Wendella Boat Tours

Member Rating 5 out of 5 by c_rau on September 26, 2005

The Wendella boat was docked at the Wrigley building. We walked down the stairs from Michigan Avenue while a guitar player sang at street level in front of Wrigley, his voice echoing along the dock below. Even though we had no advance knowledge of the tour schedule, we managed to arrive 15 minutes prior to departure, which was plenty of time to buy tickets and board. There was an upper deck, uncovered seating, and lower deck, covered seating, depending on your preference. We chose upper deck because it was a beautiful day. There were also restrooms and a snack bar (that served cocktails!).

Our guide was a young blonde woman who knew her architecture, but her jokes were older than she was and completely unnecessary. She was pleasant enough without reciting the corny jokes.

The tour started with Chicago's newest building, right next to the dock, a building so new it's still under construction - the Trump Tower Chicago (the one being managed by that "Apprentice" guy the woman next to me whispered). It was being built on the former site of the Sun-Times newspaper offices. The Sun-Times had renovated and moved to another building just down river, which oddly enough had a Holiday Inn perched on top of it. The tour started on the Upper River, which the tour guide told us had become the hot new condo district in downtown Chicago. Turn-of-the-century warehouses had been turned into luxury condos and several new high-rise condos had been built, many with waiting lists of people to move in. The new buildings on this side of the river were less than 3 years old. The south side of the river was the business side. Boeing, the US Post Office, and Sears Tower dominate this part of the tour. As the boat traveled back toward the dock, it continued to the canal that separated it from Lake Michigan. (Did you know that the Chicago River flowed backward? Take the tour and find out why, unless you're from St. Louis, then you don't want to know.) From here the tour wound up with information on the Lakeshore Towers, where all the celebrities in Chicago live. The tour takes about an hour and is a wonderful and educational way to spend the afternoon. Now, I know nothing about architecture, but I do know a good-looking building when I see one and Chicago has some of the best. I would highly recommend taking the tour on a sunny day to catch the reflections of the north buildings on the beautiful curves and glass of the 333 Wacker Dr. Building. Exquisite!

Wendella Boat Tours
Michigan Avenue At The Chicago River
Chicago, Illinois, 60611
(312) 337-1446


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