Victor. Victor told us so many things over the course of the trip that my mind could not possible contain it all. He was a passionate lover of all things architecture and was able to give his presentation while inserting some of his own humor and opinions into the mix which made the tour even more personal.
So why Chicago? Chicago has always been on the cutting edge of building skyscrapers and the entire world looks to this city for inspiration when it comes to trying to reach the sky. It influenced architecture across the world ever since the Chicago School of Architecture transitioned from standard construction techniques with brick and concrete to the steel frame structures that allowed building ever taller buildings. Architects like Louis Sullivan and Mies van der Rohe are some of the famous architects based in Chicago that led the way to the functional skyscrapers that grace the skylines of cities in the US and abroad. Many of the most innovative and creative buildings were erected in the city of Chicago, and for several decades the city even boasted the world’s tallest building.
I loved seeing all of the wonderful buildings and was amazed at how many buildings are still being built. I thought all of the land would have been taken up by now but no—there are a lot of buildings under construction that will be reaching completion over the next few years. All this could be noted by seeing mammoth cranes and other building paraphernalia scattered across the landscape as we rode by on the river.Some of the buildings are old school, some show off the beauty of modern design and some are just baffling to me. I have to admit that my favorite one, the Marina, reminds me of something out of the Jetsons cartoon from years ago. The tallest 5 buildings in Chicago are as follows:
- Willis Tower (formerly known as Sears Tower) stands at 1,450 feet an is the 2nd tallest in the US.
- Trump International Hotel and Tower stands at 1 389 feet and is the 4th tallest in the US.
- Aon Center is 1,136 feet tall and ranks as the 5th tallest in the US.
- John Hancock is 1,127 feet tall and comes in as the 6th largest building in the US.
- Franklin Center North Tower is 1,007 feet tall and boasts being the 11th tallest building in the US.
I would love to take this tour again sometime, maybe at night when the fireworks are an added attraction. I know my husband would absolutely love to hear all of the engineering facts and information that the tour guides share on this tour. I think the sign of a great experience is when you immediately want to return to repeat it. The Architectural Sightseeing Tour did that for me. I would love to go back and take notes this time so I could actually identify the buildings in the pictures I was taking. Our boat was very comfortable and viewing from any seat was easy to do. There was even a place downstairs that customers could go to the cash bar to get a beverage. Chicago River Architecture Tours depart from Shoreline’s dock at Polk Bros Park at Navy Pier (southwest corner) and also from the Michigan Avenue Bridge (northeast corner). Boarding begins 15 minutes before departure.
If you missed any of my posts about my Chicago adventures I invite you to click on any of the links below to be taken directly to a link in a new window for each post. I would love to share my love of Chicago with everyone.
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