Architecture on the River

Architecture on the River

Life at Loyola is not just bound to the campus and surrounding neighborhood (even though Roger’s Park is the most diverse neighborhood in the city, and thus lots of fun). Downtown Chicago has a lot to offer! My family came to visit me recently, and although we had done this about four years ago when I was just touring Loyola (so very long ago! It seems like worlds away now), we decided to do it again.

These tours are so much fun! Run by the Chicago Architecture Center, their most famous tour is seeing the city on the river, by way of a boat! Although they also have indoor tours and walking tours, there’s not a lot of opportunity to get on the Chicago River like that. They also come with a volunteer docent from the Chicago Architecture Tour, so you get a full narration and someone who answers questions with enthusiasm, not just some recorded voice. My favorite thing, although I haven’t done it yet, has got to be that they offer them at sunset too, so you can get just the most beautiful views. Chicago in the sunset is absolutely gorgeous no matter where you are, since the downtown is laid out like a grid and the sun sets along the lines most times. There are some streets you can walk through and just feel like you’re entering a whole new world because of how strongly the sun shines and wraps you in orange. I love this city, and I love that the Chicago Architecture Center offers these tours!

Unfortunately for my experience, we went on a windy, freezing day that had Chicago’s first snow of the year! Granted, the snow only lasted about five minutes, but it drove most of the passengers who thought they could hack it on the open top of the boat down below, into the first floor of the boat that had heating. Plus, the wind was so strong it blew some cushions right off of the top of the boat! The employees didn’t seem too bothered by it, so I can only assume they have some kind of cushion-catching plan. I lasted out there up top until the very end, when we went out on the lake, at which point I just had to go inside. The above picture is me in the foreground, surrounded by my family. Don’t we all look happy about the weather?

The tour itself was really exciting, especially for a history major like me. It’s only 90 minutes, but they go over 50 buildings, new and old, to learn about Chicago’s history – from the Great Fire to how architects are dealing with the difficulties of building on the land around the river, and more. The first great merchants of Chicago and the modern ones, artists who have made beautiful things here in this city who have recognizable works in other places as well. The list goes on! If you’re looking for something to do, I totally think it’s worth it. I feel even more appreciative and knowledgeable about this city.

I’m not getting paid by them or anything, just heartily recommending it, but if you’re interested in popping by the CAC when you’re here, check out the link below to their website.

Comments are closed.