Chicago Architectural River Tour

Climb aboard for one of the best views of Chicago. You’ll see some of the most iconic pieces of architecture up close, and river-side, a view you can only experience from that point of view.

An unexpected benefit of the horrific early 19-century Chicago fire is a city rebuilt by generations of Architects for the world to admire and the people of the city to enjoy. Chicago’s skyline is unlike any other city.

I’m not an architecture expert, but architecture is something I love most about visiting a beautiful city.  Here are some of my favorites in Chicago.

Wrigley Building
Wrigley was at one time the tallest building in Chicago. Original a soap maker, Wrigley’s wares were not very popular. To boost sales for his soap, he included Wrigley’s gum. People hated his soap. Loved his gum.


Corn Cob Tower, Chicago
Locally know as the “Corn Cob” towers, this mini-city, actually named Marina City, was designed to look like flower petals. The compound includes a theater, marina and all the services needed to never have to leave your round little part of the Chicago river front.


Built on air-rights from the railroad.
Designed on “air rights” or the vertical right-of-way leased from the railroad, the buildings on the river are engineering marvels. With amazing engineering, 25% of this “Y” building supports the other 75% on the “y” shaped base upon which this post-modern building is built.


Willis Tower
The tallest skyscraper in Chicago is Willis Tower. In Chicago, according to my Shoreline architecture tour docent, Willis is pronounced S-E-A-R-S by Chicagoans. The Willis corporation only owns three floors of the 110 story, 14511 ft building. But, they also own the naming rights. The Sears Tower was built in 1974 in Black Box Modernism style.


Morse Code building
The Morse Code building has an intricate design meant to look like an ariel view of the city’s traffic.


Tribune Tower
The Tribune Tower is one of my most favorites in the US because of its ties to freedom of the press and the heyday of yellow journalism. The tower is built to mimic a French cathedral. Embedded into the facade of the building are are architectural pieces and materials from places and buildings all over the world.

I’ve had the opportunity to take this tour a couple of times, and I enjoyed both tours.  I’ll do it again, next time I have a 90 min window during one of my visits.

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